Mario Guardabassi

Picture of Mario Guardabassi
Guardabassi (Count Francesco Mario) was of noble birth and a skilled portrait painter.

He went for the first time to the US in 1893 to display his paintings of Pope Leo XIII at the Chicago World's Fair.

Here, he became interested in singing and decided to return to Italy to study.

He returned to the U.S. in 1903, and made his debut at the Met as Silvio. Guardabassi sang two roles with the Metropolitan Opera Company: Silvio and Morales, besides a concert. He sang Silvio for the first time on December 9th, 1903 with Sembrich, Caruso, Scotti, Reiss and Vigna conducting.

Mr. Guardabassi's first appearance, which was in the character of Silvio, was made under circumstances that were evidently embarrassing to him, for he betrayed what can scarcely be described as anything but absolute fright. It had its unmistakable effects upon his appearance and action, which were extremely constrained, and upon his singing. His voice seemed as if it might be an agreeable and a serviceable one under more favorable conditions.
New York Times
His Met appearances were:
Pagliacci on 9/14/26 December 1903 (New York), 2/15 January 1904 (New York), 12 January 1904 (Philadelphia).

Fourth Grand Sunday Night Concert, Metropolitan Opera House on 20 December 1903, Guardabassi singing Le roi de Lahore: Promesse de mon avenir.

Carmen on 6/19 February 1904 (New York), 9 February 1904 (Philadelphia), 2 March 1904 (New York), 9 March 1904 (Washington D. C.), 16/26 March 1904 (Chicago), 31 March 1904 (Pittsburgh), 16 April 1904 (Boston), 22 April 1904 (New Haven).

He was not very successful as a baritone and reappeared in 1909 as a tenor. His career evolved as follows:

1909 Warsaw (Tosca in January), Alessandria (Cavalleria rusticana, in October, sharing with Ottavio Frosini and Luigi Cucci, partnering Ada Sari, Ida Mannarini, Amedeo Bertazzoni
1910 Schio, Chicago

New York Times, 2 October 1910

1911 Chicago, Philadelphia (Carmen on 25 January/13 February/24 March; Cavalleria rusticana on 18 February/29 March; Quo vadis on 31 March/4 April, the latter a tour performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York; act 4 from Faust on 1 April; Pagliacci on 11 November)
1912 Philadelphia (Quo vadis on 12 February; Pagliacci on 2 March; Carmen on 9 March), Baltimore (Pagliacci on 7 March, tour performance of the Philadelphia opera company)

Upon the outbreak of World War I, he returned to Italy and enlisted as a volunteer, earning the rank of a Captain.

New York Times, 5 May 1918

Returning to the US, he received an important commission from the Italian embassy and promoted Italian culture.

His repertory included: Silvio, Morales, José, Roméo, Cavaradossi, Turiddu, Canio, Radames, Faust, Vinicius, ...

Mario Guardabassi singsCavalleria rusticana: O Lola
In RA format

Mario Guardabassi sings Mattinata
In RA format


12 New York Teatro Metropolitan CONCERTO / PAGLIACCI (Silvio)
01/02 New York Teatro Metropolitan CARMEN (Morales)
01 Varsavia Teatro Imperiale CARMEN (Don José) / ROMÉO ET JULIETTE (Roméo) / TOSCA (Cavaradossi)
10 Alessandria Teatro Verdi CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (Turiddu) / PAGLIACCI (Canio)
05 Schio Teatro Sociale AIDA (Radames)
10 Chicago Civic Opera House CARMEN (Don José)
01 Chicago Civic Opera House ROMÉO ET JULIETTE (Roméo)
01 Philadelphia Teatro Metropolitan CARMEN (Don José) / CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (Cavaradossi) / FAUST (Faust)
11 Philadelphia Teatro Metropolitan PAGLIACCI (Canio)
11/12 Chicago Civic Opera House CARMEN (Don José) / PAGLIACCI (Canio) / QUO VADIS? (Vinicio)
03 Philadelphia Teatro Metropolitan CARMEN (Don José) / PAGLIACCI (Canio)
03 Baltimora Teatro Opera PAGLIACCI (Canio)

Source for the chronology and picture the incredible site of Roberto Marcocci.

Lyrophon, Napoli, 1910
Jtl400	Africaine (Meyerbeer): O paradiso			D8295
Jtl401	Tosca (Puccini): E lucevan le stelle			J401
Jtl403 	Cavalleria rusticana (Mascagni): O Lola			J403
Jtl404 	Carmen (Bizet): Il fior					D8297
Jtl405 	Mattinata (Leoncavallo)					J405
Jtl406 	Aida (Verdi): Celeste Aida				D8343
Jtl407 	Trovatore (Verdi): Ah sì, ben mio			D8297
Jtl408	Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Ah! jour de deuil		D8299
Jtl409	Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns): Figli miei, v'arrestate	D8299
Jtl410	Rigoletto (Verdi): La donna è mobile			D8295
Source: Gesellschaft für historische Tonträger, Wien
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