RED PLUSH AND BLACK VELVET: The Story of Melba and her Times by Joseph Wechsberg
Kirkus Star

RED PLUSH AND BLACK VELVET: The Story of Melba and her Times

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This biography of Nellie Melba (Helen Porter Mitchell Armstrong) is a record of ""the perfect time for the perfect prima donna"" which has within its compass the whole operatic artistic, social, titled worlds. How Nellie came from Australia to study singing and how she became Melba -- a legend in her own lifetime, is a panorama of the great traditions of the Edwardian era and among her high C's are competitors, conductors, composers and coaches; there is also her long affaire with Philippe, Duc d'Orleans; she is shown as the best known, most applauded and highest paid performer; her voice, style and roles are reviewed; and the whole of her fairy tale life makes present day stars look pallid. With a knowledgeable acquaintance with opera, singers, claques and cliques, Wechsberg is as lavish in his portrait as the times and people of which he writes and the great days and the grand manner come alive. A welcome arrival in the field of music.

Pub Date: Sept. 21st, 1961
Publisher: Little, Brown