Norina Matchabelli " Noorjehan "meaning "light of the world"

Her maiden name was Norina Gilli, later her stage name was Maria Carmi.

Born : March 3rd.,1880 - Florence, Italy

Died : June 15th., 1957 (aged 77) - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.A.


Norina's sister was Gita Bloum

Married : 1) Karl Vollmöller -      - 1916

                 2) Prince Georges V. Matchabelli - 1916 - 1933

On June 15th, 1957, Norina Matchabelli passed away at the age of
seventy-seven, in Youpon Dunes, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, after
prolonged heart trouble. Her love, service and renunciation were
boundless. She was wholly Baba’s and merged in Him. Baba sent this
telegram to Elizabeth Patterson and Kitty Davy on June 17th: “Be happy
my very dear Norina has come to live with me forever.” Her body was
cremated and, as was Baba’s wish, the ashes were sent to India and
interred on Meherabad Hill. Her tombstone reads: “Princess Norina who is and will ever remain Baba’s.”

Prince & Princess Georges Matchabelli
Prince & Princess Georges Matchabelli
Prince & Princess Georges Matchabelli
Prince & Princess Georges Matchabelli
Princess Norina Matchabelli
Princess Norina Matchabelli
MSI Collection ; Meher Baba with Norina (left ) & Elizabeth (right)
MSI Collection ; Meher Baba with Norina (left ) & Elizabeth (right)
1937 : Norina in India with "Lucky" the monkey. Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes
1937 : Norina in India with "Lucky" the monkey. Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes
MSI Collection ;Nasik,  India - Norina seated in the front row
MSI Collection ;Nasik, India - Norina seated in the front row
1940s - Surat, India : Norina is seated in the front next to Elizabeth Patterson
1940s - Surat, India : Norina is seated in the front next to Elizabeth Patterson
Norian with Meher Baba and Eklizabeth Patterson, 1947-'48 ; Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes
Norian with Meher Baba and Eklizabeth Patterson, 1947-'48 ; Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes
Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes
Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes

Charles writes :
Elizabeth Patterson and Norina Matchabelli on a balcony of the Palazzo Vendramin in Venice, early 1930s. Norina's first husband, Karl Volmoeller, lived in this house -- including during the time of their marriage. It's the same buidling in which Richard Wagner died in 1883.

The Miracle

Max Reinhardt 1912 film
Maria Carmi, Ernst Lubitsch, Douglas Payne, Florence Winston


As I described above, I first "saw" Norina inwardly and felt a strong inner connection with her. She was born Norina Gilli, in Florence, Italy, in 1880. Her family was in business there. When just a young girl, she developed a severe case of TB and was sent to Switzerland to recover. On a home leave — supposedly her last— she was resting in her family’s garden where Max Reinhardt, the famous stage director, Englebert Humperdinck, the composer and Karl Vollmoeller, the author of Das Mirakel, were discussing the difficulty of finding a woman to play the mime role of the Madonna in the stage play. It was Karl, Norina told me, who looked over at her and said, "Max, there is a Madonna." Mr. Reinhardt had been looking for two years. He did not want a professional actress, but someone with an authentic spiritual aura. Norina certainly had the right classic Renaissance beauty. Later she was called "one of the six great beauties of Europe."


The miracle of The Miracle was that this frail untrained girl went to London, under the stage name of Maria Carmi, endured the trying climate and exhausting rehearsals to become the hit of the play when it opened in 1912*. She was not only healed of the TB, others were healed through her. The play had a long run and toured Europe. It was revived in 1924 to tour America. Norina played the role of the Madonna over 1,000. On the American tour she alternated nightly, not too amicably, with Lady Diana Manners, another international beauty. (It was after this tour she left the stage and for a short while opened an acting school in New York City, concentrating on mime.)


On the first run of the play, she had married the author of The Miracle, Karl Vollmoeller. She took up a career in silent Italian films, many of them comedies. I saw one in which she played a neglected bride; the husband was played by an Italian comedian from whom it was said Charlie Chaplin copied some of his famous mannerisms — the duck walk, top hat, cane. One critic called her acting,


*The first performance of "The Miracle" actually took place December 23, 1911, at the Olympia Hall in London. -webmaster JK 2008 


The Awakener

Volume 20 Number 2 1983


MSI Collection ; Nasik, India
MSI Collection ; Nasik, India
Awakener ; Vol.20, No.2 - Portofino 1933 - Norina seated on wall ( 3rd from left )
Awakener ; Vol.20, No.2 - Portofino 1933 - Norina seated on wall ( 3rd from left )




This amusing incident shows how the Master works with other creatures in the “Divine theme” of creation.


UCKY IS A MONKEY ... I don’t know where he is now, but I had the good fortune to ‘mother’ him during his significant stay in the Ashram on Meherabad Hill. This incident is hard to believe unless one realizes the effect. MEHER BABA sent out a call for him, but then he described him merely as a monkey that would respond to him.


So, through all the four corners of India, friends and disciples were mobilized to detect such a promising creature, which, after we read the Divine Theme, we realize is part and parcel of it... like any one of us.


Now, monkeys after monkeys were sent for and brought up the hill. As I had to carry them down the hill again it meant that none of them was as yet the one for which BABA sent out a call. And then, one day, most unexpectedly, a tiny case arrived down at the men’s quarters, below the hill, from an unasked source, and in it was a small creature, no bigger than a baby squirrel with huge sparkling eyes and long eyelashes. The news was rushed up the hill to where BABA was at the time. His reaction was “spontaneous rejoicement.”


At once, the following plan was set by BABA:... the men down the hill were to squat in a circle with BABA hiding himself in their midst, and at a given moment BABA was to give the sign for the cage to he opened. Should the monkey, without hesitation, jump into BABA’S lap first, that would he the chosen one. The momentous order became fact. The monkey shot straight on to BABA’s left arm, sitting right under his heart, and was given forthwith the name of  ‘Lucky’ amidst great enthusiasm of all present. What perfect instinct!


By chosen one. I understand the one whose evolutionary striving would he speeded through contact with the Master.


On the same afternoon of the momentous arrival of the monkey, BABA, followed by all the members of the Ashram, brought him up to me where I was temporary invalided by having strained a ligament on my right foot and therefore had to stay in bed in the upstairs dormitory under a mosquito net. BABA introduced me to ‘Lucky’ as his temporary mother with orders to look after him. But how lucky were we all because BABA would spend a playful half-hour upstairs with ‘Lucky’ and us.


During this period BABA would take ‘Lucky’ from me, hold him, caress him, let the monkey kiss his neck, hide under his jacket or in his pocket until he became too possessive and intolerant in wanting ever more of BABA’s warmth and light, when BABA would come up to me and I would have to tear the monkey out of BABA’s grasp. Of course, the monkey rather resented it, so our part-time life under the mosquito net became rather strained.


‘ Lucky’ slept in a box at the head of my bed. I had to hear him snore at night and of an afternoon he insisted on sitting on the palm of my hand for his afternoon nap. At times, he would escape from under the net, then it was havoc. Tooth paste, powder boxes, fountain pens, belonging to others in the dormitory were squeezed open and thrown down. Finally, an ingenious trick helped to bring him down from a high rafter near the ceiling. By arousing the jealousy of this most lovable creature, I put my arms around my neighbors’ and administered loud, spectacular kisses which aroused his jealousy at once and down he jumped between us. Then I would catch him and put him back into his cage. These are just a few of the little difficulties encountered during BABA’s ‘doings and undoings’ with ‘Lucky’.


However, BABA continued coming and ‘Lucky,’ always feeling BABA ’S approach from afar, would become excited and shriek and call, but would find at once his heaven on earth when back in BABA’s arms.


It would seem though, that this divine treatment through love could not last forever.


One day, ‘Lucky ’ broke all discipline and escaped through the window on to the roof enjoying an illusionary freedom and when BABA called to him, by clapping his hands, he did not obey. When he did finally come down, BABA threw a stick between himself and ‘Lucky’ which apparently put an end to the episode. To us, it seemed as though BABA’s work in dose contact with ‘Lucky’ was temporarily finished.


BABA, some time later, sent ‘Lucky ’ off to a new home to be taken good care of where he grows and prospers, in time, from his perfect instinct to some higher sense-perception.


Being ‘part and parcel’ of the Divine Theme which has one goal for all creation ... GOD, ‘Lucky’ has received, through this Divine adventure, his evolutionary push, due ‘in time’ to all, from the inarticulate form to the conscious-human form, that comes in contact with the God-man. 


Courtesy of ;  The Awakener - Vol.1,  No.3   1954

Awakener ; Vol.19, No.2 - Los Angeles
Awakener ; Vol.19, No.2 - Los Angeles
Courtesy of LSLP ; Apr-June 1998, p.44
Courtesy of LSLP ; Apr-June 1998, p.44
Courtesy of LSLP ; Apr-June 1998, p.45
Courtesy of LSLP ; Apr-June 1998, p.45
Front cover
Front cover
Back cover
Back cover
MSI Collection - India
MSI Collection - India

Baba with the group of Western women dressed in the saris of the Eastern group, India, late 1930s. From left to right: Nadine Tolstoy, Mary Backett, Delia DeLeon, Nonny Gayley, Norina Matchabelli, Rano Gayley, Margaret Craske, Ruano Bogislav, Elizabeth Patterson, Kitty Davy.
— with Meher Baba and Kitty Davy.

MSI Collection ; India - Norina (R) & Kitty Davy (L)
MSI Collection ; India - Norina (R) & Kitty Davy (L)
1937 India ;
1937 India ;
MSI Collection ; India. Norina is on the far right wearing a hat.
MSI Collection ; India. Norina is on the far right wearing a hat.
Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
Courtesy of Avatar Meher Baba Trust - Archives
MSI Collection ; L-R : Delia, Jean, Norina & Elizabeth
MSI Collection ; L-R : Delia, Jean, Norina & Elizabeth
Norina & Elizabeth Patterson at the Myrtle Beach Centre
Norina & Elizabeth Patterson at the Myrtle Beach Centre

Norina Matchabelli

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Norina Matchabelli

Stage name Maria Carmi
Born Norina Gilli
3 March 1880(1880-03-03)
Florence, Italy
Died 15 June 1957 (aged 77)
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Title Princess
Religion Meher Baba
Spouse(s) Karl Vollmöller
Prince Georges V. Matchabelli

Princess Norina Matchabelli (3 March 1880 – 15 June 1957), born Norina Gilli in Florence, Italy, was co-founder of the perfume company Prince Matchabelli, a stage and screen actress, mime, mystic, publisher, and a devoted mandali of Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba. Her stage name was Maria Carmi.



[edit] Acting career as Maria Carmi

Norina Gilli began her stage career at Max Reinhardt's acting school at the Deutsches Theater and belonged to his company from 1907 to 1909. Under the stage name Maria Carmi, Norina played in Italian and German theater and later appeared in more than 25 silent films. Most notably she played the Madonna in the original spectacle-pantomime play The Miracle written by Karl Vollmöller whom she married. The play was originally produced in Germany in 1911 and opened in London on 23 December 1911.[1] In 1924 it was revived at Olympia Hall in London as well as Broadway that same year after a tour of Detroit, Milwaukee and Dallas. In the New York version she alternated nightly, not too amicably, with Lady Diana Manners, another international beauty of the period.[2] In all Norina gave over 1,000 performances of the play.[3] After the second tour she left the stage and for a short while opened (with well-known set designer Frederic Kiesler) an acting school, American Laboratory Theatre, in New York City, concentrating on mime.

[edit] Princess and perfume

Norina divorced Vollmöller and in 1916 married Prince Georges V. Matchabelli, the Georgian prince and diplomat who had been ambassador to Italy, but who fled Soviet Georgia and immigrated to the United States after the 1921 Bolshevik takeover of Georgia. Norina then became known as Princess Norina Matchabelli. Together in 1924 she and her new husband, who was also an amateur chemist, co-founded the now-famous perfume company Prince Matchabelli. Norina designed the perfume bottle after the family crown and in 1926 Georges dedicated the exquisite scent "Ave Maria" to her. In 1933 she and Georges divorced. Georges died in 1935 and in 1936 Norina sold the company to Saul Ganz for $250,000.00. [4]

[edit] Meher Baba

In 1931 Matchabelli met Spiritual teacher Meher Baba and became a devotee. She introduced many notable figures of the day to Meher Baba including Gabriel Pascal, Mercedes de Acosta and Karl Vollmöller (her first husband). She also founded the periodical Meher Baba Journal in 1938.

In the early 1940's Matchabelli co-founded the Meher Spiritual Center with Elizabeth Chapin Patterson in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S.

[edit] Death

Norina Matchabelli died at Youpon Dunes in Myrtle Beach in 1957 at the age of 77. Her ashes were interred close by Meher Baba's samadhi on Meherabad Hill, near Ahmednagar, India. Her grave marker bears the inscription: Princess Norina was and will ever remain Baba's. [5]

[edit] Filmography

Maria Carmi in Das Mirakel, 1912
  • 1912: Das Mirakel
  • 1913: Eine venezianische Nacht
  • 1914: L'Accordo in minore
  • 1914: Sperduti nel buio
  • 1914: Teresa Raquin
  • 1915: Fluch der Schönheit
  • 1915: Der Hermelinmantel
  • 1915: Die rätselhafte Frau
  • 1915: Sophias letztes Gesicht
  • 1916: Das Wunder der Madonna
  • 1916: Für den Ruhm des Geliebten
  • 1916: Aphrodite
  • 1916: Homunculus, Teil I
  • 1916: Homunculus, Teil IV - Die Rache des Homunculus
  • 1916: Der Pfad der Sünde
  • 1916: Der Letzte eines alten Geschlechts
  • 1916: Die Richterin von Solvigsholm
  • 1916: Das Haus der Leidenschaften
  • 1916: Der Fluch der Sonne
  • 1917: Der Weg des Todes
  • 1917: Wenn Tote sprechen
  • 1917: Die Memoiren der Tragödin Thamar
  • 1917: Rächende Liebe
  • 1918: Das Spitzentuch der Fürstin
  • 1920: Per il passato
  • 1921: Forse che si, forse che no

[edit] Trivia

  • The Karl Vollmöller spectacle play Das Mirakel was made into three separate movie versions, two produced in 1912 and a revamped American version titled The Miracle in 1959 starring Carroll Baker, and Roger Moore of subsequent James Bond fame.
  • Coincidentally, the first film version of Das Mirakel premiered in Germany on 21 December 1912,[6] exactly 100 years to the day before the end of the Mayan calendar, which ends on 21 December 2012, according to José Argüelles.
  • In the 1940's Norina Matchabelli gave a series of well-attended public talks in Carnegie Hall, New York City in which she said she was delivering "thought-transmission" messages directly from Meher Baba. When speaking, the personal "I" switched to "I, Meher Baba." This startled some of Meher Baba's followers and they questioned Baba on it in India, but he did not appear concerned. [4] Thus Norina gained the reputation of a mystic or clairvoyant, an eccentric, and relatively occult in her thinking in comparison with other followers of Meher Baba of that time period.
  • Norina Matchabelli confided with a friend that she believed her second husband Georges Matchabelli had the unique ability to detect and chemically reproduce "astral" fragrances in his perfumes, apparently accounting for his success as a perfumer. [5]

[edit] References

  1. ^ Boosey & Hawkes
  2. ^ New York Times, January 24, 1924. [1]
  3. ^ Awakener Magazine, Volume 20 Number 2, 1983 [2]
  4. ^ New York Times, 2 June 1986 [3]
  5. ^ The Awakener Magazine, Volume 20 Number 2, 1983
  6. ^ Internet Movie Database

[edit] External links


Departed  29th October 1936 from Plymouth, England and arrived in New York on 4th November 1936.

She was travelling with 6 other American who hadd also been to India.


Departed 25th November 1936 in Europe and arrived in Bombay, India 8th December 1936

The other Westerners she sailed with were ; Elizabeth, Malcolm & Jean Schloss &  Nonny & Rano Gayley.


Departed 31st July 1937 from Bombay and arrived at Marseilles, France 13th August 1937.

The other Westerners she sailed with were ; Margaret Craske, Elizabeth, Audrey Williams, Nonny  & Rano Gayley, Malcolm & Jean Schloss and Tom Sharpley.


Departed 3rd November 1937 from Maiselles, France  and arrived in Bombay 20th November 1937 along with Rano, Kitty and Elizabeth.