The One Tenor is a labor of love for life-long Mario Lanza devotee, New Zealand radio and television broadcaster Lindsay Perigo. It's the bringing together of his best Lanza-related essays, critiques and interviews over the years, with significant new material exclusive to this book, including Perigo's take on the theory that Mario Lanza suffered from Bipolar Disorder. This theory was first touted in the biography of Lanza by Roland Bessette, with little explication. In The One Tenor Perigo interviews Bessette, who elaborates on his theory for the first time. Perigo responds in his stellar chapter, "Mario's Magic Madness."
The author stresses in his Introduction that The One Tenor is not a biography, but a chance to meet the overpoweringly charismatic Mario of screen and record who, in Perigo's opinion, has somewhat eluded biographers hitherto. Perigo argues that the uniqueness of Lanza lay in both his voice and soul, and that any portrait that fails to capture the latter is significantly incomplete. Soul abounds in The One Tenor.
With fierce intelligence, blazing anger and sizzling humour Perigo argues for the right of every human being to live his or her life unimpeded by coercion from the government or other people. His point of view is unique among New Zealand journalists and rare among journalists anywhere. If The Total Passion for the Total Height is anything to go by, socialist New Zealand has been harbouring an H. L. Mencken in its ranks ... and pretending he doesn't exist. Buy this book—and be enraged, entertained and educated. If you're a freedom-lover, you'll also be furnished with invaluable ammunition for the revolution that is yet to be staged.
“I have known Lindsay Perigo for nearly two decades, as a first-class interviewer unequalled in intelligence, skill, impartiality and patience in both prime television time, where he had a weekly, highly regarded slot, and later on when he headed BBC World Service. During this later period I supplied regular commentaries for Lindsay on issues of the day. I consider him unequalled, in my experience in his intelligence, his ability to go to the heart of these important issues, and in his courtesy. It has been very much our loss that he is at present not featuring in television's current trend towards lightweight infotainment, rather than much-needed analysis of the realities of socio-political happenings of importance. Lindsay quite simply, is far better than any of those at present conducting what pass for current affairs programmes.”~ Amy Brooke, children's author
“I think he's exceptionally good at journalism, a skilled interviewer, hugely knowledgeable in music, singing and especially the subject of Mario Lanza. He made me look at the subject in a new, fresh way. I saw a wonderful interview he did with tenor Jose Carreras where he asked questions that only someone extremely knowledgeable in the field of voice would have asked. I was highly impressed with his journalism skills and all-round musical knowledge.”~ Aaron Caruso, American tenor
“You did a wonderful job. Doesn't happen too often!”~ Jose Carreras, Spanish tenor
“He brings to his craft a wide breadth of knowledge, especially of American history, politics, and culture, as well as a general knowledge whose breadth and scope is quite unusual. A colorful entertainer, he never fails to provide intellectually valuable content. As an interviewer he manages to bring out the most nuanced and fascinating revelations from his subjects, with a graciousness and humor that would certainly do credit to American discourse, as well.”~ Casey Warren Fahy, novelist ('Fragments')
“Mr Perigo has had very extensive experience in all aspects of journalism — radio, television, and the print media. He is very highly regarded for his professionalism, for his integrity, and for his intelligence, and his reputation as a journalist is quite exceptional.”~ Dr. Don Brash, former Leader of the National Party, former Governor of the Reserve Bank
“His interviews are unique in their intellectual depth and his remarkable ability to bring clarity, humor and life to his subject. The extraordinary range of Mr. Perigo's mind and interests is unmatched in his profession, and whether as a journalist, writer or public speaker, he is always a consummate professional. I agree with the many colleagues of his who regard Mr. Perigo as one of those exceptional journalists whose skill, wit and knowledge combine to create programs that both inform and entertain — while setting the very highest standards in the field.
“While the United States has many brilliant journalists and interviewers, it has none who can equal his outstanding quality.”~ James S. Valliant, author ('The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics')
“During his television career he was identified as a top-rank broadcast interviewer, and more recently on radio is a fine general broadcaster : he handles three-hour on-air sessions with aplomb, dealing with every topic under the sun and phone callers with the most unexpected enquiries ( a live-to-air situation which demands a first class mind and speed of thought).
“We share an interest in operatic music - a subject in which he is very knowledgeable, and has travelled several times to Australia and United States to further his knowledge. (He has become authoritative on the life and career of the late Mario Lanza and is often consulted internationally on this matter). ”~ Max Cryer, TV and radio personality
“We hold Lindsay in the highest possible regard. He is unmatched in his knowledge and insight of the political scene. He is very popular with the New Zealand audience because he has appeared so frequently on radio and television and has a reputation for integrity.”~ Mitchell Harris, General Manager, Radio Live
“An attention to detail, combined with his integrity and a formidable intellect, earned him the respect that was rightly his due.
“Mr. Perigo's range of demonstrated talents includes a very active journalism: Service in the Parliamentary Gallery and, as editor, publisher, commentator and editorial writer. To my knowledge there is none other in New Zealand's contemporary scene that has demonstrated a similar range of ability. ”~ Philip Sherry, former Principal Network Newsreader, TVNZ
“Whether interviewing Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, incumbent Prime Ministers, or me, Lindsay Perigo was and is the consummate professional.
“Whether conducting interviews on television or radio, his rare intelligence, personable manner and extremely thorough preparation ensures that he not only receives high acclaim from the viewing or listening audience but also immense respect from his interviewees. For example, because of Lindsay Perigo's extensive musical knowledge, I recall José Carreras giving him glowing praise (live on camera) for a truly memorable interview after Mr Carreras' battle with cancer.
“As a former interviewee myself, like many others, I can fully understand and appreciate why Lindsay Perigo rose to the very top in his field. He is, without a doubt, one of those rare journalists whose skill, intelligence and knowledge combine to produce interviews that measure up to the highest international standards.”~ Chris Lewis, NZ Tennis Number One (1976-85), Wimbledon Finalist, 1983.
“He was highly rated by myself and the Radio New Zealand News managers and in 1981 the team with Lindsay received a Mobil Radio Award: Best New Zealand-produced Radio News and Current Affairs Programme.
“I believe he is a journalist of extraordinary ability.”~ Michael D. Lee, former Producer, 'Morning Report,' Radio New Zealand
“Not only has his journalistic prowess always impressed me, but as a fellow music-lover, his incredible depth of classical music knowledge, truly amazes me.”~ Paul Rayner, artist
Radio New Zealand, 1979-84
BBC World Service, 1993
Radio Liberty, 1995
Radio Pacific, 1996-2001
Radio Live, 2001-2004
Prime TV, 2004-2005
Radio Live, 2006-2009
“Lindsay Perigo is one of the finest
communicators I have ever seen.
Like the great opera singers he loves, he has an exceptionally broad range, from the abstractions of philosophy, to the concretes of political events, which he apparently tracks in minute detail. It is not surprising to me that he earned a reputation as the leading interviewer on New Zealand television for his ability to probe the thinking of his guests.”
The Free Radical Magazine, 1994-2006
SOLO (Sense of Life Objectivists)
solopassion.com , 2001-present
“Imagine a person who combines the ruthless wit of Oscar Wilde, the earthy eloquence of William Shakespeare, and the revolutionary zeal of Thomas Paine. That is Lindsay Perigo. To describe him as a broadcaster, a writer, a publisher, and a political activist is functionally accurate, but it does not do him justice. He is a troublemaker, a gadfly, and a debunker of mindless platitudes and empty promises. Indeed, he is a perfect gadfly: charming, articulate, and—to his enemies—terrifying.”~ Dr. Larry Sechrest, late Professor of Economics, Sul Ross University, Texas, in Perigo! Politically Incorrect!, 1999
Best Spoken Factual Programme, The Nixon Years, 1979
Best Newscaster, 1980
Broadcaster of the Year, 1980
“In my playing career, I took on adversaries like McEnroe, Borg, Connors and Lendl—mere child's play compared to the drooling beast of an adversary that Lindsay Perigo has taken on: the rampant kiwi culture of mediocrity, conformity and welfarism.”~ Chris Lewis, former NZ tennis #1 and Wimbledon finalist, 2009
Victoria University of Wellington, 1970
Wellington Operatic Society, 1985
Lanza Legend since 1995
Mario Lanza an American Tragedy, by Armando Cesari, 2003
Be My Love—A Celebration of Mario Lanza, 2003
“In a world where most of us pull our punches and hide our true feelings, Lindsay writes with fierce intensity, caring not whether his readers agree with him or not.”~ Don Brash, former Reserve Bank Governor and National Party leader, 2009
Perigo Interviews Anna Moffo.mp3
Perigo Interviews Callinicos.mp3
By Deborah Coddington
A spectre is haunting New Zealand. The spectre of speechlessness. Not the involuntary, temporary speechlessness engendered by an overwhelming emotion, but a willful, permanent speechlessness engendered by a sullen refusal to articulate clearly.
The barbarians have not stormed our ramparts; they have been bred within them - by our schools, universities and media. They are on radio and television, and on our sports fields; they are in our classrooms, theatres, medical schools and law faculties. Their quacking, droning, grunting and mumbling are our worst form of noise pollution. Their "yeah-no," "you-know," "like," "awesome," "cool," "wodevva," and so on are the bane of coherent conversation. Their mangled vowels and muddied consonants make swine sound educated. They know not the distinction between "children" and "choowdren," "Wellington" and "Wallington," "vulnerable" and "vunrable," "the six o'clock news" and "the sucks o'clock news," "showers" and "showwwwwwaz," "well" and "wow," "New Zealand" and "New Zilland," etc. (And that's just the Prime Minister!) Their assault on the English language is a [N]ational scandal. Theirs is not an accent; it is a disease.
George Bernard Shaw's Professor Higgins said of the untutored Eliza Doolittle: "Look at her, a prisoner of the gutters, condemned by every syllable she utters"; the barbarians have forsaken even the uttering of syllables. The locus of their emissions is not the mouth but the nose. They are sanctioned by oily charlatans in our universities and cliched shysters in our media who claim this is the authentic Kiwi vernacular, when it's nothing of the sort - it is mere, sheer, inexcusable slovenliness. Of these charlatans and shysters also, Professor Higgins's words are correct: "By rights they should be taken out and hung, for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue."
It's time to say, "No, this is not the authentic Kiwi vernacular! Kiwis don't quack, drone, mumble and grunt! Kiwis can speak!"
If you are a "prisoner of the gutters" but wish to rise out of them, if you are of the barbarians but wish to rise above them, contact Lindsay Perigo. A graduate of the NZBC Announcer Training School from a time when speech standards mattered, and once one of our foremost television current affairs interviewers, Perigo will establish or restore the connection between your brain, tongue and jaw, and set you speaking rather than quacking, droning, mumbling and grunting. He will help you speak in coherent sentences rather than inane banalities such as: "Yeah, no, I'm like, oh my God, I'm like, you know, I'm like so totally an airhead."
No, you don't have to sound like an NZBC announcer; you can sound like an educated, polished and intelligible Kiwi, and be a proud testament to the fact that such a thing is not a contradiction in terms.
If you can already speak and would like to help Lindsay in his campaign against the spectre of a nation which cannot, he would love to hear from you.
As Professor Higgins also said, "Ours is the language of Shakespeare, Milton and the Bible."
Let us reclaim it.
Testimonials : Kiwis Don't Quack Program
“I really enjoyed the course, and I think I really did benefit from it. It's definitely made me so much more aware and improved my voice. Your instruction was always very clear, and because of this I think I was able to grasp the concepts you were trying to explain quite quickly (I understood the point of all the exercises and that was really helpful). I really enjoyed your teaching style, especially how you made it entertaining and funny. Because of this I felt an hour was the perfect amount of time - it went quite quickly for me. I'd recommend this course to others. I really enjoyed being your student! You've been a very cool teacher.”
-- Tessa Whale, Papamoa
“Thank you very much for the speech lessons. I really enjoyed them, and I do think I benefited from them (a lot!). Reading out texts (in class, for example) is much easier for me now, as I can scan ahead and phrase better. You made all the exercises clear and I understood what I had to work on. I think the Kiwisms were particularly useful (the bear/beer, well/wow, glottal stopping etc.), and also the resonance exercises. From your Speech Bible, I found the exercises for the tongue, jaw and lips particularly challenging, and so they were probably my least favourite (meaning they probably do me the most good!). I particularly enjoyed preparing a piece of my choice to read to you, though I think your Rice for the Putts is equally (if not more) beneficial. The Impromptu was one of my favourite parts - really fun! If the subject came up in conversation (speech lessons) I would certainly recommend you, as I thought the course was very helpful and well designed.”
-- Fi Whale, Papamoa
“The fact that I now start to shudder when I hear people talk like this is an indicator that you have had at least some success with me! I often find myself correcting my friends on certain things I now notice as well (for instance I have one friend who incessantly pronounces 'failure' as 'faiwure'). I believe that this course has been absolutely invaluable to me, and will continue to be so.”
-- Sam Purchas, Upper Hutt
“I am the mother of Samuel Purchas, a 13-year-old student from Hutt International Boys School, Upper Hutt, New Zealand, to whom Lindsay Perigo provided five lessons of instruction in accordance with his own, original Kiwis Don't Quack - Shut the Duck Up! programme. Sam’s speech was satisfactory, but he tended to mumble when reading aloud and failed to read with the appropriate measure of expression and feeling. He also was lacking in presentation skills and confidence. Mr Perigo also discerned other more subtle failings in Sam's speech of which I was not aware. ... Sam is now chosen in his class at school for lead parts in Shakespeare readings and has received compliments from the teacher in charge for his ability and singular talent for reading Shakespeare with confidence, understanding and a wonderfully vivid sense of expression, pitch and tone. Sam’s recent experiences in his English class and these hitherto unheard compliments all within the first two weeks of school following the completion of his lessons last year, are due almost entirely to Mr Perigo.”
-- Rosemary Purchas, Upper Hutt
Update, October 24, 2012: Sam Purchas has just received an "Excellence" grade for the speech he gave as part of his English NCEA exam.
Certificates have also been awarded to: Olivia Pierson and Julian Pistorius