DAME NELLIE MELBA'S FIRST CONCERT WAS NOT AT SORRENTO AS CLAIMED BY GRACE E. CALDWELL IN 1921. :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
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DAME NELLIE MELBA'S FIRST CONCERT WAS NOT AT SORRENTO AS CLAIMED BY GRACE E. CALDWELL IN 1921.

Journal by itellya

GRACE E. CALDWELL'S CLAIM

From NELLIE MELBA MUSEUM TIMELINE 1880-1899
1884

January 19
Nellie and baby George left Marian and returned to Melbourne (Thompson/McPherson, Melba Important Dates p3.)

May 17
As Mrs Armstrong, Nellie made her professional debut as a concert artist in the Melbourne Town Hall for the Metropolitan Liedertafel.
(Thompson/McPherson, Melba Important Dates p4.)

1885

January 24
Nellie sang at the Grand Concert held in the Mechanics` Institute, Sorrento to raise funds of the cemetery fence. Raised £20.
(Concert program, Nepean Historical Society)

Hopefully the same mistake will not be made regarding Harmony Lee when she achieves the fame she so richly deserves. It won't have been in the Rosebud over 50's concert on 6-9-2018 or the PENINSULA SHOWCASE at the same venue on 4-10-2018 because I'm sure she has performed several times already in public with the Maroondah Choristers.

When I first read Dame Nellie Melba's biographies, my interest had been prompted by Grace Caldwell's letter, but her father's business interests became my main focus. He was indirectly connected to the renaming of Stephen St. in Melbourne* and partly responsible for the decline in demand for Mornington Peninsula lime.
*Exhibition Street, Melbourne
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Opened 1837
Exhibition Street is a major street in the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. The street is named after the International Exhibition held at the Royal Exhibition Building in 1880, and was previously known as Stephen Street from 1837. The street runs roughly north-south and was laid out as part of the original Hoddle Grid.[1]

Surprisingly DAVID MITCHELL'S BIOGRAPHY
makes only passing reference to his involvement in the Lilydale lime industry*.
*CAVE HILL LIMESTONE QUARRY


Last night, I wondered when exactly Nellie had promoted the concert at Sorrento, because Grace had only specified the date by stating that someone was mine host at a Sorrento hotel. On reading Nellie's biographies again, I was struck by her determination to succeed. One thing she hadn't resorted to was busking!

DETERMINATION PLUS!
Given that probably 90% of the population today has no real interest in opera and that those passing by are focussed on other matters, (looking at market stalls, what they need to buy, talking to companions, dodging toddlers, dogs on leads and mobility scooters, finishing their shopping on time etc.), only a handful of today's passers-by would stop and listen to a young opera singer. When that young singer sounds as good as Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland or Yvonne Kenny, surely a more appreciative audience is deserved. It was in April 2018 that I first heard Harmony Lee at Dromana Hub and was amazed at her talent. Thus the idea of a PENINSULA SHOWCASE was born. Four other sensational young buskers will also perform. Hopefully it will persuade Mornington Peninsula Shire to revive the old-time concerts, building community spirit while providing appreciative audiences for young performers of fine music.

HARMONY'S STORY SO FAR

Surnames: ARMSTRONG LEE MITCHELL
Viewed: 473 times
by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2018-07-31 06:40:18

Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.

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Comments

by itellya on 2018-08-01 23:55:12

IT HAS BEEN STATED THAT IT IS UNCERTAIN WHETHER THE GRAND CONCERT AT SORRENTO ON 24-1-1885 WAS ORGANISED BY NELLIE (MRS GEORGE ARMSTRONG) OR GEORGE COPPIN.
N.B. Links will not work unless they are copied into your search bar.

These two articles are therefore of interest. The second one wrongly states that Nellie was still a schoolgirl in 1885 (at the age of about 23!)
The first is a verbatim interview with Nellie but I'm sure she didn't state that Sorrento was in Canada or that she was about 16 in 1885!
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/60285501
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/795870

HOWEVER, the Melba story has been examined in detail and there is evidence that George Coppin organised the concert and that it may have been on the 21st rather than the 24th of January 1885 (but it is likely that part of the 4 was faint and assumed to be a 1.) This book, found with a MELBA, SORRENTO google search, reveals that Nellie was a naughty little girl!
Melba: The Voice of Australia - Page 19 - Google Books Result
https://books.google.com.au/books?isbn=1349086703

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