American lyric soprano Marie Tiffany, during a 1916 visit from New York, asked Gatti-Cassaza, the director of the Metropolitan Opera, for an audition. Eager to put her off, the director consented to an informal hearing, with the idea of halting the proceedings after a song and dismissing the singer. But Tiffany sang with such elegance, that he hired her as a company member instead.
Her previous stage experience had primarily been as a concert singer with the Los Angeles Symphony orchestra and a brief engagement in Paris with the Compagnie Internationale Lyrique. While with the Met she secured a financial arrangement with the Edison Phonograph Company to tour the United States demonstrating the Edison Mammoth, the high-fidelity player developed by the company during World War I.
Personable and intelligent, she became an audience favorite, both for her operatic roles and for her concerts. Her concert repertoire was singularly broad, spanning old Italian songs by Durante and Bononcini to French moderns such as Pierne, Chausson, and Chaminade. Her Metropolitan high point was her participation in all three one-act operas of Puccini's "Il Tritico" upon its premiere in 1918. She remained on the Met roster until 1929, and remained an active concert singers until the mid-1930s. She also recorded extensively, including several popular song renditions using the name Mabel Richardson. David S. Shields/ALS