"Why should I not sing for a thousand years?" said Dame Nellie Melba, whom Massenet once called "the Stradivarius of the human voice".
Nellie Melba was the most famous Australian of her time, a reigning diva in London, New York, Chicago and Europe for over forty years. Her name is synonymous with music performance of unrivalled excellence. Melba's voice lives on in the spirit of the recording industry. It was the art of Melba and Enrico Caruso that created that classical record industry. Coming to sing for the microphone in the earliest days of a new and much mistrusted invention they turned the gramophone record into a serious and universal medium for carrying great music around the world.
Today Melba Recordings is a label for voices—and a label for talent and individuality in a world where the homogeneous and the mass-produced can become commonplace.
An age of instant digital communication sets new challenges for, and demands new standards from, the record industry. As long as music—the most universal and all-embracing of the arts—goes on being performed, as long as artists devote their lives to its service, there is a need for great recordings which chronicle and promote their achievements.In this spirit the Melba Foundation was established, with founding benefactor Dame Elisabeth Murdoch and Founding Patrons Dame Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge and Barry Humphries. The role of the Foundation is to help the Nellie Melbas and the Joan Sutherlands of today to develop a profile and continue building their careers on the international music platform. The Melba Foundation, and Melba Recordings, live by Dame Nellie's credo: "If I'd have been a housemaid, I would have been the best in Australia—I couldn't help it. It's got to be perfection for me".
The label Melba Recordings is based in Melbourne, Australia. It was established in 2000 by Maria Vandamme to create an Australian presence on the world stage via classical recordings of international stature. Melba Recordings is driven by imagination, innovation and a commitment to upholding its namesake Dame Nellie Melba’s conviction about making music: “It’s got to be perfection!”
The Melba Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation, was established in 2001, specifically to promote Australia's finest classical musicians and artists in the international and national markets. In 2004 and 2009 the Federal Government announced unprecedented funding, entrusting grants of $7.2 million to the Foundation for the production of high-quality music recordings to showcase Australian artists. It’s support from patrons, benefactors and sponsors allows the label to undertake adventurous and exciting projects otherwise not possible.
The Melba Foundation’s program includes the production, distribution and marketing of high quality CDs, SACDs and digital downloads with Australia's most distinguished musicians and emerging artists, including repertoire never previously recorded. Melba Recordings has established vital links with international artists, organisations and venues giving it an international profile second to none among Australian cultural bodies.
The Melba Foundation is taking Australian music culture to the world, creating a legacy for future Australians in recordings designed to stand the test of time. The beneficiaries of this initiative are Australia's musicians, artists, orchestras and performing arts organisations.
"Great recordings are forever. They make musicians immortal"
Maria Vandamme, CEO, Melba Recordings