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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 26-50 of 87 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
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  
(Results 26-50 of 87 records)

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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