Cigarette card for the week ending
Saturday, 1 March 2008

Marguerite Sylva (1876-1957),
Belgian-born American actress and vocalist

Marguerite Sylva

Marguerite Sylva

(photo: unknown, probably USA, circa 1897)

This real photograph cigarette card is no. 810 from one of the Guinea Gold Cigarettes series issued by Ogden's of Liverpool, England, about 1900. The subject is the mezzo-soprano Marguerite (Marguerita) Sylva whose appearances on Broadway included parts in the musical comedy The French Maid (1897), a revival of Erminie with Francis Wilson (1903), and Franz Lehar's Gipsy Love (1911). In the latter she starred with Arthur Albro with whom she contemporaneously recorded for Edison (28002) 'Love is Like the Rose.' Her several appearances in films are said to have included a silent version of Carmen.

'Paris, 21 July 1906.
'As we are just now indulging in these kindly sentiments, wishing good luck and prosperity to people we do not know and possibly may not care much about, let us go a little nearer home and wish that a real and a big success may attend a charming American singer who is to make her debut here at the Opéra Comique in September. I refer to Madame Marguerita Sylva (Mrs. W.D. Mann), who has been engaged as a star at the Opéra Comique here during the coming season, which is a great triumph for her considering how many competitors there always are in the field. Madame Sylva has just had a splendid success at a concert given in the Kursaal at Ostend, where she was the only soloist accompanied by the well-known orchestra of 125 instruments. An Ostend paper gave her the following notice: ''The young cantatrice possesses a very beautiful voice and sang for her first number the sorrowful romance of Santuzza from Cavalleria Rusticana, and followed this by rendering the air from Etienne Marcel, 'O Beaux Rêves Evanious.' In response to a most enthusiastic encore she gave the 'Chant d'Amour' by Hollman, with 'cello obligato, and it is only fair to say that the instrument so dear to the composer of this number blended so perfectly with the voice of Madame Sylva that the result was most charming and harmonious.'' Americans will feel proud of Madame Sylva, and will congratulate her on being so readily engaged as a star at the Opéra Comique, the foremost theatre of its kind in the world.'
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, Saturday, 4 August 1906, p.8d)

Marguerite Sylva's death on 21 February 1957 at Glendale, California, was the result of a road accident.

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- John Culme, 2008