Del Monaco: Nothing is Forgiven Me

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Otello (3), Trovatore (same selection as on Video #32), Chénier, Tosca, songs. Some discussion in Italian, no subtitles. 66m. B&W/Color. Packaged in a black sleeve.
NTSC or PAL VHS


This tape combines Del Monaco performances and interviews with an interview of Mrs. MDM and Ettore Campogalliani made 30 days after MDM’s death. Interviews are in Italian (no subtitles). MDM briefly demonstrates his technique. “By nature he was highly aggressive,” says his wife–and indeed his pushy personality does come through vividly. He was a painter before he was a singer. He didn’t want to sing in heavy costumes and designed his own. Bing didn’t want to revive Chénier, claiming Americans didn’t like it–the Met hadn’t done it since Martinelli: “Put on Chénier. If no one comes, don’t pay me.” He forced stage directors to accommodate his conceptions. His “equalized” sound. How hard he worked to perfect his sound in a phrase such as “Non conoscete amor.” MDM: “You must pronounce every word if you want to sing well. Otherwise the public will become bored.” A commentator on the program: “You don’t miss a syllable of what he’s singing [especially interesting since he covered so much that one would have expected some murky diction].”

He energetically describes a furious fight with Callas over holding a high note. He claims he refused to make Hollywood films because they would have taken him away from the theater. “Everything you do after age 60 can’t be of the first quality. Out of respect for the public and the great career I had had, I forced myself to give up the theater. Teaching and being a critic don’t give me the satisfactions of being on stage, for the stage is a drug.” Mrs. MDM: “For the theater he sacrificed everything, youth, sex, pleasures–everything. When he gave it up he started to die.”