Melba, c. 1907
Thomas by Wilhelm Benque, c. 1895
Melba, drawn by Frank Haviland
Thomas in 1834 by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin
Melba in costume for Lucia di Lammermoor, 1888 (photo by Nadar)
Le caïd, 1849
Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Jean-Baptiste Faure as Hamlet, painted by Manet
Melba as Marguerite in Faust
Thomas, about 1865
Melba in 1904
Statue of Thomas in Paris.
Melba in 1913
Melba with the Metropolitan Opera
Newspaper advertisement
HMV advertisement for Melba recordings (1904)
Statue of Melba at Waterfront City, Melbourne Docklands

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
Melba, c. 1907

1 related topic


Gounod in 1860 soon after his greatest success, Faust

Charles Gounod

French composer.

French composer.

Gounod in 1860 soon after his greatest success, Faust
Gounod aged 22, by Dominique Ingres
Missions étrangères de Paris
Gounod's wife, Anna, by Ingres, 1859
The palace of Méphistophélès, Faust, 1859
Caroline Carvalho as Juliette, 1867
Georgina Weldon in a Victorian advertisement for soap
Cinq-Mars, 1877
Gounod in old age by Nadar, 1890
Gounod in comic vein: the "gurgling" (petits glougloux) couplets from Le Médecin malgré lui (1858)
The finale of the Faust ballet music, composed for large orchestra
The opening of Gounod's Second Symphony: "The introductory Adagio in the key of E flat speaks of Beethoven's Eroica".
"Le Vallon": an early song by Gounod, from c. 1840

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.