Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MARIO, Giuseppe, Italian opera-singer, born in Cagliari, Sardinia, 18 October, 1810; died in Rome, 11 December, 1883. He was titular Marquis of Candia, and in early manhood an officer in the service of the Sardinian government. After a brief term of service he left the army and went to Paris. Here his means soon became exhausted and he was induced to accept an engagement as tenor-singer at the French opera-house. In 1838 he made his first appearance in the leading part of Meyerbeer's " Robert le Diable." In the following year he united with the troupe of the Italian opera-house, and soon became a rival to the distinguished Rubini. From 1839 until 1844 Mario sang in London and Paris, and in 1845 he visited Russia, where he was professionally engaged for five years. During twenty-five years his time was divided between Paris, London, and St. Petersburg. He came to the United States in 1854, in company with Signora Grisi, under a six months' engagement with James H. Hackett. At this time Mario was in the zenith of his reputation and made a great artistic and pecuniary success. In 1873 he again returned to this country to repeat his former success; but his voice and appearance only indicated how ruthlessly time can deal with the graces of personality and the musical endowments of a great vocalist. Mario had a voice of remarkable sympathetic quality under perfect control. In the delivery of romanzas and serenatas he was entirely unequalled, but in skill and method he was far surpassed by his rival, Rubini. He created no roles, invented no embellishments, and never rose to inspired execution. His best performances were the principal tenor parts in " Don Pasquale," " The Barber of Seville," " Robert le Diable," and " The Huguenots." On his retirement he lived in Rome in partial seclusion, subsisting on a moderate income, a part of which was devoted to the welfare of his needy and oppressed countrymen.
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