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Dame Nellie Melba Park
Dame Nellie Melba Park

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

A park commemorates opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba.

Helen Porter Mitchell adopted the professional name Melba to acknowledge her birthplace, Melbourne. She began to study singing seriously after her marriage in 1882. Following appearances in Sydney and London, she made her operatic debut in Brussels in 1887.

It was the start of a phenomenal 38-year career on the world stage. In 1909 Melba undertook a sentimental tour of Australia, and was greeted with adulation wherever she went. During the war, international travel was restricted, but she was energetic in her war work. Melba was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 1918 and elevated to Dame Grand Cross in the order in 1927.

Melba made her début as an opera singer at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, on 13 October 1887. She was an immediate hit as Gilda in Rigoletto, a daughterly role for a 26-year-old . Subsequently she appeared in La Traviata and in Lucia di Lammermoor; then, on 24 May 1888, sang Lucia at Covent Garden. It was not a conspicuous success however she had found an ally at Covent Garden in the influential Lady de Grey.

Acclaimed by press and public alike, she appeared at Covent Garden with Jean and Edouard de Reszke in Roméo et Juliette. In 1909 she embarked on a `sentimental tour` of Australia: she covered 10,000 miles (16,093 km), appearing in many remote towns. The further she toured, the deeper seemed the adulation: there were banquets, speeches, even small crowds at wayside stations.  In 1926 Melba returned to England and gave a series of farewell appearances. She had announced her retirement in 1924 but was still singing at overseas venues in 1930. She died on 23 February 1931.


Address:Coppin Street, Dame Nellie Melba Park, Richmond, 3121
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.821482
Long: 145.003142
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Park
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription
Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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