Thursday, November 23, 2006
Nellie Melba (1861-1931) The first of the modern super divas I am sure others would use another word
This is from the book I was lucky to acquire which was autographed by Melba in Paris in 1925
Melba's autobiography face plate from which the above autograph came from...
The Melba Record..Came out in 1904 and was $5.00 for a one sided record. This was age of the operatic super star. She would record till 1926. But one should remember, she did not start recording till 1904 and she was 43 already. And she had another 22 years of a great career to follow. This special label was produced only for 2 years and is highly sought after today.
She was in a class all by herself. She was not Patti, but she was Melba! She would rule the operatic stage and several opera houses till her retirement in 1926. She was one of a kind and had many deserts named for her such as Peach Melba. She made her debut in the early 1880's when Caruso was around 8 years old and she would be singing for 5 years after he had left the stage.
Her voice was not as well suited to the acoustic recording horn as one would imagine. But we do get a slight shadow of the voice on these recordings.
There must have been something special with her to have such a devoted public for so long. Her career was as old as the Metropolitan Opera House at the time.
Covent Garden was her home base..It was there that she gave her farewell..After she thanked everyone...someone came to her and said she didn't thank the box office..she growled back "They bloody should have thanked me!!"
She was the first of the super divas...I always recall one time when her rival Louisa Tetrazzini was rehearsing at a hotel and Melba came in and heard and stated "Do you allow cats?"
That was Melba...Always the star, always in control...Tetrazzini sang at Covent Garden rarely, Melba saw to that...She was the law..She was Melba