Venerable Met baritone has died

Venerable Met baritone has died


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2015

Mario Sereni, who sang leading baritone roles for 27 seasons at the Metropolitan Opera, died on July 15 in his birthplace, Perugia, aged 87.

Mario had a lovely voice and formidable technique but he was overshadowed at the Met by US baritones Leonard Warren and Robert Merrill. His art is well represented on record.

mario sereni

(skip the wobbly intro, the voice is secure)


  • Brian b says:

    Listening to him today, one realizes how much we need a Verdi baritone with even half his skills and vocal know-how.

  • Bill Ecker says:

    The death of Sereni has not reached the Italian Press. May be another Gedda rumor.

  • Susan Szbornak says:

    If Signor Sereni has indeed passed, it might be a nice touch to not add that he was “overshadowed” by other baritones who were actively singing during his career. That is a subjective call, and I guarantee you that he was not “overshadowed” by any other baritone in my estimation, and in Italy he certainly had more name recognition than the baritones mentioned in the article above.

    Respect the singer, please. Grazie.

  • Margie Heymann says:

    Nothing in the Umbrian newspapers or on Internet after a quick search.

  • John Richmond says:

    Whether rumor or no rumor, I have always been mystified at, say, Kolodin’s intense dislike for Sereni, in his (Kolodin’s) history of the Met. Sang flat, sang sharp, no personality, and on and on. I’ve owned, or own, a number of his recordings, and admire the man’s voice. In recordings, I have found Cappuccilli be far more bland and faceless than Sereni, from time to time. So, while he may not have been a Merrill or Bastianini, vis-a-vis absolute vocal richness–he was Sereni, often first-rate in Verdi, Donizetti, Puccini, and others.

    • Gonout Backson says:

      And I’m sure he would never have sung and let a record company publish someting as awful as Cappuccilli’s cabaletta in Bonynge’s Puritani…

  • Marshall says:

    It appears to be true. In any case, he derserves greater recognition. I heard him many times, at the Met,and must confess, there was initial disappointment in that it wasn’t was one of the other names. But it was a fine, big scaled voice, used tastefully, and with appropriate musical sensitivities, so that after a while you found the overall performance more satisfying than the sleepwalking ones you could often get from Merrill, despite his magnificent sound.

    He was overshadowed, but less so by Warren (except in memory) in that a couple of seasons after Sereni’s arrival, Warren was dead. Merrill was certainly one of the bigger names, but at the Met, more so MacNeil-with a blazing top, and exciting in every way, and very soon Milnes came along, who was a Met favorite.

    Just listen to him-what baritone is around now with than ease, quality, and authenticity? He would be a leading baritone anywhere today.

  • Margie Heymann says:

    Unfortunately its true. I read an announcement from the Rome Opera –I agree with all of you about his excellence.