In a unique programme of song and narrative celebrating the magic and passion of Mario Lanza, Richard Leech will take the audience on a journey through the life of America's beloved tenor whose storybook life ended in his tragic death in 1959 at the age of 38.
Mario Lanza himself sang two concerts at Grant Park - on July 6, 1946 and July 20, 1947 - and on June 20, Richard Leech will sing many of the songs heard on those two evenings.
Richard Leech is just the man to host and star in the evening's program - Mario Lanza has been the great inspiration in his career. Just as the young Mario Lanza in the 1920s listened in wonderment to the recordings of Enrico Caruso and declared it his dream to "sing like Caruso did", so did the young Richard Leech 40 years later, listening to his father's worn-out recordings of Mario Lanza, know in his heart that he wanted to sing just like Mario Lanza. It is a dream come true. Now one of world's most sought-after tenors, Richard Leech is a favorite of Chicago audiences - he is a frequent artist at the Lyric Opera where he performed as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly just this past season. He opened the Ravinia Festival in 1995 and 1996, and sang at Grant Park early in his career.
The evening's repertoire will include popular songs such as Without a Song, I'll Be Seeing You, Be My love, Because You're Mine; Neapolitan favorites like O sole mio, Non ti scordar di me, and Torna a Surriento; and Italian arias such as Una furtiva lagrima, Che gelida manina and E lucevan estelle. Many of these songs are featured on Richard Leech's first solo CD From the Heart on the Telarc label.
So... if you find yourself in the Chicago area in the second half of June, why not treat yourself to an evening of Mario Lanza with Richard Leech? It promises to be an evening to remember.
Richard Leech will be featured in FanFaire's next issue.