Mario Sereni was one of the nicest, most sincere fellows I've ever met.
When I was a kid-super at the Old House, he used to rely on me to tape any
matinee broadcast in which he sang and quietly slip him the reel next time
we met. I felt like I was handing him contraband! I remember taping a
European (if I remember right) Macbeth he did which was broadcast in New
York. He asked me if we could meet at Patelson's Music Shop at a certain
time and day. I slipped him the reel. The next time we met was backstage
at a Cav/Pag in which I supered. I was in the Cav. He was Tonio in the
Pag. He rushed over to me in the 40th Street hallway and said, "Bobbito
(sorry, that's what he called me) the Macbetto. You liked?" I said that I
certainly did. He said, "I no like. Not big. Varren. He big." I said,
"No, its not Warren. Its Sereni. Very different and very beautiful". He
patted my cheek, broke the filter off a cigarette he bummed from someone,
lit it, smiled, and walked away". A very lovely man and a lovely baritone.
He was the last first-class baritone to sing Schaunard at the Met. Roles
like that counted when they had Serenis. I miss him. I miss them all.
Love to my list.