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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 51-75 of 87 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
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  
(Results 51-75 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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