By Jeff Rense
- Francis Yeend Remembers Mario
with husband-accompanist James
- As a member of the Bel Canto Trio in
1947, twenty-six year old Mario sang with Frances Yeend and George London,
both of whom went on to distinguished singing careers at the highest levels
of opera. I spoke to Frances about Mario.
- (JR) Frances, how was it to work with
Mario and George London?
- (FY) They were both kind of crazy, kind
of cuckoo! (Laughs) I had to sort of keep them in line, those boys. There
were kind of obstreperous...and always after the women. In fact, on day,
Mario came into the room and said, "Frances, I went to bed with that
woman at the desk down there, do you think that she might have a disease?
Do you think I should do something?" I said, "You better go to
a doctor!" (laughs).
- (JR) Mario confided in you in a way.
- (FY) Yes, well, in a way he did, at least
that time. They were both just sort of naughty boys.
- (JR) Boys will be boys...
- (FY) Yes, and I tried to keep them in
line. Of course, I'm sure the reason they (Columbia Artists) sent me out
with them is that they thought I was the one person who could!
- (JB) Well, I don't believe that! They
sent her out there because they wanted to put together a great trio. She
was anxious to further her career and it was exciting. The trio performances
were mixed up with a lot of other dates.
- (FY) I didn't just do the Bel Canto Trio.
- (JB) She would run off and do a symphony
date and come back and rejoin the Trio. Or, she and Mario would do joint
concerts. Or, she and George London would do joint concerts.
- (FY) Mario had a wonderful instrument
that I always hoped would be channeled. He had a lovely sound...a lovely
quality...a very emotional quality about it. Of course, London was, at
that time, much more advanced in his musical training. And sometimes Mario
was not very easy to work with (in rehearsal).
- (JB) Regardless of the problems, when
the three of them were out there on the stage singing, it was wonderful.
- (FY) Right. When we were out there on
the stage, it was really great!
- (JR) How good could he have been in the
opera houses had he trained properly?
- (JB) Who knows! What the voice was...what
the potential was...it was truly staggering.
- (FY) The two of them...(George and Mario)...they
stayed together and they roomed together and they acted liked kids all
the time! It was terrible (laughs). I tried to make them shape-up. Because
Mario had this huge talent, people just knocked themselves out to try to
help him in every way. Columbia did that. And it was an incredible instrument.
I mean the potential of what he could have done had he been more of a student
(of serious opera)...I don't think he was brought up with a lot of discipline.
- (JR) If he had 'discipline' and the proper
training. Could he have been at the top?
- (FY) Yes! Sure he could...if he had had
the training and discipline.
- (J) Could he have been as good as there
- (FY) YES! Terrific...he could have been
TERRIFIC! (emphasis hers)