Recio, Maria

BORN 10 Jun 1814, Châtenay, Hauts-de-Seine - DIED 13 Jun 1862, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Yvelines
BIRTH NAME Martin, Marie-Geneviève
CAUSE OF DEATH heart attack
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Cimetière de Montmartre, 20 Avenue Rachel (division 20 (Berlioz grave))

Maria Recio was the daugher of colonel Joseph Martin (1758-1836). Her mother Marie Recio Sotera Villas was Spanish. It is possible that she studied under David Banderali before she became a professional singer in Paris in 1830.

She met Hector Berlioz around 1841 and he helped her to obtain a position at the Opera Comique where she debuted on 9 Oct 1841. Her performances there were not successful. In 1842 she accompanied Berlioz to Brussels and in the winter of 1842/1843 she sang "La Belle Voyageuse" that he had written for her. They started living together in 1844 and she accompanied him on many tours and acted as his manager.

After Berlioz' first wife Harriet Smithson died they married at the église de la Trinité in Paris on 19 Oct 1854. She wasn't liked at all by others and it was said that Wagner asked Liszt because of her 'wether the Almighty wouldn't have done better to leave women out of the scheme of creation'. She died in 1862 from a heart disease. Her mother remained at Berlioz' side until the end of his life.

• Husband: Berlioz, Hector (1854-1862, Paris: Église de la Sainte-Trinité)

14/11/1852Berlioz and Marie Recio arrive in Weimar. During the following weaks Franz Liszt would conduct the revised version of Berlioz' opera "Benvenuto Cellini". The performances took place on 17, 21, 23, 25 and 30 november. On 20 November Berlioz conducten a concert at the theatre in Weimar. Berlioz and Marie left Weimar on 24 November. [Berlioz, Hector][Liszt, Franz]
3/5/1854Berlioz and Marie Recio arrive in Weimar. They were on their way from Dresden to Paris and stayed in Weimar until 6 May. [Berlioz, Hector]
16/2/1856Franz Liszt conducts Berlioz' "Benvenuto Cellini" in Weimar. It was the revised version and Berlioz and Marie Recio were in Weimar at the time. [Berlioz, Hector][Liszt, Franz]
18/2/1856Berlioz and Marie Recio walk out during a performance of Wagner's "Lohengrin" conducted by Liszt in Weimar. It happened on 18 February of shortly afterwards. It was the first time Berlioz heard Wagner's music. Although Berlioz and Recio attented the full second performance on 24 February it clouded the friendship between Liszt and Berlioz. [Berlioz, Hector][Liszt, Franz][Wagner, Richard]


The grave of Hector Berlioz at the Cimetière Montmartre, Paris.
Picture by Androom (20 Feb 2016)


• Steen, Michael, Enchantress of Nations, Pauline Viardot: Soprano, Muse and Lover, Allen & Unwin Pry, Crows Nest, 2007
The Hector Berlioz Website: Berlioz and Liszt

Recke, Elisa von der

Published: 28 Jan 2018
Last update: 09 Apr 2023