Happy Birthday Mario del Monaco (for yesterday)
While growing up one needs role models. Mine were the great heroes, heroines and villains of opera. One of the first voices I heard in my very early forays into opera was Mario del Monaco. That thrilling timbre and heroic sound made opera so much more enticing, especially when coupled with the gorgeous voice of his regular recording partner, Renata Tebaldi. To me he is the epitome of machismo in vocal terms.
Of course, the role he is most associated with would certainly have to be Verdi's Otello. No one, before or since, has even come close to expressing the inner turmoil and suppressed violence of the Moor as well as Del Monaco. Enjoy his Esultate, it will leave you wanting more of this particular Lion of Venice.