Mr. Martinelli is the possessor of a beautiful voice and, moreover, is a fine actor and an excellent musician. He was, first of all, a clarinetist before he became a singer, and so well did he play his chosen instrument that his services were in great demand in his home town in Italy. Then it was discovered he had a voice and he was told he could make a far greater success with that voice than he ever could playing the clarinet. He set to work at once to cultivate the voice in serious earnest and under good instruction. After a considerable time devoted to study, he made his debut in Milan, in Verdi’s Ernani. His success won an engagement at Covent Garden and for Monte Carlo.
A visit to the singer’s New York home is a most interesting experience. He has chosen apartments perched high above the great artery of the city’s life—Broadway. From the many sun-flooded windows magnificent views of avenue, river and sky are visible, while at night the electrical glamour that meets the eye is fairy-like. It is a sightly spot and must remind the singer of his own sun lighted atmosphere at home.
The visitor was welcomed with simple courtesy by a kindly, unaffected gentleman, who insists he cannot speak “your English,” but who, in spite of this assertion, succeeds in making himself excellently well understood. One feels his is a mentality that will labor for an object and will attain it through force of effort. There is determination in the firm mouth, which smiles so pleasantly when speaking; the thoughtful brow and serious eyes add their share to the forceful personality. The Titian-tinted hair indicates, it is said, a birthplace in northern Italy. This is quite true in the case of Mr. Martinelli, as he comes from a village not far from Padua and but fifty miles from Venice—the little town of Montagnana.
“You ask about my daily routine of study. In the morning I practice exercises and vocalizes for one hour. These put the voice in good condition, tune up the vocal chords and oil up the mechanism, so to speak. After this I work on repertoire for another hour. I always practice with full voice, as with half voice I would not derive the benefit I need. At rehearsals I use half voice, but not when I study. In the afternoon I work another hour, this time with my accompanist; for I do not play the piano myself, only just enough to assist the voice with a few chords. This regime gives me three hours’ regular study, which seems to me quite sufficient. The voice is not like the fingers of a pianist, for they can be used without limit. If we would keep the voice at its best, we must take care not to overwork it.