Born Hugh Whitfield Martin in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Martin began his career at Columbia University studying music composition under Edward MacDowell. It was while studying at Columbia that Martin's vocal talents were discovered. In 1901 he was granted an endowment by industrialist Henry Flagler to study to further his vocal studies in Paris with Giovanni Sbriglia, Jean de Reszke and Léon Escalaïs. Martin later completed his studies with Vincenzo Lombardi in Florence and Beniamino Carelli in Naples. He debuted as Faust in Nantes in 1904. Two years later he made his American debut in New Orleans, singing with the visiting San Carlo Opera. Martin bowed at the Metropolitan Opera on November 20, 1907 in Mefistofele; the performance also marked the American debut of Fyodor Chaliapin.
Martin remained with the Metropolitan through the 1914-15 season, appearing in numerous leading tenor roles; he was among the first American-born leading men the company employed. He returned for the 1917-18 season. During his tenure at the Met, he created the lead tenor roles in three American operas: Walter Damrosch's Cyrano, Horatio Parker's Mona, and Frederick Shepherd Converse's The Pipe of Desire. After leaving the company he appeared with numerous companies throughout America and Europe, and spent three seasons with the Chicago Civic Opera. Martin died in New York City in 1952.
Martin is known to have married at least three times during his life according to both newspaper accounts and vital records. He first married in 1899, Elfrida Hildegarde Klamroth, a fellow opera singer who was more widely known by the stage name of Ruano Bogislav. The couple had one child named Beth Martin who was commonly and professionally known as Bijie Martin. The couple divorced before 1920 largely as a result of career differences. Martin went onto marry an aspiring actress in 1923 named Jane Grey which also ended in divorce. His last known marriage was in 1932 to Allis Beaumont, who recently became famous as Allis Beaumont Reid in the documentary "Must Read After My Death" (2007).
- David Ewen, Encyclopedia of the Opera: New Enlarged Edition. New York; Hill and Wang, 1963.
"Mrs. Riccardo Martins Unusual Wifely Heroism". The Washington Post, August 22, 1915, Page 6.
|This article about an American opera singer is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|