Mario Ancona


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(b Livorno, 28 Feb 1860; d Florence, 23 Feb 1931). Italian baritone. Having made his début in 1889 at Trieste as Scindia in Jules Massenet's Le roi de Lahore, in 1890 he sang the King (Le Cid) at La Scala, his only appearance there. He created Silvio in Pagliacci at the Teatro Dal Verme, Milan, in 1892 and the same year sang Alphonse (La favorite) at the New Olympic Theatre, London. He made his Covent Garden début as Tonio in the British première of Pagliacci in May 1893, singing the same role in his Metropolitan début later that year. He sang Riccardo (I puritani) at the Manhattan Opera House on its opening night, 3 December 1906. Ancona appeared all over Europe and the USA, in a wide repertory embracing W. A. Mozart (Don Giovanni, Figaro), Giuseppe Verdi (Germont, Rigoletto, Renato, Amonasro, Iago, Don Carlo in Ernani), Richard Wagner (Wolfram, Telramund, Hans Sachs), Giacomo Puccini (Lescaut, Marcello), Pietro Mascagni (Alfio, David in L'amico Fritz) and many French roles, including Nevers (Les Huguenots), Escamillo and Valentin (Faust). He retired in 1916. An elegant, stylish singer, he possessed a voluminous, dark-toned voice sustained by an impeccable technique, which can be heard to advantage on his recordings of ‘Eri tu’, Iago's Credo and the Prologue to Pagliacci.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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