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Ruth and Mario Chamlee in Manon

Ruth and Mario Chamlee in Manon

Ruth and Mario Chamlee Collection

Tenor Mario Chamlee (1892-1966) was born Archer Cholmondeley in Los Angeles, California on May 29, 1892. He first studied voice with Achille Alberti in Los Angeles, and later with Sibella and Dellera in New York. Chamlee made his debut in his native city in 1916 as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. A year later he went on tour with the Aborn Opera Company, where he sang with soprano Ruth Miller. The two married in 1919.

During his two years of military service during World War I, Chamlee hardly sang at all. But upon his return to the US, he devoted himself to developing his operatic talent. Engagements followed with various opera companies in the United States and Europe. Perhaps his most acclaimed appearance was in Henri Rabaud's Marouf at the Paris Opera. Chamlee retired from the opera stage at 47 and subsequently devoted himself to singing popular songs, taking part in talk shows such as "Tony and Gus," and teaching voice with his wife. He recorded exclusively for Brunswick Records.

The Chamlee Collection consists of correspondence regarding the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions, personal papers (mainly promotional documents, biographical, and pedagogical writings), news clippings, annotated scores, programs, photos, scrapbooks, and recordings.


Jerry McBride
Head Librarian, Music Library
Head Librarian, Archive of Recorded Sound
(650) 725-1146