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 Sannazaro (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
(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
Ricordi di Napoli
, Napule Doceamare
, and Napule è na Canzone
respresenting, 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
, Radio Anchio
, Fantastica Età
, 7 scenari per il 2000
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.