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Nellie Melba

  • One of the drawbacks of Fame is that one can never escape from it.

  • If you wish to understand me at all (and to write an autobiography is only to open a window into one's heart) you must understand first and foremost, that I am an Australian.

  • 'I am Melba. I shall sing when and where I like and I shall sing in my own way.' It may sound arrogant, but arrogance of that sort is not a bad way to get things done.

  • The first rule in opera is the first rule of life ... see to everything yourself.

  • Art is not national. It is international. Music is not written in red, white and blue; it is written with the heart's blood of the composer ...

  • The eternal task of song can never be finished in a single lifetime. That is the beauty and fascination of the art. Once you begin to phrase finely, you will feel more joy in the beautiful finish of a beautiful phrase than that caused by the loudest applause of an immense audience. The latter excites for a moment; the former endures forever.

    • Nellie Melba,
    • 1922, in Kathleen Kimball, Robin Petersen, Kathleen Johnson, eds., The Music Lover's Quotation Book ()

Nellie Melba, Australian soprano

(1861 - 1931)

Real name: Helen Porter Mitchell Armstrong. Known as Dame Nellie Melba.