Lanza's first recording of the aria "O Paradiso" from the 1865 opera L'Africana (The African Woman) by Giacomo Meyerbeer. More commonly performed in the original French (as "O Paradis"), the aria expresses fifteenth-century explorer Vasco De Gama's sense of wonder as he gazes at the enchanted island on which he is being held prisoner (English translation below).
Lanza's second version of "O Paradiso" was recorded for his weekly Coca-Cola-sponsored radio show in August 1951. We hear the recording featured above as originally broadcast, complete with regular announcer Bill Baldwin's enthusiastic introduction and canned applause at the end.
Interesting sidenote: "O Paradiso" vies with "M’Apparì" from Von Flotow's Martha as the aria Mario Lanza performed most often in his films, with three appearances apiece. However, unlike "M’Apparì," which was only ever featured in extract form (in The Toast of New Orleans, The Great Caruso, and Seven Hills of Rome), "O Paradiso" appeared in its entirety in Serenade (and in snippet form in The Toast of New Orleans, together with a larger partial rendition in Because You're Mine).
After you've listened to all three recordings of "O Paradiso" and rated them (on the right), you may be interested in reading our forum discussion here.
Lanza singing "O Paradiso" in Serenade
O Paradiso (from L'Africana) Mi batte il
throbs...wondrous scene! Sognata
ti premo alfin!
At last I
embrace you, land that I've dreamed of! O Paradiso,
dall' onde uscito,
emerging from the sea, Fiorente
suol, splendido sol,
earth, brilliant sun, In voi
to me! O nuovo
world, Alla mia
patria, ti posso offrir!
I can offer
you to my homeland! Nostro e
questo terreno fecondo,
earth is ours, Che l'Europa
puo tutta arrichir!
enrich all Europe! Spettacolo
scene! In te rapito
me! O nuovo
m'appartieni a me!
to me! A me!