Mario Basiola


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(b Annico, nr Cremona, 12 July 1892; d Annico, 3 Jan 1965). Italian baritone. He studied with Antonio Cotogni in Rome, where he made his début in 1918. Appearances in Florence and Barcelona led to an engagement with the S Carlo company, which toured America in 1923, and this in turn brought him to the Metropolitan in 1925. His roles there included Amonasro, Escamillo and Count di Luna. In 1930 he appeared in the American première of Felice Lattuada's Le preziose ridicole and in that of Italo Montemezzi's La notte di Zoraima the following year. He was also the Venetian in the first Metropolitan production of Sadko (1930). In 1933 he returned to Italy, where for many years he was a leading baritone in Milan and Rome. The enthusiastic reports of his work there were not entirely borne out when, after a serious illness, he came to Covent Garden (as Iago, Amonasro and Germont) in 1939; nor are they well supported by the recordings he made of Pagliacci and Madama Butterfly with Gigli. In 1946 he joined a company touring Australia, and in 1951 he returned there as a teacher. His earlier recordings show the full-bodied tone and flowing style which earned him a high reputation among the singers of his time. His son, Mario Basiola jr (b Highland Park, IL, 1 Sept 1935), was also a successful baritone, singing in many leading houses including La Scala and the Vienna Staatsoper; his repertory included the title role in Wozzeck.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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