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main index                    ©Jeff Matthews                      entry Sept 2005


Mario Maglione


I had the pleasure some time ago of sitting in the very historic setting of the Palazzo Doria d’Angri (the building where Garibaldi strode out onto the balcony in 1860 to proclaim an end to the Kingdom of Naples) and listening to a bit of Naples that is immune to trivial things such as military conquest—the Neapolitan Song, performed by one of the foremost living exponents of that music,  Mario Maglione. Often called the spiritual heir to the great Roberto Murolo (1912-2003),  Maglione is an explosive interpreter of the Neapolitan song, with a well-trained voice and an approach to singing that best captures the extreme sentiments and passions of the repertoire.

Mario Maglione was born in Mergellina, the small fishing port one mile east of the main body of Naples. From the medieval poet Jacopo Sannazzaro (1458-1539) to more recent dialect poets such as Salvatore Di Giacomo (1860-1934),  Mergellina  has been immortalized in the verses and songs of her poets and musicians. It is precisely here, among the local fishermen of Mergellina that Maglione feels at home. He has recorded original compositions that give voice and life to the fisherman as an archetype--a kind of father figure risen to mythological status.

Maglione's musical roots can be traced to his adolescence and the encouragement he received from the Capuchin friars of Naples, who gave him the chance to perform in the small monastery theater. Developing into a solid interpreter of the Neapolitan repertoire, he performed in Elvio Porta's Masaniello (a musical based on the life of that 17th-century Neapolitan revolutionary). Maglione broke out of national boundaries to perform recitals and gain recognition not only in the Europe of Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and Holland, but on a worldwide stage as well, in Japan, Australia, and Canada.

Maglione's CD's include: Suonno, Novecento Napoletano, Scapricciando, Ricordi di Napoli, Napule Doceamare, and Napule è na Canzone, representing, together, a virtuoso presentation of the classical Neapolitan song. He has appeared on television many times, notably on the Maurizio Costanzo Show, gaining the admiration of the host, Costanzo, one of Italy's best known personalities and an undisputed connoisseur of Italian show business. Other notable appearances on Italian television have included Domenica In, Ciao Week-End, Radio Anchio, Fantastica Età,  7 scenari per il 2000, Buon Compleanno and Tappeto Volante.

Roberto Murolo, the foremost performer of the genre in the 20th century and absolutely the greatest scholar, ever, of the music, clearly regarded Maglione as his musical heir. In presenting one of Maglione's CDs to the public, Murolo cited the singer's extraordinarily original and powerful ability to communicate, supported by technical mastery and a powerful, harmonious voice. Murolo was convinced that he had found in Maglione one who could carry the traditions of the classical Neapolitan Song into the future. That judgment by Murolo is the best that Maglione—as well as the rest of us—could have hoped for.

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