The second part of our episode on the Australian diva focuses on her career in the early 1900s, her charity work and her belief that singers had to work -- and work hard -- to be constantly perfecting their technique.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Ever you listen podcast! This episode is brought to you by square space start building your website today, at square space, dot com enter offer code, history a trick out to get ten percent on square face, build it beautiful you missed in history, has allow unwelcome upon tat. Somehow we frying Tracy wealth in November, part of this to part episode. We cover the early years of Nellie Melbourne singing career in her rise to fame and a couple of foods. after her and disastrous romance with a royal and we're gonna pick up after her affair look of early on and will tie The many travels with her singing career took her on from that point, during career, both before and after heard values with the duke of earlier Emily, remained a featured performer, Covent Garden,
she did not, of course, only appear in London. During that time, she was lauded repeatedly, first spectacular performances in New York and in eighteen. Ninety eight staging of the barbarous, in San Francisco. She went off libretto one thing: the STAR Spangled banner and music lessons scene and one over an audience that up to that point, had not really seemed interested in the production. I love of what apparently was proposition and kind of wonderfully odd and probably out of place. But I look, and while her star continued to rise both because of her singing and because of her flamboyant personality there still a degree of divide about her. We'll talk a lot about how famous she was, but in terms of critics everybody universally adored her and even after she went over London, there were all dissenting critics who are just put off by her. They just could not.
Get into what she had to offer and while she had many successes, there were also a few disasters in the mix, and I point this out just because I think we target historical figures that had certain levels of fame and it pains and unrealistic picture that everything they touch turn for gold but in fact, He was in a staging a vulgar siegfried at the met in eighteen. Eighty six start is Brunhilda, and that was considered awful by pretty much everyone. The science Similarly, a turn in Aida in eighteen, eighty one was also a flop. Pearls Armstrong Bid finally get his divorce from Nellie, but it wasn't until nineteen hundred he had taken their son George. He was a teenager point awaits the United States. They had settled in Texas than it was there they Finally, granted divorce papers, it well you'd been living in England for some time. At this point now we really always considered Australia, her home in the night two, she returned there for a lengthy tour setting a world record for concert. Proceeds at one of her Sidney shows
she was strictly darling into her hometown in Melbourne. She was practically royalty everywhere she went. She was greeted with cheering crowds and she was seen as the utmost in glamour and success a perfect From Melbourne to the world. Tour ran for months, Nellie didn't go back to Europe. for the following year? Nineteen o three, almost as soon as the tourism However newspaper man, John S or Norton, started publishing accusations in his paper truth that now It was not all that she seemed to be. He accused her being difficult in a drunk and a miserly parasite. This was not exactly a new style of journalism for Norton, although he may have been the first kind of gross tablet The situation that, like to attack celebrities since here acquired truce in eighteen. Ninety six, the tone of his paper had focus to a great degree on creating smear campaign against anyone in a position of power.
and the sensationalist approach to covering events and people of the day had gotten Norton, pretty hot water, and is it actually brought many libel suits and he expected from Nellie Melba, he actually threaten that he would continue his attacks and that she was welcome to take legal action. But, as is often the case with TAT, when he was really after with attention and never gave him none of that. While events he did. We want. Other targets. Has writing planted seeds of gossip that followed her for quite a number of years. Partaken the allegations that she was an alcoholic. The early nineteenth hundreds, despite this weird stumbling block in these rumours that were started about her words, streamline successful for Melba. She continued to be in high demand around the world singing for heads of state as well as theatre audiences, pretty much everywhere around the globe, and she had become so well known for playing certain roles and singing certain pieces of music that shit.
actually learned no new parts from nineteen o four on, because people demanded those same things over and over Josephine recording her songs in nineteen o four and her hundreds of recordings we're so pillar that she is credited with helping to popularized gramophone. During its horror, the United States in nineteen o six nineteen o seven, she up ended the New York operating. She acted to appear at the new Manhattan opera house rather than at the met, and she gave the floor Killing theatre, a huge financial we use them doing so Yes, you just wasn't happy with how the meant was handling some things and she does not final Goodyear competitor then, and the the opera house was really happy about the decision after that, nor Eric and to her and her season. Covent garden, concluded in nineteen o seven Nellie went to Australia. She was under the weather and needed to recover because she had pneumonia and while she was away from London another
Pronto Louis, a Tete Rossini made her London debut at Covent Garden. As Violeta Le Traviata and but you see me, was a sensation and substance. I did that she might unseat Melba as the Prima Donna of London This, however, was something Nellie once again was not having any of it, and it was not the case when she returned from Australia to the english stage recovered from her illness. She continue the dazzled crowds, although she intent Rossini did on occasion still compete for really prize roles. eventually Louis, a move to the? U S, because she experienced great success when she appeared there and Nellie Melba was once again the unopposed queen of Covent Garden as a fine. On how Nellie Melville sometimes dealt with her. Levels when a performer, she didn't care for had a part in a show. Now with her very recognisable and very skilled voice would stand in the wings among loudly state thing over her answer.
Competitive, that's serious diva move right, that's not very nice, but you know it's very cut throat at that point If you want to stay the number one the singer. You gotta make yourself now Not let anybody think for a moment that someone else might be better. have to give them the comparison right then, and there so they hear that your voice is that much better. Now then decided to go on another tour of Australia, but before we get to that, let's have a word from one of our awesome sponsors. Hapag has listeners You ever wanted to share a love story with someone, but you may be wanted to do it in a really unique in interesting way or you were struggling to get the exact rate words in place. Will you don't know to worry about that. You can put it into a book, and that is where love book comes in love books, help customers express their sentiments that there, working hard to make their own unique thing, and each book is completely
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approval of their establishments is love that, like she's, giving her blessing to the crowds isn't goes Like the previous tour, though this time it really appeared that nobody wanted to set down roots in Australia rather than just returned back to Europe You have a new home built in Victoria, which was christened Coom Cottage and she ended up splitting her time in the years after Coom Cottage was completed about fifty fifty. We lost rail, yeah England, and she was also continuing to tour the world during that time and additions are building woman, Australia Nellie also began building a reputation as a teacher. She used. The Marquis hazy method is the basis of her own, making slight changes to the make it. Nineteen eleven Nellie became the head of the mobile Williamson Opera Company in Melbourne and her leave In nineteen, eleven Nellie became the head of the booking talent Opera company in Melbourne, and her leadership in the company was primarily focused on recognising
gala with merely singing Mimi in limbo, M the nineteen thirteen this triumphant events that it really sharp contrast to her early visit to London when she was told she would need to get a lot of practice to get and even minor role at the opera House, you may notice, as were sort of marching through her accomplishments in her life, they were getting pretty close in the timeline twin war. One who's gonna be a globe Concern and now had just arrived in Australia for a stay there when the war began, but her career. wasn't really slow down very much by the difficulties that this conflict brought to the globe. Despite some tricky six ends of danger while travelling she towards Europe three times during the war and America once she also used her feet. To rally, excitement and allegiance to the alive. She work war charities included auction, including auctioning off flags at the curtain of her, shows its estimated that she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for war. Chair
by using her popularity for the cause. During her wartime american tour. There's a little bit of a weird blip that happens, because Nellie became convinced that german agents were trying to kill her because of her work. port, the allies time something went wrong along the way whether it was like a travel plan that went awry or a delay in their travel or a theatre set up. There was quite right, basically anything, no matter how big or small she a treat these issues to german sympathisers, but no real evidence of such a plot was ever found during the war, Nellie also became more engaged with the Albert Street conservatory him and her classes became extremely popular. She became known as the taskmaster of a teacher, and her goal was to firmly established a legacy of Bell contest singers. She used once again the tradition of our teacher mark hazy and her drive. The do so sometimes pushed her students to thereby
making points emotionally Nellie once wrote of singing quote, there is no royal road to success in singing I rake wrecked breathing before even the possession of a beautiful voice for this can be marred by faulty breath, control phrasing. Residents and expression all these debates. upon respiration. Here we have The old italian secrets, which so many singers of our day, have never found me Melba. Never shy of the spotlight had special uniforms designed for students at the conservative, with the blue letter am embroidered on them, for everyone would recognize her students. Events Really the Albert Street Conservatory and published a book on her technique, titled Melba method, and that was a nineteen twenty six, eventually School was renamed the Melba Memorial conservatory him one well, where one and did no email but did indeed returned to London. Shoes actually made a deal with the british empire in nineteen eighteen,
also as they are for the reopening of Covent garden ports because they re launching the opera house it having closed for other purposes during the conflict, but this was not same place that it had been in the wake of war. It was not the opera house, she remembered. There is certainly a more somber tone to the entire city, and that really did not agree with the supreme Diva she was so asked by her returned to London that she actually didn't sing it Covent garden again until nineteen twenty three in the meantime, saying almost constantly and performances in Australia, including this counted performance, is aimed at making them its affordable and accessible. She also toward with them. Well, the Williamson company, although there was some competition from Reno young singers, who were new on the scene, Albert held her own, but the constant touring and performing and teaching started to take its whole. In addition to her other appearances, nobles,
welcomed in a new era in entertainment, in linking twenty that year, he became the first international artists to embrace direct radio by participating in various broadcasts, and this really helped her to maintain her status as a well known, modern performer, reaching out to as many people as possible performer reaching out to as many people as possible, more people than ever could hear her voice without her. Having four million mobile, announced that she would be saying farewell to her life as a performer birds. Didn't turn around to give up performance right away. Instead, she made a series of final performances, but those didn't even started. most four years after this announcement it reminds me of when actors go I'm retiring and then they make like six more movies. So, while preparing for her farewell series and post, part of why they were postponed for so long now, he's memoirs
published in nineteen twenty five under the title, melodies and memories, and in this book she wrote first rule in opera is the first rule of life that to see tat everything yourself. Not only saying you must not only act. You must also stage manager, press agent, artistic adviser, shit? fitted her success. Very plainly, too, DR that she had to simply be the best she was somehow described as being snobby or having a superiority complex. But from her point of view she said, demanded that all of the people around her recognised both her gifts and talents, as well as her professional dedication when asked in nineteen twenty seven Byron quarters about the nature of her farewell concert. They Nellie replied. There will be a personal touch about my farewell like this, operatic stage. One is aloof from the audience and another atmosphere on the concert platform. However, it is different. It is the woman herself who was singing not a character from a play
And at the same time, it seemed that now that she was preparing to leave the spotlight, she also began helping to promote younger singer. She'd, no longer really considered the rivals, and so there was then, where she was waving off press photographers that had kind of broached her at the railway station and she This younger performer, that was travelling with heard a sort of distract them, but also promote this up and coming singer. She said quote: take photograph. Instead, my preferred Career is ending. Hers is just beginning. She must, a broad, and that will mean a lot of work and the raising of a lot of money, but it will be worth it for she has a career ahead of her. I predicted it when I heard government house here when she was only fourteen. I like that she went from singing people have a moment, though, where am I guess she just pushing this poor girl out in front of other peoples from the leave her alone? She wants a moment of peace. Like was this?
magnanimous gesture. I have no idea why regardless we'll talk about her, farewell performances next, but before we day we will have a brief word from a sponsor this episode of stuff. You miss than history classes, brought to you by Norton three sixty with lifelong, what they your shopping online with a smartphone. Its super feels like ear. Personal information is just right there in your hand, but that's not always the case, because, as soon as you hit submit, your personal information could start going. other places. In fact, whenever you shop Bank or browse online, your personal invoking get out of your control, and that can we be vulnerable to cyber criminals. More threats demand more protection. That's why Norton and Lifelong are now part of one company Norton three
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a new might be to be programme as their most groundbreaking and customize programme. Ever I joined Debbie W because I was really looking for something that was going to help encourage me to make healthier eating choices. They have really done that when you joined them W W program, you will take a personal assessment. It asking questions you're eating habits in your behaviors minute scientifically matches you up with which plan is going to be the best for you, a blue plan, and it has made such a big difference or me in terms of encouraging means, eat healthy foods, join W W, formerly wait. Watchers unlock your custom weight loss plan that can make losing weight easier for you had on over to Debbie Debbie dot com. That's w w dot com to joint Debbie Debbie today, with a limited time offer. On August seventh of nineteen twenty eight Nellie Melba gave her first farewell performance in Sydney, Australia, and this point I'm consisted of songs from a variety of roles that had been faint, that she had been famous for playing
She sang the same programme at her Melbourne Folk farewell on September, twenty seventh of that year, buddy that wasn't her final performance. She took the australian stage, one last time in November, nineteen twenty eight in July, but those we're just her australian farewell performance is then she went to England and then gave performances in Paris and Egypt all analyses About two years touring after her australian farewell concert theories, also during nineteen twenty, there was a little bit of diva drama, because English contralto Dame clearer, butts biography, was published in in its she clean the Dame Nellie Melba gave her advice right before the english singer began her australian tour, so it Thirdly, Nellie had told her quote: Singa Muck. It's all. They understand, sir, remember, who was always extremely parent patriotic about her home country, was the in an interview, daily Telegraph, they Clara Clay,
she had never seen a manuscript and would never have approved of such a thing to go to print and the end. But I'd prefer biographer Winifred ponder was the person you wound of being thrown under the best. For this gas, Nellie accepted the excuse that was quoted by the press is saying it is merely a stupid mistake. I would we're dream of things such a thing. I am delighted to see that Dame Clara, but has issued a denial, and has no waste time singing abroad reached the two year mark. Her health really took a turn. There was a fever that plague though she saying once again at a charity event in Hyde Park Hotel before she headed home to Melbourne, vs Steamer ways: condition deteriorated over the course of her journey home from Europe when she was back in our things did not get better. Eventually, she went to Sydney to be admitted to Saint Bentham Hospital at Darling Hearst, but unfortunately she never
after it turned out that the fever was the result of an infection from a facial surgery she had had while she was in Europe, so that of cept. To see me on February, twenty third nineteen, thirty one. Now he was. three days later on February, twenty sixth, she turn Lily Dale, the small town where her home Tomb cottage was built friend. family and members of the public dissidents, Scots Church for her coffin, was displayed draped in the US flag in the morning for her memorial service and that choice it was the same one she had visited as a child. Her father had we built it and, as you were, he sang in the choir there and the Reverend doctor Berlin's memorial speech. He said as we pay our last tribute to the memory of our great countrywomen. Let us keep in mind with the Lord gave when he raised in our nation. Dame Nellie Melba no one in these two generations, which most of us here have known, has been so wonderfully gifted. Is she whose voice thrilled the hearts of milk
his understanding directing that voice made possible that matchless sympathy for all things, human and for many things divine, which enabled her to interpret the very soul of true music Just as was the case with any of her tours as a performer as Nellie few Procession moved from Scots Church through town and out to the cemetery the streets were fit. with admirers, though at this point they were somber instead of cheering took three hours to to make the way through, just because there were so many people crowded around and there were also simultaneous memorial services held in Sydney in Melbourne IMPACT Chapel, so filled with mourners that people had to stand and a memorial service was also held, later in London. On March six, some of our listeners may have recognised Nellie, melded name right out of the gate, because she appeared as a character and doubt navvy. She was played by
restart aimed carry to canal and there's some criticism that the very idea of the star, a star of David Nellie, Melville Stature with thing at Lady grant them home, was utterly preposterous and have to have been treated as a trades person ass. She wasn't that episode. Rather than as the criminal, a crime is just animal universal There were some rather scathing reviews, both of the way she was integrated into the show and of the taken hours per day, of her performance too yeah. I read those before I came in here, like the review, is just scathing, both of their portrayal of character and actual thinking that happened at the episode and then about at the very bottom, with the link that was like
our exclusive interview with her about this, and I was like relay yeah it was you want orderly handling that you raked or over the goals after you gave her after she gave you the courtesy of having an interview with you about it, be it was a super kind. Some people took offence at how it with stage like people that are really big opera fans and brutally fans have deemed Nellie Melba, because you can still hear her work on line because make so many recordings that they were upset that she was. You know she so rarely given the spotlight, even though she was so huge in her day, but that when she was, it was juxtaposed against it's a little bit of a spoiler bet. It's been long ago now that I hope nobody minds, it was juxtapose again rape scene and cut back and forth between the two and people were like. That is not the way we want to see. Nellie Melba brought back into the spotlight. There were a lot of issues, or rather that it was portrayed as a as a performance that the people waxing were not really enjoying, because it was a very good right
Yet there were a lot of problems with that portrayal, apparently I remember watching that episode in. I knew nothing about her at the time, so it didn't strike me as particularly odd but it had. I known all of this about her. I think I would have been like. really they later stay in a real. What let us say that, at this stage, when it originally was- in the U S and did not remember the name at all like I definitely remember the episode in the pyramids and how is portrayed, but it wasn't until you gave me the cell That sounds like all right that ok yeah, one of the things that I really noticed shines through when you read it Melvin writings and he read, quotes from her. Is it She believed as a performer, you have to work hard always, and this certainly played out in her work schedule all she was constantly touring rate it to the end of her life and though she was diva, she really felt ass, though success came from always putting an effort. She want
retreated is opera royalty, but she also did everything she could to earn that status. She was not a person that showed up unprepared or this, assuming that things would go well, she just didn't they how it was enough so to wrap up. I thought because you're shown a little bit of her. Her lesson four qualities as well as her good ones. But I thought this is a really good snippet that she as part of a larger essay intended to encourage younger singers. She wrote this in nineteen nineteen to consider my own case. I quote it with no vanity at all, but only to illustrate my meaning, If the song was certainly mine, I was born with a natural trill and absolute breath, control consequent. As a child of seven, I was as far advanced as more mature students are, after years of study in practice, for all that I had ever practice yet for all that, I had everything to learn,
she wasn't a rest on our laurels kind of doing at all so scared of a there's, a lot of work ethic behind all of the diva behaviour which I have to respect weather. that she did some of the things she did. The bricks have to respect their workers. so that was they merely mobile. The also have some listener mail course I do. These are actually about are correct friends of reserves which were so far to record and research and I've been really delayed, because we have got me raft of listener meal from people that really really enjoyed them and had their own stories really. Why did we ve also got a lot of suggestions for other? zero holiday, The Erasmus time holiday figures. So maybe this will become a tradition. Questioner, that's fine with me cause, there's plenty more to talk about I've just loved and people have sent his pictures of their, let all but fauna, which is that they have, and I think that everybody favorite
heard because she is so charming and they sent his pictures of their crampness staff and talked about their personal experiences. So I have few listener males covering man said I want to give them a little bit a play. Wake said we were away for a long time in getting lots of mail, and I hate knowing that those people are getting a little bit of a light, shone on them. So, first didn't hear from Cynthia who said Thank you for your delightful. Ass many an onerous DR, has passed more light to you two alone, I just listen broadcasting which you mentioned. Father wipers, origin story, salting infuriating, murdered children does any mail, because it reminded me of something I had read about Saint Nicholas, I teach at a catholic school, and I have to confess that I love to read about the lives of the saints, especially if I can get hands on an older compendium of the stories which are usually way creeping around bloodier than the modern war. Sanitize versions, Allah original grim brothers, verses, modern, day versions of fairy tales in one of the
This was the life of Saint Nicholas and I was horribly thrilled to read therein the tale of him stopping for dinner at an inn during a famine in which somehow always had me to offer travellers even during the general lack of food, after eating dinner, Saint Nick discovered that he had been served cured child, and then he resurrected the takes my takeaway, of course, Santa each children this love to watch said the other us really delay for funny. I love it. When we have is from our listener, Neil pennies. Greetings Tracy, Holly, longtime, listener bigtime fan. I just finished listening to your podcast, the campus and friends holiday special part one, and I knew had the right into share my american experience with Crampness and Saint Nicholas most listen. The podcast could safely assume that the episode was all about holiday traditions in european countries and for the most part it is true. However, in small parts of Wisconsin, Saint Nicholas and Crampness are still observed, every December sixth
Green Bay and the surrounding communities have a strong german heritage growing up there. It was not uncommon to hear names like HANS Eric or Gretchen eat speechless. First, cyber of me I loved faithful, adverse or have a last name that ended in a sea each. There were many german holiday traditions that we all enjoyed, and one of those was Saint Nicholas and Crampness. every first week of December, we were reminded by our parents, grandparents and teachers to be on our best behaviour, because Saint Nicholas coming depending What town Urien children would either hang stockings on the fireplace orally their shoes by the front door? On the eve of Saint Nicholas December Fifth, Crampness now actually is something I had never heard of until recently, probably having something to do with the release of this year's crampness movie. Although it's possible that part of this or simply never made it across the pond go on December. Six Saint Nick would have left you candy and small. In your stockings or shoes. If you were good and if bad. He left you cold,
You were really bad. That's in would come to you while you were asleep and drag you off to his lair, pretty terrifying to a child, but that's a german holiday right I never realized. This was a local. How, with a head till, I moved to Milwaukee for college dimension. in dismay: nobody celebrated Nicolaus fast. They didn't even know what I was talking about, feeling homesick in creating an excuse to eat. Chuckling. I decided to share my tradition with my friends in peers. I would, by many you're stockings in bulk and then leave them and people's lockers or desks filled with. Can these I would proudly exclaimed. Nicholas fast down the hall to officially bringing the Christmas season. I now live. Chicago and continue to give little candy stuff stockings to my friends and co workers. Every December sixth a great way to share something about myself as well as get everyone else to share their own holiday memories and traditions. I can't wait children in my own to pass this tradition onto them. Thank you.
Making me audibly squeal with glee during my evening, commute on a public train at the mention of Grandpa's and for making every protests reduce if an enjoyable. I love that I love the idea that, in the the absence of the compass and see lower. He just brought it in himself. That's a biased reaction I can get behind. So I guess he's not stealing bad children. That would then I have one more it's a short one from our listener, Robin in it about Bell. Cynical, says hello. My name is Robin and I'm writing to you from Oklahoma. I was so excited to hear you talk about the bells nickel on your recent podcast about different holiday characters. did. You hear him mentioned, because none of my friends are classmates ever knew what I was talking about when I mentioned him. This was pre the office days, my family as a strong german heritage and his kids, we were always told the bell- cynical watched you, and if you were bad between Christmas and New year's, he would come and see. The toy Santa brought you and drag you up and down the stairs by your toes
strongly suspect. The stair portion was in there because my grandparents had sears in their home and had told the tale to my dad and his brothers and sisters The story was always told, though, with a smile. So we do not take it very seriously. Thank you for adding the bells. go into your list of characters. It was nice to know their others out here who have stories for the same one. I love it Robin thing. Thank you to all of our people that wrote us about all of their they traditions and suggested is Tracy mentioned new characters that we could cover next year and super excited about it. I thought that was really fun episode, yeah It was like a good way to get my holiday spirit without getting just sort of retreading the usual stuff. So it was fun for me yeah we do when we do. Episodes like that kind of, like a collection of things, I worry that people are gonna think, but that it was not as robust as as what we typically do. You. so many people Lubbers. I was so happy about me to you. I was worried as well, so I was great when it turns out. Ok,
like this year. Any of your holiday memories, suggestions for next year's holiday characters podcast, because I'm planning to do next year, I'm compiling a list you can do so in history, podcast at House have worked star com. You can also connected ass if they spoke very calm. Slash missed in history on twitter at missed in haste, at ten restart com, Slash missed in history and missed in history, that tumblr com, or also on Instagram at missed in history. To learn a little bit about what we talked about today, you can once again, as we suggested in our first episode, untamed Nellie Melba go to our parents. House works taken the word opera. This timely article that you are looking for, is that one just about the city wow, since that is closer to home before day, monopolies, life story, and if you like to visit us missed in history that calm, you will find show notes for this and every other episode. The Tracy and I have worked together as well as every episode
contest that has ever happened, including all previous hosts. So there's plenty to enjoying go through if you are into history, which I presume you are, if you ve got Is far in this episode who welcome you to visit us missed in history that guarantee of our parents house them we'll start come on this and thousands of other topics, because it has not worked. Second tier young workers apart
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