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 9, 1903 with Sembrich, Caruso, Scotti, Reiss and Vigna conducting in New York City.

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. The New York Times
His further appearances were:
Pagliacci on December 9, 1903 (New York), December 14/26, 1903 (New York), January 2, 1904 (New York), January 12, 1904 (Philadelphia), January 15, 1904 (New York).

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

Carmen on February 6, 1904 (New York), February 9, 1904 (Philadelphia), February 19, 1904 (New York), March 2, 1904 (New York), March 9, 1904 (Washington D. C.), March 16/26, 1904 (Chicago), March 31, 1904 (Pittsburgh), April 16, 1904 (Boston). April 22, 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 Frosini Ottavio and Cucci Luigi, with Sari Ada, Mannarini Ida, Bertazzoni Amedeo
1910 Schio, Chicago

The New York Times October 2, 1910

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

Upon the outbreak of World War 1, he returned to Italy and enlisted as a volunteer earning the rank of Captain.

The New York Times May 5, 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

Chronology

  DA BARITONO    
       
1903      
12 New York Teatro Metropolitan CONCERTO / PAGLIACCI (Silvio)
       
1904      
01/02 New York Teatro Metropolitan CARMEN (Morales)
       
       
  DA TENORE    
1909      
01 Varsavia Teatro Imperiale CARMEN (Don José) / ROMEO et JULIETTE (Romeo) / TOSCA (Cavaradossi)
10 Alessandria Teatro Verdi CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA (Turiddu) / PAGLIACCI (Canio)
       
1910      
05 Schio Teatro Sociale AIDA (Radames)
10 Chicago Civic Opera House CARMEN (Don José)
       
1911      
01 Chicago Civic Opera House ROMEO et JULIETTE (Romeo)
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)
       
1912      
03 Philadelphia Teatro Metropolitan CARMEN (Don José) / PAGLIACCI (Canio)
03 Baltimora Teatro Opera PAGLIACCI (Canio)

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

LYROPHON RECORD 	 
J 403 	CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA: Siciliana 	 
J 404 	CARMEN: Il fior 	 
J 405 	Mattinata (Leoncavallo)
J 406 	AIDA: Celeste Aida 	 
J 407 	TROVATORE: Ah sì, ben mio