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Mario, Giuseppe, Count Of Candia

MARIO, GIUSEPPE, COUNT OF CANDIA (1810-1883), Italian singer, the most famous tenor of the 19th century, son of General di Candia, was born at Cagliari in 1810. His career as a singer was the result of accidental circumstances. While serving as an officer in the Sardinian army he was imprisoned at Cagliari for some trifling offence. When his period of confinement was over, he resigned his commission. His resignation was refused, and he fled to Paris. There his success as an amateur vocalist produced an offer of an engagement at the Opera. He studied singing for two years under M. Ponchard and Signor Bordogni, and made his debut in 1838 as the hero of Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable. His success was immediate and complete, but he did not stay long at the Opera. In 1839 he joined the company of the Theatre Italien, which then included Malibran, Sontag, Persiani and Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini and Lablache. His first appearance here was made in the character of Nemorino in Donizetti's Elisir d'Amore. He sang in London for the first time in the same year. His success in Italian opera far surpassed that which he had won in French, and in a short time he acquired a European reputation. He had a handsome face and a graceful figure, and his voice, though less powerful than that of Rubini or that of Tamberlik, had a velvety softness and richness which have never been equalled. Experience gave him ease as an actor, but he never excelled in tragic parts. He was an ideal stage lover, and he retained the grace and charm of youth long after his voice had begun to show signs of decay. He created very few new parts, that of Ernesto in Don Pasquale (1843) being perhaps the only one deserving of mention. Among the most successful of his other parts were Otello in Rossini's opera of that name, Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia, Alamviva in // Barbiere di Siviglia, Fernando in La Fawrita, and Manrico in // Trovatore. Mario made occasional appearances in oratorio singing at the Birmingham Festival of 1849 and at the Hereford Festival of 1855, and undertook various concert tours in the United Kingdom, but his name is principally associated with triumphs in the theatre. In 1856 he married Giulia Grisi, the famous soprano, by whom he had five daughters. Mario bade farewell to the stage in 1871. He died at Rome in reduced circumstances on the nth of December 1883.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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