MARY NORVELL ALLEN Opera Star of the 1920's Mary Allen Norvell was born in 1880 to Joseph Norvell (1842-1910) and Artemesia Belle Wilson Norvell (1853-1916) near the turn of the century. Her siblings were Annie Norvell (1875), Lucy Norvell and Alvin Byrum Norvell. She was most likely born in Nicholasville, Kentucky. On December 8, 1921 the San Carlo Opera Company sponsored Cavalleria Rusticana, in Philadelphia, PA, at the Metropolitan Opera House. Mary Allen played Beatrice d'Alessandro. A review in the Musical Courier, December 22, 1921 stated: Mary Allen soprano San Carlo Opera Company Creates Most Favorable Impression in Philadelphia. When Miss Allen appeared on the scene she quickly was in the spirit of the role, and her lovely voice was heard with delight. – The Philadelphia Record, Dec. 9, 1921. Mary Allen was the Lola. She performed the part with much vigor of action and with excellent vocal effect. The singing throughout was excellent and the action went with a snap which carried conviction from start to finish. – Evening Public Ledger, December 9, 1921. The cast included Mary Allen, who made a good impression as Lola. – The Evening Bulletin, Dec. 9, 1921. Mary Allen as the flirtatious Lola, sang and acted efficiently – Linton Martin, The North American, Dec. 9, 1921. Miss Allen made a pleasing Lola. – The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 9, 1921. A photograph shows Mary in the lead role as Santuzza. A larger version of the praying, solemn Mary covered under a shawl, is inscribed to her younger brother, Alvin and his wife Willie Kincaid Norvell. It says, "To Alvin and Willie – In my first role, Santuzza in Cavaleria Rusticana. Affectionately, Mary – Feb - 1 – 21. "As Mary gained recognition, she was advertised as a member of the "DeLuxe Concert Group" as promotional photographs taken by the Apeda Studio, in New York, attest. Two additional Cartolina Postale Italiana postcards, both stamped "Ermini, Milano" show Mary in costume. One contains no writing but a half-curtsey bow in 17th century dress and wig conveys Mary's smiling countenance. "As Manon Lecault" "June 1st 1925" "Maria Alain" The cards were most likely sent to her younger brother, Alvin. Apparently, Mary's talent and reviews moved the San Carlo's Opera Company to arrange for her to sing in Europe. Mary's star continued to rise as she again appeared in Philadelphia in a Academy of Music (La Scala Grand Opera Company) performance of Norma, on March 6, 1926. Mary returned to Europe, but became ill and died suddenly. Her brother, Alvin, went to Europe to retrieve her body. Mary's star rose and fell at a young age.
_____________________ She married William Hutchings Allen and they divorced about 1922. He later remarried.