The tumultuous life of internationally renowned opera singer, and one of the first global celebrities, Dame Nellie Melba.
'In this highly readable biography of Nellie Melba...Robert Wainwright tells the story of the girl with the incredible voice who, by sheer force of her personality and power of her decibels, took the operatic world by storm and managed to escape from her violent husband' Ysenda Maxtone Graham, DAILY MAIL
Nellie Melba is remembered as a squarish, late middle-aged woman dressed in furs and large hats, an imperious Dame whose voice ruled the world for three decades and inspired a peach and raspberry dessert. But to succeed, she had to battle social expectations and misogyny that would have preferred she stay a housewife in outback Queensland rather than parade herself on stage. She endured the violence of a bad marriage, was denied by scandal a true love with the would-be King of France, and suffered for more than a decade the loss of her only son - stolen by his angry, vengeful father.
Despite these obstacles, she built and maintained a career as an opera singer and businesswoman on three continents which made her one of the first international superstars. Award-winning biographer Robert Wainwright presents a very different portrait of this great diva, one that celebrates both her musical contributions and her rich and colourful personal life.
In this highly readable biography of Nellie Melba...Robert Wainwright tells the story of the girl with the incredible voice who, by sheer force of her personality and power of her decibels, took the operatic world by storm and managed to escape from her violent husband -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham * Daily Mail *
Jolly gossipy reading, easily digested * The Telegraph *
Wainwright's delightfully revisionist biography of Dame Nellie Melba rescues her from fusty Victorianisms to analyse her struggles and resilience to overcome misogyny and social expectation in becoming one of history's greatest opera singers. * Waterstones.com *
[A] rounded portrait...the Melba that emerges is not only a prodigious talent but a trailblazing, fiercely independent and determined woman. * Sydney Morning Herald *
Most people know the outlines of the career of the legendary nineteenth-century diva Nellie Melba, but this biography offers new insights. What Melba went through to become the toast of the musical world is almost unbelievable to our twenty-first century eyes and how she handled it makes for remarkable
Wainwright has a reporter's eye for the telling detail, and an ear for good copy...a racy tale, and briskly told. * The Australian, on NELLIE *
A gem of a biography. * The Lady, on ENID *
My jaw kept dropping as I devoured Robert Wainwright's wonderfully racy biography, full of comedy and tragedy and populated by some of the most dissolute and eccentric aristocrats of the 20th century. -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham * Daily Mail, on ENID *
Enid's story is dazzling and uplifting, and she certainly lived up to her code: "Never be afraid, never be jealous, and never complain when you are ill." -- Christopher Silvester * Spears, on ENID *
As social history Sheila Chisholm's life is fascinating... it's undeniably enjoyable to read of all that glitter and gold. -- Selina Hastings * Spectator, on SHEILA *
Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 26mm