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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

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  
Victor C-6698 12-in. 1/1/1909 Down in the forest Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-6699 12-in. 1/1/1909 The white sea mist Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-6700 12-in. 1/1/1909 D'une prison Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano (self-accompaniment) vocalist, soprano vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor C-6701 12-in. 1/1/1909 Believe me if all those endearing young charms Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor C-6704 12-in. 1/6/1909 Salce, salce Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-6705 12-in. 1/6/1909 Ave Maria Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-6706 12-in. 1/6/1909 Oh, lovely night Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-6707 12-in. 1/6/1909 Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor C-9370 12-in. 8/24/1910 Sevillana Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-9371 12-in. 8/25/1910 Scène et air d'Ophélie Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-9372 12-in. 8/25/1910 Vainement ma bien aimée! Nellie Melba ; Victor Orchestra Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-9373 12-in. 8/26/1910 Inflammatus Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-9374 12-in. 8/26/1910 Bid me discourse Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-9375 12-in. 8/26/1910 By the brook John Lemmoné Flute solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor C-13896 12-in. 10/2/1913 L'amerò sarò costante Jan Kubelík ; Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with violin obbligato and piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13897 12-in. 10/2/1913 Ave Maria Jan Kubelík ; Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with violin obbligato and piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13898 12-in. 10/2/1913 Magdalen at Michael's gate Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13899 12-in. 10/2/1913 Romance Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13900 12-in. 10/2/1913 Depuis le jour Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13903 12-in. 10/3/1913 Depuis le jour Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13904 12-in. 10/3/1913 Old folks at home Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13905 12-in. 10/3/1913 John Anderson, my jo Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13906 12-in. 10/3/1913 Chanson triste Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13907 12-in. 10/4/1913 Comin' thro' the rye Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13908 12-in. 10/4/1913 Les anges pleurent Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-13909 12-in. 10/4/1913 Vocal lesson no. 1 Nellie Melba Singing instruction, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor C-17001 12-in. 1/12/1916 Annie Laurie Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-17002 12-in. 1/12/1916 Songs my mother taught me Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-17003 12-in. 1/12/1916 Annie Laurie Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-17004 12-in. 1/12/1916 Songs my mother taught me Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-[Unnumbered 1913-10-03-01] 12-in. 10/3/1913 Phidylé Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Victor C-[Unnumbered 1913-10-04-01] 12-in. 10/4/1913 Le temps des lilas Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 1 12-in. Mar. 1904 Mattinata Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 2 12-in. Mar. 1904 Nymphes et sylvains Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 6 12-in. Mar. 1904 Ah, fors' è lui (Andante) Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 9 12-in. Mar. 1904 Se seran rose Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 12 12-in. 3/27/1904 Part of the Mad scene Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with flute obbligato and piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 15 12-in. 3/27/1904 Sweet bird Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with flute obbligato and piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 16 12-in. 3/27/1904 Good-bye Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 20 12-in. Mar. 1904 Mad scene Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 21 12-in. Mar. 1904 Mad scene Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 22 12-in. Mar. 1904 Caro nome Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 23 12-in. Apr. 1904 Ah, fors' è lui (Allegro) Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 25 12-in. Apr. 1904 Three green bonnets Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 26 12-in. Apr. 1904 Porgi amor Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone MELBA 27 12-in. Apr. 1904 Si mes vers avaient des ailes Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 405c 12-in. 10/20/1904 Chant hindou Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 520c 12-in. 9/5/1905 Sur le lac Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 521c 12-in. 9/5/1905 Lo, hear [here] the gentle lark Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano and flute vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 523c 12-in. 9/5/1905 Home, sweet home Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 524c 12-in. 9/5/1905 Good-bye Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 691c 12-in. 7/11/1906 Pastorale Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 4190f 12-in. 5/11/1910 All'erta, all'erta, o tempo più non John McCormack ; Nellie Melba ; Mario Sammarco Vocal trio (soprano, tenor, and baritone), with orchestra vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 4213f 12-in. 5/19/1910 Spring Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 6150b 10-in. 10/20/1904 Chant Vénitien Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 6151b 10-in. 10/20/1904 Les anges pleurent Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 7201½b 10-in. 9/4/1905 Auld lang syne Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with band and chorus vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 7202½b 10-in. 9/4/1905 Come back to Erin Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with band vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 7203b 10-in. 9/4/1905 Old folks at home Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with vocal trio and piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 7204b 10-in. 9/4/1905 Good night Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with vocal trio and piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone 7205b 10-in. 9/4/1905 Away on the hill there runs a stream Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  
Gramophone z7325f 12-in. 5/6/1913 Temps des lilas Nellie Melba Soprano vocal solo, with piano vocalist, soprano vocal  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Melba, Nellie," accessed November 26, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101919.

Melba, Nellie. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved November 26, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/101919.

"Melba, Nellie." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 26 November 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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