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Melba, Nellie (1861 - 1931)

Dame, GBE

Born
19 May 1861
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died
23 February 1931
Occupation
Opera singer
Alternative Names
  • Mitchell, Helen Porter (maiden name)

Summary

Dame Nellie Melba (née Helen Porter Mitchell) was an internationally renowned opera singer, celebrated for her magnificent coloratura (soprano) voice.

Details

Melba's musical training began in Melbourne at Presbyterian Ladies' College, and continued in France under Mathilde Marchesi. Her operatic debut was in Brussels, in 1887.

Melba went on to perform in London, Paris and New York before returning to Australia to tour in 1902. She also toured Australia in 1909, 1911, 1924 and 1928. She founded a women's singing school in Melbourne and wrote a singing manual and a memoir.

Melba was appointed to The Order of the British Empire, Dame Grand Cross (Civil) on 3 June 1927 for services to Australia. She was also appointed to The Order of the British Empire, Dames Commander, on 15 March 1918 for giving fund-raising concerts to assist war wounded during the First World War.

Sources used to compile this entry: Davidson, Jim, 'Melba, Nellie (1861-1931)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, Australian National University, 2006, http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A100464b.htm.

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Archival resources

Deakin University Archives

  • Miscellaneous papers re Caroline Chisholm and Dame Nellie Melba., 1833 - 1953, FRO; Deakin University Archives. Details

Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne

  • Grainger-Melba Correspondence; Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne. Details

Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music

  • Records of Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music, 1894 - ; Melba Memorial Conservatorium of Music. Details

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Papers; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Account book, 1902 - 1903, MS 7987; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Correspondence of Melba, Nellie, Dame, 1861-1931., MS 1356; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Fairbairn, Anne. The discovery of a Nellie Melba archive, 1971, MS 1370; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Family Papers. Marchesi, Mathilde, 1821-1913., 1869 - 1945, MS 2647; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Lemmone, John, 1861-1949. Collection of papers relating to Dame Nellie Melba., 1911 - 1928, MS 4832; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Melba, Nellie, Dame Papers, 1895 - 1923, MS 9561; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Melba, Nellie, Dame Papers, 1908 - 1970, MS 9331; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Melba, Nellie, Dame Scrapbooks, 1924, MS 5380; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Miscellaneous papers re Caroline Chisholm and Dame Nellie Melba., 1833 - 1953, mfm G 27410; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details
  • Papers of Hart, Fritz Bennicke, 1874-1949, 1898 - 1951, MS 2809; National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Performing Arts Museum, Victorian Arts Centre

  • Cochran Collection, 1888 - 1926; Performing Arts Museum, Victorian Arts Centre. Details
  • Papers of Lemmone, John, 1861-1949., 1884 - 1924; Performing Arts Museum, Victorian Arts Centre. Details
  • Van Straten Collection; Performing Arts Museum, Victorian Arts Centre. Details

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Biographical file of information on Dame Nellie Melba, 1961, MS 11745; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details
  • Letters, 1916, MS 8946; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details
  • Papers of McCubbin, Frederick, 1855-1917., 1884 - 1962; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details
  • Scrapbook, 1911 - 1937, MS 1077; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details
  • Scrapbook belonging to Beryl Fanning, 1909 - 1931; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Clare Land

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/IMP0003b.htm

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