She then went to Paris to study with the leading teacher Mathilde Marchesi, who instantly recognised the young singer's potential: she exclaimed, "J'ai enfin une étoile! ("I have a star at last!"). Melba made such rapid progress that she was allowed to sing the "Mad Scene" from Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet at a matinée musicale in Marchesi's house in December the same year, in the presence of the composer.- Nellie Melba
Despite disparaging reviews of the libretto from English-speaking critics at the time and subsequently, the work has remained an occasional part of the operatic repertoire; later singers of Ophelia included Emma Calvé, Emma Albani, Nellie Melba and Mary Garden, and among the Hamlets have been Victor Maurel, Titta Ruffo, Mattia Battistini and more recently Sherrill Milnes, Thomas Allen and Thomas Hampson.- Ambroise Thomas
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Among the pallbearers were Ambroise Thomas, Victorien Sardou and the future French President Raymond Poincaré.
He said that it had never been popular in England except as a vehicle for Adelina Patti and then Nellie Melba, and that in New York it had only featured regularly at the Metropolitan Opera when it was under the control of Maurice Grau in the late 19th-century.