New York: The White Star Line, 1924. 1st printing. Passenger List: Unpaginated, though 20 pp. Cabin Plan: one sheet printed both sides, folded 5x to form an 18 panel brochure. Accompanied by numerous newspaper extracts, most documenting the trip, including one [New York Herald, Paris edition, Friday August 29, 1924, in 5 copies] announcing the arrival of Ms Talley in Cherbourg, announcing her destination as Milan. Passenger List illustrated with 2 photographic images, both of the Olympic. Cabin Plan with five colored deck plans. List: 7-5/8" x 5-1/4". Plan: 21-7/8" x 22-3/4"[unfolded]; 7-1/4" x 3-13/16" [folded]. List with printed glossy stock covers, stapled. Map to rear cover. Curl to List fore-edge. Newspaper offset to pp 10-11. Plan with stamped manicule indicating the assignment of passenger cabin C99, as well as an agent stamp [McGrade & Benton, Kansas City MO] to Plan title panel. Both - VG+. Item #42801
Marion Nevada Talley was an American opera coloratura soprano. While her first audition, in 1923, for the Metropolitan Opera was unsuccessful, the Opera's general manager, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, did subsequently hire Talley for the 1925/26 season. On February 17, 1926, she made her debut there as Gilda, the daughter of the title character in Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto. At the time, and at the age of 19, Talley was the youngest prima donna to ever sing at the Metropolitan Opera.
Her pending debut caused a media sensation, contrary to Gatti-Casazza's hopes that it would remain low-key. A delegation of two hundred leading citizens of Kansas City, her home town, arrived via a special train. Tickets were being resold at astronomical prices. A telegraph was set up backstage so her father could send dispatches to the Associated Press. Her performance prompted multiple ovations from the crowd, but critics were less enthusiastic. While they thought her debut promising, it did not live up to the expectations caused by the media frenzy, and her ensuing musical career with the company lasted but a few more years.
This White Star Line ephemera no doubt retained as a souvenir of Talley's 1924 journey to Milan, where Gatti-Casazza had sent her to continue her music training with Mme Marcella Sembrich [1858 - 1935].