Jacket Art Variations of

The Great Caruso

Film Soundtrack Album

and other Mario Lanza unique LP pressings

LP album jacket art is remarkable in the variety of commercial conceptions designed to sell the content of the record itself.  If such stress was not applied to the visual appeal for the customer, all LPs could just come in generic plain jackets.  Another magnificent aspect of The Durbeck Archive is that with 50,000 LPs, there is represented an incredible variety of multi-national images of what will appeal to that specific consumer market.  While initially intended as eye appeal for the buyer, album jacket art has become an individual art entity in itself.   Early classical LP jackets would display reproductions of the "old masters" or symmetrical graphics with fancy printing. Then when album jacket art became more accepted as an authentic art form, recognized artists such as Norman Rockwell, Ben Shahn, Andy Warhol and others began accepting commissions to create covers for these LP jackets.  The Durbeck Archive is a major repository where specific attention has been to album art varieties with many albums added to the Archive solely on the basis of the diversity of album jacket art.

These three different domestic issues of The Great Caruso film soundtrack album have been selected because of the importance of this film in the cultural development of America. Although many opera singers had been featured in Hollywood films before, none of them had the effect and the influence on the youthful audiences, drawn to the "magic of Mario," as did this musical production.  In interviews and discussions with many prominent opera singers of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's, they will reverently acknowledge the impression this film made on their burgeoning musicality as teenagers and young adults.  The eponym of the title is Enrico Caruso, but the voice was Mario Lanza.  A note aside: The Durbeck Archive has virtually all the recordings of both Enrico Caruso as well as Mario Lanza (all on LP, of course).

(click on image to enlarge)

(click on image to enlarge)

(click on image to enlarge)

Although many eminent opera singers appear in The Great Caruso (1951), this recording features only the voice of Mario Lanza.  All three albums are autographed by these three "leading ladies:" Ann Blyth (as Dorothy Benjamin),  Dorothy Kirsten (as Louise Heggar) and Blanche Thebom (as an opera singer).  Other notable names, distinguished in the contemporary opera scene of the 1950's, who also appear as opera singers are: Giuseppe Valdengo, Jarmila Novotna, Marina Koshetz, Nicola Moscona and Lucine Amara.

These English pressings vary not only in their album jacket art but also in their content. The three domestic pressings, shown above, feature only 8 operatic arias, while both of these issues feature some of the Italian songs from the film as well.

H.M.V. (England), ALP 1071       12" LP

RCA (England), RB 16113          12" LP

RCA Victor (Greece), LSCG-X 22001                                                               12" LP

More album jacket art for Mario Lanza buffs

Melodiya (Russia), C60 29177 000          12" LP

Melodiya (Russia), C60 30547 006          12" LP

From Russia with Mario - his film songs

 Cyrillic liner notes but American photos

(Chinese), CS 758                                  12" LP

Audio Broadcasts (USA), SIM 7301        12" LP

RCA (Germany) LPM 9921          12" LP

RCA (Spain), 3L 16261                 12" LP


Decca (Germany), 71276                                           6-12" LPs


RCA Victor (Germany), J 130     12" LP

RCA (Spain), ARL1 9031             12" LP

RCA Victor (Italy), LM 20097                  12" LP

RCA Victor (Germany), LM 9897-C         12" LP

Victor Company of Japan (Japan), 

(verso)     SHP 2243                      12" LP

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