Italian opera singer Mario Basiola under the heading "Desuete Names"

Mario Basiola (baritone) was born on 12 July 1892 in Italy. After graduating from the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, he debuted in Rome in “La Traviata” by Giuseppe Verdi. He sang in Barcelona and Florence before spending several years in the United States. By this time, Mario already had wide-ranging repertoire built up over the years. From 1925 to 1932, Basiola sang at the Metropolitan Opera. His sojourn in America was important for him; however, Mario did not become an idol of the public, taking into consideration his competition with famous baritones such as Titta Ruffo and Antonio Scotti, who were adored in America. He often stood in for those singers that were ill or performed as understudy.

After 1935, he returned to Milan to sing at La Scala and several performances at Barcelona's Gran Theatre del Liceu. Basiola was invited to sing at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden in 1939, hence without much success. When the World War II began, he singing for wounded soldiers as he did during the World War I early in his career. By the end of the war, he gradually appeared less on stage, concentrating on performances in provincial Italian theatres.

In 1952, Mario Baziola and his wife opened private vocal school in Milan.
Mario Basiola died January 3, 1965.

Mario Basiola achieved sizeable success as baritone roles’ interpreter in the major works by Italian composers such as “Rigoletto”, “Trovatore”, “Falstaff” and “Aida” by Giuseppe Verdi; “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini, “Cavalleria Rusticana” by Pietro Mascagni and “Pagliacci” by Ruggero Leoncavallo. In Italy, he sang in the upgraded versions of practically forgotten operas -- “Il pirate” and “La Straniera” by Vincenzo Bellini, and “The Prodigal Son” by Amilcare Ponchielli. The singer's repertoire enumerated about 70 roles.

Basiola, possessed a voluminous and rather gentle voice, with great intensity of vibration throughout the entire gamut of sounds, his voice was remarkable for its range and richness. Recordings of his voice prove that Basiola was a singer with impeccable technique, based on the principles of the 19th century classical school -- rich timbre, perfect legato, excellent breath control. The old school is evident in distinct articulation.

Historically, the voice of Mario Basiola voice referrers to the transitional, intermediate period between the vocalism of the late 19th century and the Verismo (Italian for "realism", from vero, meaning "true"). Every step in the verismo opera means tension and conflict, just like in the real life.

Mario Basiola, the prominent artist, was one of the 20th century brightest baritones -- and, alas, one of the most underappreciated.

Today, on the 130th birth anniversary of Mario Basiola, the museum Sound Library presents musical selection of baritone parts from the opera “Pagliacci”  by Leoncavallo, performed by Italian singer.