Ancona, Mario, notable Italian baritone; b. Livorno, Feb. 28, 1860; d. Florence, Feb. 22, 1931. He studied with Giuseppe Cima in Milan. After making his operatic debut as Scindia in Le Roi de Lahore in Trieste in 1889, he made his first appearances at Milan’s La Scala as the King in Le Cid in 1890. On May 22, 1892, he created the role of Silvio in Pagliacci at Milan’s Teatro dal Verme. He made his London debut in 1892 as Alphonse in La Favorite at the New Olympic Theater, returning to London in 1893 to sing Tonio in the first mounting there of Pagliacci at Covent Garden. On Dec. 11, 1893, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Tonio, remaining on its roster until 1897. He sang with the Manhattan Opera (1906–08), in Boston (1913–14), and in Chicago (1915–16) before retiring to Florence as a voice teacher. Ancona was one of the leading baritones of his day. Among his many outstanding roles were Mozart’s Figaro and Don Giovanni, Germont, Hans Sachs, Escamillo, Telramund, Amonasro, and lago.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire