Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931)

The Dame Nellie Melba files in the Library's PROMPT collection contain primarily theatre programmes with some ephemera and newspaper cuttings which document the opera singer's Australian and overseas careers from 1891 to 1931. These files are incomplete and the holdings list therefore reflects this however additions to the collection and to this list are continuously being updated. The reader is advised to check the currency of the holdings list from time to time.

Access to Melba material in PROMPT collection

The Melba material is arranged in chronological order in the following boxes:

Box 1 1891-1921
Box 2 1922-1931
Box 3 Plays, etc.; Performances; Newspaper cuttings; Ephemera; Memorial concerts

Material from the PROMPT collection is available for use through the Petherick Reading Room, Ground Floor. Readers should complete an electronic call slip for the following catalogue record:

[Melba, Nellie (Dame), Australian opera singer : theatre programmes, ephemera / held in the PROMPT Collection, National Library of Australia].

The Melba-J.C. Williamson Co. programmes covering her Australian tours will be found in the J.C. Williamson Opera files which are arranged in chronological order. Readers will need to fill in a call slip for the J.C. Williamson opera programs record, that is below, and then specify the year(s) required. Anything from one to several boxes may be retrieved.

[J. C. Williamson opera programs : programs and related material collected by the National Library of Australia]

Additional Melba programmes some covering her early Australian appearances will be found in the PROMPT Scrapbooks collection particularly nos. 1, 6 and 8. Due to their fragility readers are requested to use the microform copy. Both versions are catalogued individually and are available on the Library's catalogue however the microform copy is available through the Newspapers and Microforms Reading Room.

Access to all other PROMPT material is through the Petherick Reading Room.

Access to other Melba material in the Library

All Melba material is available on the Library's catalogue and readers are advised to use the following search strategies:

  1. Personal author heading; subject heading; other subject keyword using – Melba, Nellie
  2. Title keyword using – Melba
  3. Use similar strategies for associated artists, companies, friends.

The catalogue also includes additional programmes not included in the PROMPT collection but available in the general and Australian collections. 

Some other important materials on Melba held in the Library

  • Manuscript materials including Melba's archives are available through the Pictures and Manuscripts Reading Room. Please note that some of these also contain theatre programmes. Material related to some of Melba's associated artists, friends, business partners and institutions such as John Lemmone, Mathilde Marchesi, Charles Elsasser, the Tait Family including personal papers of Frank and Viola, Fritz Hart, Rita Coonan, the Lilydale and District Historical Society, Melba Conservatorium as well as extensive JC Williamson (Firm) materials including their archives are also available.

Access to other Melba material on the Internet

A short list of other materials relating to Melba in Australia available through the Internet is included here.

Arrangement

The holdings list is in one chronological by order of performance and incorporates her Australian and overseas careers. This order reflects the arrangement in the PROMPT files. It includes the city, venue, the name of the company, the name of the opera or recital, her role and any comments.

Holdings list - Dame Nellie Melba Performances

1889

June 28; London; Buckingham Palace

Recital (program on paper doily)

1891

June 25; London; Buckingham Palace

Recital (program on paper doily)

1891

July 8; London; Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden

Romeo et Juliette Act. 4 (Gounod) and others

(Command Performance for German Emperor & Empress souvenir program)

1895

June 12; London; Royal Opera, Covent Garden

Faust (Gounod)

NM Marguerite

1899

January 11; New York; Metropolitan Opera House

Faust (Gounod)

NM Marguerite

1902

September 27; Melbourne; Town Hall

First Concert

NM with others

1902

September 30; Melbourne; Town Hall

Second Concert

NM with others

1902

October 11; Sydney; Town Hall

First Concert

NM with others

1902

October 23; Sydney; Town Hall

Fourth Concert

NM with others

1902

November 5; Melbourne; Town Hall

Madame Melba's Concert

NM recital

1902

November 26; Melbourne; Princess Theatre

Lucia di Lammermoor (mad scene) (Donizetti) - NM Lucia

La Traviata (Verdi) - NM Violetta

(Grand Opera Season Souvenir program)

1903

January 31; ?Melbourne; Town Hall

Concert d'Adieu (of E.A. Beaumont)

NM with others

1904

May 5; London; Queen's Hall

Concert in aid of Queen Charlotte's Hospital

NM with others (+ handbill)

?1907

November 23; Melbourne; Town Hall

First Concert

NM with others

1907

November 30; Melbourne; Town Hall

Second Concert

NM with others

1907

December 10; Sydney; Town Hall

First Concert

NM with others

1907

December 14; Sydney; Town Hall

Second Concert

Nm with others

1907

December 17; Sydney; Town Hall

Second Concert

NM with others

1907

December 18; Sydney; Town Hall

Matinee Concert

NM with others

1907

December 26; Melbourne; Exhibition Building

Concert

NM with others

1908

January 30; Ballarat, Vic.

Concert

NM with others

1908

February 25; Adelaide; Jubilee Exhibition Building

Concert

NM with others

1908

July 21; London; Royal Opera Covent Garden

The Grand Opera Syndicate

Otello (Verdi)

NM Desdemona

1909

March 9; Melbourne; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1909

March 13; Melbourne; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1909

March 27; Melbourne; Town Hall

Second Concert

NM with others

1909

June 1; Sydney; Town Hall

First Concert

NM with others

1909

November 15; Melbourne; Exhibition Building

Madame Melba's Charity Concert

NM recital

1909

No date or venue

Melba Tour, 1909

NM with others

Sydney advertisement on back cover

1909

No date or venue

Melba Tour, 1909

NM with others

1909

Australasian Tour, 1909

Publicity brochure

1910

July 16; Folkestone; Pleasure Gardens Theatre

Grand Melba Matinée

NM with others

1911

July 1911 – Anniversary of

Postcard with NM's port. by Johnston-Ayres Co.

1911

October 23; Sydney; Her Majesty's Theatre

The Melba Grand Opera Season

Romeo and Juliet (Gounod)

NM Juliet

1911

October 28; Melbourne; Her Majesty's Theatre

The Melba Grand Opera Season

La Traviata (Verdi)

NM Violetta

Facsimile of program centrefold

1911

November 24; Melbourne; Her Majesty's

The Melba Grand Opera Season

Romeo et Juliette (Gounod)

NM Juliette

1911

December 5; Melbourne; Her Majesty's

The Melba Grand Opera Season

Rigoletto (Verdi)

NM Gilda

Facsimile of program centrefold

1911

December 7; Melbourne; Her Majesty's

The Melba Grand Opera Season

Faust (Gounod)

NM Marguerite

Facsimile of program centrefold

1911

December 9; Melbourne; Her Majesty's

The Melba Grand Opera Season

La Boheme Act. 1

NM Mimi

1912

March 1; Melbourne; Her Majesty's Theatre

Charity Concert (for University Conservatorium of Music)

Hamlet (Thomas) Act 3 - NM Ophelia with others

Otello (Verdi) Act 4 - NM Desdemona with others

1913

May 4; London; Royal Albert Hall

Melba and Kubelik Concert

1913

October 5 – December 6; Melba Tour (of U.K.)

Melba Concert

NM with others

1914

November 21; Adelaide; Exhibition Building

Patriotic Concert

NM with others

1915

June 3; Sydney Town Hall

Melba Special Concert in aid of the Polish Relief Fund

1917

March 16; Riverside, Ca. USA; Loring Theatre

Tuesday Musical Club Concert

NM with others

1917

August 21; Melbourne; Town Hall

Concert by pupils of Melba

NM did not perform herself

1919

Port., biography of NM heading Royal Opera Covent Garden 1919 season, pp. 65, 85, 87

In: Stories of the operas and the singers : official souvenir, season 1919.

1919

January 7; Sydney; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1919

January 14; Sydney; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1919

July 31; London; Royal Opera Covent Garden

Gala Performance

La Boheme Act 3 (Puccini) - NM Mimi

Romeo et Juliette Act 3 (Gounod) - NM Juliette

1919

September 28; London; Royal Albert Hall

Concert

NM with others

1920

May 2; London; Royal Albert Hall

Concert

NM with others

1921

August 31; Melbourne; Town Hall

Home Coming Concert

NM with others

1921

September 10; Melbourne; Town Hall

Home Coming Concert

NM with others

1921

October 4; Adelaide; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1921

November 19; Sydney; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1921

November 22; Sydney; Town Hall

Concert

NM with others

1921-22

December 8 – January 24; Melbourne; Town Hall

Concerts for the People

NM with others

1922

March 21 – April 12; Sydney; Town Hall

Concerts for the People

NM with others

Copy for different performance (undated)

1922

March 21 – April 28; Sydney; Town Hall

Concerts for the People

NM with others

Copy for different performance (undated)

1922

May 29; Melbourne; Town Hall

Grand Concert of British Music by Conservatorium students (under patronage NM who did not perform)

1922

June 6; Sydney; Town Hall

Farewell Matinee

NM with others

1922

August 1; Melbourne; Town Hall

Farewell Concert

NM with others

1922?

September 2; Melbourne; Her Majesty’s Theatre

Matinee performance given by NM; in aid of the Fund for The Soldiers’ War Memorial.

1922

November 12; London; Royal Albert Hall

Melba Concert

Special Sunday concerts

1922-23

January 17; London; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

British National Opera Co.

La Boheme (Puccini)

NM Mimi

1922-23

January 20; London; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

British National Opera Co.

La Boheme Acts 3 & 4 (Puccini)

NM Mimi

1923

December 4; Sydney; Town Hall

Welcome Home Concert

NM with others

1924

Ports. Of singers from excerpt of undated sources

1924

January 22; Hobart; City Hall

Concert

NM with others

1924

March 29 – June 19; Melbourne; His Majesty's Theatre

NM & JC Williamson Ltd

Grand Opera Season Souvenir program

1924

April 15; Melbourne; His Majesty's Theatre

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd Grand Opera

Otello (Verdi)

NM Desdemona

1924

July 9; Sydney; Her Majesty's Theatre

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd Grand Opera

Madame Butterfly (Puccini)

NM did not perform

1924

July 21; Her Majesty's Theatre

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd Grand Opera

Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini)

NM did not perform

1924

Sept. 4; Sydney; Her Majesty's Theatre

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd Grand Opera

[Farewell]

Copy imperf.

1924

September 29; Adelaide; Theatre Royal

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd. Grand Opera

La Boheme (Puccini)

NM Mimi

1924

October 6; Adelaide; Theatre Royal

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd Grand Opera

Don Pasquale (Donizetti)

NM did not perform

1924

October 13; Melbourne; His Majesty's Theatre

Dame Nellie Melba and J C Williamson Ltd Grand Opera

Farewell of Dame Nellie Melba

La Boheme (Puccini)

NM Mimi

1926

January 30, February 6; London

Farewell concerts

NM with others

1926

June 25; London; Royal Albert Hall

Farewell concert

NM with others

1927

March 2; Melbourne; The Auditorium

Home – Coming concert

NM with others

1927

March 15; Hobart; City Hall

Dame Nellie Melba's Farewell tour

NM with others

1927

April 9, 13; Sydney; Town Hall

Farewell concerts

NM with others

1927

May 14; Newcastle; Central Hall

Farewell Tour

NM with others

1927

August 2; ?Melbourne; The Auditorium

Melba – Zimbalist Recital

1927

November 10, 12; Adelaide; Exhibition Hall

Concerts for the People

Farewell to Adelaide

NM with others

?1927

No date; Brisbane; Exhibition Hall

Farewell Tour

NM with others

?1927

No date; No city/venue

Farewell Tour

NM with others

1928

May 2; Melbourne; Town Hall

Dame Nellie Melba Appeal on behalf of the hospitals for women in Melbourne

NM with artists and two combined orchestras

1928

9 June; Melbourne; His Majesty's Theatre

Williamson – Melba Grand Opera Season

Turandot (Puccini)

NM did not perform

1928

15 August; Footscray; Barkly Theatre

Souvenir programme to commemorate the visit of Dame Nellie Melba

Nm did not perform.

1930

June 10; London; Park Lane Hotel

Charity Concert arranged by Dame Nellie Melba

NM with others