Marion Telva at Hollywood Forever…

Metropolitan Opera Singer Marion Telva

at Hollywood Forever Cemetery


 By Allan R. Ellenberger

American opera singer, Marion Telva was born on December 6, 1897  in St. Louis, Missouri to German immigrants, Herman and Elsa Toucke. There she received her vocal training and sang with the St. Louis Symphony. She went to New York in 1918 and sang in various churches and synagogues before being engaged by the Metropolitan Opera. She made her debut there as the Singer in Manon Lescaut on December 31, 1920.

Telva’s opera career was a versatile one, including such favorites as Faust, Aida and La Gioconda. Some of Telva’s regular roles at the Met included Mary in The Flying Dutchman; Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana and Brangane in Tristan and Isolde.  Many lesser known contralto roles included Tote Stadt, Snow Maiden, Don Quichotte, Bartered Bride, Jewels of Madonna, Louise, and Luisa Miller. The highlight of her career, however, was the 1927 revival of Norma, in which she sang “Adalgisa.” Others in that cast were Rosa Ponselle, Ciacomo Lauri-Volpi and Enzio Pinza, and the conductor was Tullio Serafin.

Telva left the Metropolitan Opera in 1931 after the last performance of Deems Taylor’s Peter Ibbetson the premiere of which she had sung in that year. In 1930 she was married to Elmer Ray Jones, president of the Wells Fargo Company (more about him in a future posting) at St. George’s Church, Stuyvesant Square. She was to have retired (at her new husbands urging), however, she returned to the Met in the 1932-1933 season to sing in a concert that was her final appearance there.

Her last major New York appearance was in the Missa Solemnis of Beethoven with Toscanini and the New York Philharmonic in 1935. She also appeared in Los Angeles operas under the auspices of the Grand Opera Association.

Telva and her husband made their home in the Silvermine section of Norwalk, Connecticut and also had residences in Mexico City and Taxco, Mexico. The Taxco residence was a Wells Fargo property named Rancho Telva. Her husband died in 1961 and she passed away a little over a year later. She was 64 years old.


 Marion Telva’s grave marker in Section 6 at Hollywood Forever Cemetery


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11 Responses to “Marion Telva at Hollywood Forever…”

  1. Jim Lacy says:

    Wow, this is another one I’ve been looking for at HF.
    You sure have a knack for finding ’em. Which section is she in? Nice-looking marker…always like signature stones. Good work! Jim L

  2. Jim Lacy says:

    Oops, never mind. I see you have her in Section 6.

  3. Allan Ellenberger says:

    I just happened to stumble upon her a few years ago. When I starting researching at the cemetery several years ago I tried looking her up in the records with no luck. But at the time I dont think I knew her married name so that’s probably why.

  4. Allan, you keep adding to my enjoyment of this, my favorite cemetery. Keep up the great work, I love this blog!

  5. Allan Ellenberger says:

    Thanks Steve. It’s my favorite too.

  6. Candy Cox says:

    Elmer Jones, Marion Telva’s husband, was my great uncle. His brother, Herman, was my grandfather.

  7. Jenny Z says:

    Marion Telva (Touke) was my mother’s great aunt. I’m actually named after Marion’s sister (Jennifer). It has been interesting trying to find out more information about this side of my family.

  8. Thomas Steele says:

    Aunt Marion, as I knew her,( her sister, Mathilde, was my Godmother) has her family name misspelled… Her last name was Taucke, not Toucke.

  9. Scott FitzGibbon says:

    She was also my mother’s Great Aunt – Elmer Jones was my grandfather Elmer G. Jones’ uncle.

  10. Nancy Jones says:

    She was my Great-Aunt, Great-Uncle Elmer raised my father, Elmer G. Jones, & his sister when their parents died. (Scott above is my nephew).

  11. Suzanne Albert says:

    I think I have a photo of Telva Jones. She was friends with a family member of mine.

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