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Nellie Melba

Dame Nellie Melba GBE (born Helen Porter Mitchell; 19 May 1861 – 23 February 1931) was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century, and was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. She took the pseudonym "Melba" from Melbourne, her home town.

Melba studied singing in Melbourne and made a modest success in performances there. After a brief and unsuccessful marriage, she moved to Europe in search of a singing career. Failing to find engagements in London in 1886, she studied in Paris and soon made a great success there and in Brussels. Returning to London she quickly established herself as the leading lyric soprano at Covent Garden from 1888. She soon achieved further success in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and later at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, debuting there in 1893. Her repertoire was small; in her whole career she sang no more than 25 roles and was closely identified with only ten. She was known for her performances in French and Italian opera, but sang little German opera.

During the First World War, Melba raised large sums for war charities. She returned to Australia frequently during the 20th century, singing in opera and concerts, and had a house built for her near Melbourne. She was active in the teaching of singing at the Melbourne Conservatorium. Melba continued to sing until the last months of her life and made a large number of "farewell" appearances. Her death, in Australia, was news across the English-speaking world, and her funeral was a major national event. The Australian $100 note features her image.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1861 (Melbourne;Richmond), Died 1931 (Sydney)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1904 - 1916

Roles Represented in DAHR: soprano vocal, piano, speaker

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 87 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor C-4281 12-in. 3/5/1907 Mi chiamano Mimì Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4282 12-in. 3/5/1907 Vissi d'arte e d'amor Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4283 12-in. 3/5/1907 Caro nome Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4326 12-in. 3/24/1907 O soave fanciulla Enrico Caruso ; Nellie Melba Vocal duet (soprano and tenor), with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4337 12-in. 3/27/1907 Voi che sapete Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4338 12-in. 3/27/1907 Air des bijoux Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4339 12-in. 3/27/1907 Ah, fors' é lui : Sempre libera Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4340 12-in. 3/27/1907 Good-bye Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4341 12-in. 3/27/1907 Addio! Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4342 12-in. 3/27/1907 Serenata Nellie Melba ; Ada Sassoli Soprano vocal solo, with harp vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4347 12-in. 3/28/1907 Per valli, per boschi Charles Gilibert ; Nellie Melba ; Victor Orchestra Vocal duet (soprano and baritone), with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4348 12-in. 3/28/1907 Un ange est venu Charles Gilibert ; Nellie Melba Vocal duet (soprano and baritone), with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4349 12-in. 3/28/1907 Mad scene Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with 2 flutes vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4350 12-in. 3/28/1907 Lo! Here the gentle lark Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with 2 flutes vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4352 12-in. 3/29/1907 Si mes vers avaient des ailes Nellie Melba ; Ada Sassoli Soprano vocal solo, with harp vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4353 12-in. 3/29/1907 Voi che sapete Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4354 12-in. 3/29/1907 Mad scene Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4355 12-in. 3/29/1907 Mad scene Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4356 12-in. 3/29/1907 Se saran rose Nellie Melba ; Victor Orchestra Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4357 12-in. 3/29/1907 Waltz song Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4358 12-in. 3/30/1907 Sweet bird, that shun'nst the noise of folly Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with 2 flutes vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4359 12-in. 3/30/1907 Ave Maria Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with harp, violin, and organ vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-4360 12-in. 3/30/1907 Mattinata Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor C-4361 12-in. 4/1/1907 Tutte le feste al tempio Giuseppe Campanari ; Nellie Melba Vocal duet (soprano and baritone), with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-6697 12-in. 1/1/1909 En sourdine Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
(Results 1-25 of 87 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Melba, Nellie," accessed November 27, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101919.

Melba, Nellie. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101919.

"Melba, Nellie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 27 November 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101919

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