Artist Profile: Mario Sereni, A Great Italian Baritone

By David Salazar

Mario Sereni was one of the most underrated Italian baritones of his time.

He was born on March 25, 1928 in Perugia, Italy. He studied at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome as well as the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. In 1953, his professional career kicked off with a performance at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, followed by his Met debut in 1957. He would become a fixture at the Met, appearing over 550 times over a 37-year span.

He also became a major singer in San Francisco and Dallas, while appearing often at the Vienna State Opera, Teatro alla Scala, and Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires.

Despite never being among the most famous baritones of his time, he left a sturdy recorded legacy that features many of the operas he excelled at.

He died on July 24, 2015.

Signature Roles

Sereni dominated the Italian repertory, especially the operas of Verdi. He performed nearly every major baritone role by the composer during his Met Opera years, with Germont in “La Traviata” his most performed Verdi role. Two of his interpretations of this role in particular have taken on a life of their own; he appeared in what is know as the “Lisbon Traviata” with Maria Callas and Alfredo Kraus; he also formed the trio of the “Karajan Traviata” with Anna Moffo and Renato Cioni.

However, he was also the Marcello of his time, appearing as the character in “La Bohème” a whopping 77 times throughout his career.

Watch and Listen

One of his famed interpretations was that of the Conte di Luna from “Il Trovatore.”

Here is the “Karajan Traviata.”


Opera Wiki