Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.
The collection consists of correspondence dealing with the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions; personal papers, mainly promotional documents and biographical and/or pedagogical writings; newspaper and magazine clippings; annotated scores, programs, photos, scrapbooks and recordings.
The Chamlee collection was donated to the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound in March of 1994 by Rachel Chamlee, daughter of Mario and Ruth Chamlee.
Mario Chamlee (1892-1966), tenor, was born in Los Angeles, May 29, 1892. His original name was Archer Cholmondeley. He first studied voice with Achille Alberti in Los Angeles, and later with Sibella and Dellera in New York. He made his debut in his native city in 1916 as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. A year later Mr. Chamlee went on tour with the Aborn Opera company where he sang with soprano Ruth Miller, who in 1919 became his wife. Engagements followed with various opera companies in the U.S., the Scotti, Metropolitan, Ravinia summer opera in Chicago, San Francisco, and in Europe. Perhaps his most acclaimed appearance was in Henri Rabaud's Mârouf at the Paris Opera. Mario Chamlee retired from the opera stage at the age of 47. He subsequently devoted himself to singing popular songs, taking part in talk shows such as Tony and Gus, and teaching voice together with his wife. He recorded exclusively for Brunswick Records.
Ruth Miller (1892-1983), soprano, was born in Portland Oregon on July 1, 1892. She studied in Paris with Lloyd d'Aubigné, ¿Emile Bourgeois and Giovanni Sbriglia. She sang as lyrical and coloratura soprano, under the name of Francesca Milena, in various French and Spanish theaters starting in 1912. Her American debut was in 1917 with the Aborn Opera Company where she sang with baritone Richard Bonelli and tenor Mario Chamlee. She sang only one season with the Metropolitan Opera (1917), appearing as Musetta in La Bohème. After marrying Mario Chamlee in 1919 she gave up her operatic career, and dedicated herself to teaching. Among her most successful students is the baritone Theodor Uppman. Examples of her singing appeared between 1940-54 under the IRCC label.