1 page of a bifolium, ca. 150 x 113 mm. Dated [San Francisco,] April 23, 98. In black ink on personalized blue letterhead with Melba's gold and silver monogram embossed at head: "Souvenir of my first appearance in San Francisco." With autograph envelope postmarked San Francisco, April 23, 98.
Together with a head-and-shoulders postcard photograph and a partial ticket stub from the California Theatre, ca. 35 x 38, dated [?San Francisco?] April 23 [?1898].
Letter slightly worn; creased at folds; envelope slightly lacking at head, not affecting autograph address, remnants of former mount to verso. Photograph slightly worn; ticket slightly worn and creased, remnants of adhesive to verso.
Australian soprano Nellie Melba "made her operatic début on 13 October 1887 at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels, as Gilda; in the following year she appeared at Covent Garden as Lucia and at the Paris Opéra as Ophelia. Her rare beauty of tone and finish of technique created an instant stir, and these virtues soon began to be matched by equivalent qualities of taste and musicianship... Melba’s Lucia in 1893 began an association with the Metropolitan Opera that lasted irregularly until 1910; she also sang for Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera Company and in Chicago, and organized occasional operatic seasons in Australia... Her name became commercially valuable, and both peach melba and melba toast were named after her. She was created DBE in 1918 and after her retirement from the stage became president of the Melba Memorial Conservatorium in Melbourne." Desmond Shawe-Taylor in Grove Music Online.
In April 1898, Melba sang Rosina in a San Francisco production of Rossini's Barber of Seville. Undoubtedly rankled by Spain's imminent invasion of Cuba, the audience responded coldly to the Spanish setting of the opera. To stir patriotic sentiment, Melba sang Stephen Foster's Old Folks at Home and the Star Spangled Banner during Rosina's Act 2 singing lesson. According to a local reporter, the audience reportedly "rose in their seats and cheered themselves hoarse." The present note and ticket stub quite possibly commemorate this very concert. In fact, Spain declared war on the United States on April 23, 1898, the same day the note was written; on April 25, the U.S. Congress reciprocated. Item #24309
Price: $450.00 other currencies