You are here

Marion Manola


Marion Manola [Mina Stevens, Mrs. Henry S. Mould] (1866-1914)

Vivacious, charming, and slight, Marion Manola began her life on the stage in Cleveland, first at the Rockwell School, and later on the recital stage. After marrying Henry S. Mould, the couple performed in local productions of Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas until Mould, to avoid debt proceedings, skipped town. Mina followed, and they fled to Europe--rumor suggested to Paris so that Marion could refine her vocal artistry under Mathilde Marchesi. They next surfaced on the London music hall stage sporting new names--hers Marion Manola; his Carl Irving. Manola's reputation was established in London playing the lead in Reginald DeKoven's unexpected hit "Maid Marion" ("Robin Hood" in the U.S.). The couple returned to America, joined the Casino Opera Company in which Marion Manola performed in "Erminie". Irving's talent was insufficient to establish him as a singing comedian. Marion Manola, however, climbed the ladder of accomplishment, securing better parts,eventually becoming prima donna in the McCaull Comic Opera troupe. She enjoyed a string of hits as a comic opera diva--"Bocacio," "Tar and Tartar," "Black Hussar," "The Mikado," and "The Beggar Student."

While playing the "May Queen" for McCaull, Marion's flirtatious behavior with singer Hubert Wilkie prompted the jealous husband to break with her in 1889. They divorced in 1891. During the 1890s Manola's life became bizarrely complicated. She toured for a period with DeWolf Hopper's company in "Castles in the Air," abducted her daughter with Mould and shipped her to Europe for education, married actor Jack Mason and became entangled in his financial problems when attempting to take over the Tremont Theatre. During the early 1890s Manola and Mason toured America in "Friend Fritz" when not dodging process servers. She was hospitalized in 1893-94 for a nervous breakdown, although rumor suggested she had become addicted to opium. In the mid-1890s she attempted to alter her vocal fact, abandoning high soprano parts for mezzo roles such as "Falka." In 1898 her attempt to tour as a star failed and her daughter ran away, claiming that Mason abused her. This provoked a split between Manola and Mason, and divorce in 1899. Manola's career degenerated to tours through the vaudeville circuits singing light classics and comic songs or appearances in suggestive productions such as 1903's "The Tinted Venus" at the Point of Pines playhouse in Boston. During the run of this production she married accountant George Gates, a man involved in the financing of early motion picture companies. Manola died in 1914 from complications during an operation to remove gall stones. She was 48 years old at time of death.