Mario, Giovanni Matteo, Cavaliere de Candia

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Mario, Giovanni Matteo, Cavaliere de Candia

Mario, Giovanni Matteo, Cavaliere de Candia, celebrated Italian tenor, known professionally as Mario; b. Cagliari, Sardinia, Oct. 17, 1810; d. Rome, Dec. 11, 1883. Born into a noble family, he studied at the Turin military academy and then joined the regiment of which his father was colonel. He eloped with a ballerina to Paris (1836), where he studied voice with Bordogni and Poncharde at the Cons. He made his debut as Robert le diable at the Paris Opéra (Dec. 5, 1838). He made his first London appearance as Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia opposite Giulia Grisi’s Lucrezia at Her Majesty’s Theatre (June 6,1839); the 2 singers remained intimate, without benefit of marriage, for 22 years. He made his debut at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris as Nemorino (Oct. 17, 1839), and soon became one of its principal members; created the role of Ernesto in Don Pasquale there (Jan. 3, 1843). He continued to sing in London at Her Majesty’s Theatre until 1846, and then was a leading artist at the Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden until 1871; also sang in St. Petersburg (1849–53; 1868–70), N.Y. (1854), and Madrid (1859, 1864). He retired from the stage in 1871, giving farewell appearances in Paris, London, and the U.S. Mario’s beautiful voice, matched by an exquisite vocal style, handsome figure, and effective acting gifts, made him one of the most renowned operatic singers of his day; he also was greatly esteemed as a concert singer. Among his other roles were the Duke of Mantua, Faust, John of Leyden, Almaviva, Raoul, and Roméo.

Bibliography

L. Engel, From Mozart to M. (London, 1886); Mrs. Godfrey Pearce (M’s daughter) and E Hird, The Romance of a Great Singer (London, 1910); E. Forbes, M. and Grisi (London, 1985).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire