Max Bloch was at the Met from 1914 to 1918 and from 1923 to 1930, singing a total of 435 performances. The roles he sang were,
among others, Mime in both Rheingold and Siegfried, Jonas in Prophète, the Fisherman in Guillaume Tell, the Astrologer in
Zolotoj petushok, Erster Geharnischter in Zauberflöte, Simpleton in Boris Godunov...
In RA format
Other than that, there's considerable confusion about his biography. It seems clear that he was born in 1882;
sources differ on whether in Germany or Poland, so I suppose he was a German speaker from that part of Poland that belonged to
Germany at the time.
On record, he sometimes used the pseudonyms Mario Brefelli or Martino Brefelli, there's no doubt about that; that he is also
credited with the "pseudonym" Stanisław (or Stassio) Berini is plain wrong, however – Berini was a Polish tenor, who
has only the year of birth in common with Bloch.
Another uncertainty regards Bloch's death; some (usually reliable) sources like notably the French National Library give it as
1943, but the New York Times reported on September 1st, 1930, that Bloch had died in Düsseldorf. I'm sure that neither he
nor the Times faked his death, and that the 1943 indication is a mix-up with two Jewish namesakes, both born in 1882 like
himself, one from Czechoslovakia and one from Amsterdam, both murdered by the Nazis.
Among the bizarrer vicissitudes of recording history is one pseudonym shared by two – not even considerably similar
– singers: "Mario Brefelli" was used on record by Max Bloch as well as by Stanisław Berini.
I wish to thank Anton Bieber for the Pagliacci recording and label scan.
I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recordings.