Mario Lanza shares the stage with Luciano Pavarotti, a boy at the time, in this extraordinary video.

Why would I enter a post featuring Mario Lanza?

 Well, when my husband, Max Ciampoli, arrived in the United States in 1947, it was Mario Lanza who welcomed him at the dock. Max stayed with him for three weeks before Mario left New York to do a tour. During that time, they dined out almost every night. He doesn’t ever remember Mario paying for a meal because he was always asked for a song or two, and he always graciously accepted. Being rather reserved, Max was taken aback by Mario’s exhuberant  lifestyle–the drinking and the women who threw themselves at him.

Mario was one of two people who introduced Max to the executive chef of the Waldorf-Astoria. The other was Mr. Donon, a grand-master of the Masons. Through their recommendations, Max was hired to work in banquets and soon became head chef of room service.

Max would then move to Haiti where he partnered with Paul Magloire, later to become President of the country, to open a hotel/restaurant not far from the embassies in Petionville. Max’s career continued in the United States where as executive chef, he opened the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, TX. Later, as executive chef of the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis, MO, he would welcome celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra and Mae West to entertain at the famous Chase Club.


  1. Tim Trainor says

    Ah yes, Max is for sure a great chef.
    One day I’m asked, “Come on over to our house for some pasta…” Says Max & Linda on speakerphone. I reply, “Sure, sounds good to me but don’t go to too much trouble…” Then we set the date and time.
    I arrive that evening to be served this dish that looks like pasta, but with such lasting and succulent flavors that I thought it was a dish procured from heaven itself.
    Then I ask the question, “How did you make this sauce so incredibly delectable?” Max replies, “Oh, a little of this and a little of that.”
    Okay, I get it. It’s kind of like the magician giving away the trick. However, I did find out later he takes THREE DAYS to make that sauce. I tell Max and Linda, “I thought you weren’t going to go to do anything too taxing.” Max answers, “It’s no trouble at all, it’s just how you make it if you want to do it right.”
    Well, while I have no conception how it all works, the end result is beyond anything I’ve ever tasted. Bravo chef!

  2. Stefanie Walzinger says

    Hello Linda,

    Your accounts on the tenor Mario Lanza are quite interesting.
    Can you tell me more about the time that your husband Max spent with Mario in New York. I am especially interested in the Waldorf Astoria story. Mario Lanza once gave a concert there. Did your husband hear him sing?

    Any information would be much appreciated.
    Incidentally, Pavarotti never sang with Mario Lanza in “The Great Caruso.” The choir boy actually was dubbed by a soprano girl.

    Best wishes from Germany

    Stefanie Walzinger

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