Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Little Opera House Presents LANZA, 12/11-1/22

With a seven-movie Hollywood deal with MGM, million-selling recordings and hailed as  "the greatest voice of the twentieth century" and the "new Caruso", handsome American tenor Mario Lanza appeared to have the world at his feet. But addictions to overeating and alcohol had a serious effect on his health, he was difficult and demanding with  directors and co-stars, and he died of heart attack at aged just 38.

Lanza, written by and starring Andrew Bain, examines the troubled life of the 1950s music sensation, tells how his life spiralled out of control, and is packed with operatic hits and songs he made famous, including 'Granada', 'Without a Song' and 'Be My Love'.

Lanza opens at London's Little?Opera House at the?King's?Head Theatre on December 11 and runs to January 22. The press night is Thursday December 16 at 10.00pm.

Set in a hospital room in Rome, it sees Lanza attempting to set the record straight, weaving together personal reminiscence and song.  Inspired by a scratchy Caruso record, his life flashes before him. In the room with him is his nurse, who comes to embody all the women in his life and provide on-stage piano accompaniment when he lauches into songs and arias as an integral part of the drama. In the film The Toast of New Orleans, his song "Be My Love" became his first million-selling hit. In 1951, he starred in the role of his tenor idol, Enrico Caruso, in the biopic, The Great Caruso, which produced another million-seller with "The Loveliest Night of the Year." It was the highest-grossing film that year. The title song of his next film, Because You're Mine, featured his final million-selling hit song, which went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

Andrew Bain became famous as 'the singing dentist', who signed a £1 million record deal with SonyBMG, only to see the deal fall through just before the record's release and him return to part-time dentistry. Before the deal, Andrew worked at NHS dental practices for 10 years, including a number of years at one on the Holloway Road, while also
pursuing a singing career. He fed his musical ambitions by using his holidays and spare time to sing in West-End choruses and amateur opera. His opera credits include Lensky in 'Eugene Onegin' (Candlelight Opera), Don Jose in 'Carmen' (Pimlico Opera), Joe in 'La Fancuilla del West' (Grange Park Opera), Ferrando in 'Cosi fan Tutte' (Opera by
Definition), Pierre in 'The Wandering Scholar' (St John Smith Square), Eisenstein in 'Die Fledermaus' (Alternative Opera), Triquet in 'Eugene Onegin' (Longborough Festival), MacHeath in 'Beggars Opera' (Cochrane Theatre), Peasant Leader in 'Eugene Onegin' (Opera by Definition) and he was a member of the ensemble in 'Bluebeard', 'Falstaff' and 'L'elisir d'Amore' (Grange Park Opera). While studying at Bristol University he played Don Jose in 'Carmen', Spalanzani in 'Tales of Hoffmann' as well as Ralph and Fairfax in 'HMS Pinafore' and 'Yeoman of the Guard'. As a musical theatre performer he most recently played the role of Tony in 'West Side Story' for Pimlico Opera in HMP Wandsworth. Other work includes 'Les Miserables' (No1 UK Tour), 'Whistle down the Wind' (No1 UK Tour), 'Beauty and the Beast' (Watermill Theatre), 'City of Angels'
(Landor), 'Merrick' (Pleasance) and 'Tonight' (Peacock). He has also premiered the English version of a new Norwegian one-man show musical, 'Terje Vigen' in San
Francisco and on tour in Norway.

As a tenor himself who sings in various genres and through his experiences in the commercial record industry, Andrew Bain has been particularly inspired by Mario Lanza's voice, career and life story. Last year he co-wrote and co-produced a two-part radio documentary for BBC Radio 2 about his life.

Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More
Branded Broadway Merch

Related Articles View More UK Regional Stories

More Hot Stories For You