Mario Sammarco


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(b Palermo, 13 Dec 1868; d Milan, 24 Jan 1930). Italian baritone. He made his début in 1888 at Palermo as Valentin. In 1894 he appeared in Naples at the S Carlo in La damnation de Faust and in 1895 at the Teatro Real, Madrid, as Ambroise Thomas’ Hamlet, a role he repeated in 1895–6 at La Scala, where he created Gérard in Andrea Chénier, returning there in 1902, 1905 and 1913, and singing at Buenos Aires in 1897. His Covent Garden début was in 1904 as Scarpia; in the same year he sang Michonnet at the London première of Adriana Lecouvreur. He continued to appear in London until 1914, and again in 1919. He sang at the Manhattan Opera, New York (1907–10), and at Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago (1909–13). He retired from the stage in 1919. Sammarco's voice was clear but resonant, rounded and of extensive range, as his numerous recordings (1902–15) confirm. A stylish singer, he at first specialized in operas such as La favorite, Ernani, Rigoletto, Un ballo in maschera, Hamlet and La Gioconda, but his theatrical ability later led him to prefer verismo roles, particularly Tonio, Gérard, Scarpia, Rafaele (Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari's I gioielli della Madonna), and the parts he created in Ruggero Leoncavallo's Zazà (Cascart, 1900) and Alberto Franchetti's Germania (1902).

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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