Mario (real name, Tillotson), Queena

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Mario (real name, Tillotson), Queena

Mario (real name, Tillotson), Queena, American soprano and teacher; b. Akron, Ohio, Aug. 21, 1896; d. N.Y., May 28, 1951. She went to N.Y to work as a journalist in order to raise funds to pursue her vocal training with Saenger and Sembrich. On Sept. 4, 1918, she made her operatic debut as Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann with the San Carlo Opera Co. in N.Y. She remained with the company until 1920, and then was a member of the Scotti Grand Opera Co. (1920–22). On Nov. 30, 1922, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Micaëla. She remained on its roster until 1938, winning favor for her portrayals of Gilda, Juliette, Marguerite, Nedda, Sophie, and Antonia. She was particularly associated with the role of Gretei, which she sang in the first complete opera to be broadcast on radio by the Metropolitan (Dec. 25, 1931), and also at her farewell appearance with the company (Dec. 26, 1938). Mario also sang with the San Francisco Opera (1923–24; 1929–30; 1932). In 1931 she became a teacher at the Curtis Inst. of Music in Philadelphia. In 1934 she opened her own vocal studio in N.Y, and in 1942 became a teacher at the Juilliard School of Music there. She wrote 3 mystery novels, including Murder in the Opera House. In 1925 she married Wilfred Pelletier, but they divorced in 1936.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire