The Mario Ancona collection (8 linear feet; 17 boxes) includes photographs, memorabilia, sound recordings and miscellaneous
documents related to the baritone's career, and to the performing arts and artists around the turn of the 20th century.
The baritone Mario Ancona was born in Livorno, Italy on February 28, 1860. After finishing a business career he studied voice
with Maestro Matteini in his native city, and later with Giuseppe Cima in Milan. He made his debut as an amateur singer in
the Concerto Maglioni, in 1880. Ancona's earliest recorded opera appearance was in 1889 with the Triest opera company, singing
the role of Scindia in Massenet's Le Roi de Lahore. Shortly after he sang another Massenet opera, Le Cid, in Milan's La Scala
(1890), and two years later he created Silvio in Leoncavallo's Paglicacci. For many years he appeared as a regular artist
at London's Covent Garden Opera where he was held in very high esteem. He sang as a guest artist in Cairo, Lisbon, Madrid,
Paris, Warsaw, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Chicago, Boston and various cities in South America. From 1906-08 he was engaged with
the Manhattan Opera House where he was particularly successful in his role of Don Giovanni. He was much admired on stage for
his elegant deportment, and his beautiful and expressive voice, particularly in the high register. His repertory included
Verdi (Germont, Rigoletto, Amonasro, Iago and Don Carlos in Ernani), Puccini (Lescaut and Marcello), Mascagni (Alfio and David
in L'amico Fritz), Mozart (Don Giovanni and Figaro), Wagner (Wolfram, Telrammund and Hans Sachs), and several French roles
such as Nevers, Escamillo and Valentin. After retiring in 1916 Mario Ancona devoted himself to teaching voice. He died in
Florence on February 23, 1931.
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