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Guide to the Mario Ancona Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Mario Ancona Collection
    Dates: 1792-1974
    Collection number: ARS-0012
    Creator: Giacomo Ancona
    Collection Size: 8 linear feet
    Repository: Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound
    Stanford University Libraries
    Stanford, California 94305-3076
    Abstract: 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.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English Italian


    Collection is open for research. Listening appointments may require 24 hours notice. Contact the Archive Operations Manager.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.

    Preferred Citation

    Mario Ancona Collection, ARS-0012. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biography / Administrative History

    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.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Mario Ancona collection was created by his son Giacomo Ancona. It was mainly organized in scrapbooks, some bound, others with loose leaves boxed together. The materials gathered range from as early as 1792 with an Ancona family document, to as late as the 1970s with Giacomo Ancona's correspondence. The primary languages represented are Italian and English. Of particular interest are the three oversize portfolios entitled 1. Mario Ancona, 2. Musical Artists and 3. Royalty, Composers, Conductors, Comedians, Virtuosi, Famous People, and Students which contain photographs and documents mounted on poster board. The selection of photographs ranges from autographed portraits of opera singers and composers to members of royalty. Further items include original art work, concert and opera announcements, and honorary documents. Beyond the scrapbooks and portfolios are two volumes of autographed vocal scores entitled Romanze; opera publications; discographies and musical recordings which include 5 reel to reel tapes, 19 non-commercial discs, 17 commercial discs and 2 damaged cylinders.


    The collection is arranged in ten series: 1. Scrapbooks. 2. Portfolios containing mounted photographs on poster board. 3. Mementos of the Ancona family. 4. Opera materials. 5. Publications. 6. Acknowledgements. 7. Discographies. 8. Scores. 9. Sound recordings. 10. Miscellaneous.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Ancona, Mario,1860-1931.
    Baritones (Singers)
    Opera--19th century.
    Opera--20th century.

    Separated Material

    Filed separately is the Giacomo Ancona correspondence documenting the searches for materials pertaining to his father.