Top 10 Aussie Sopranos

By Roger Neil Someone started a thread on the unofficial BBC Radio 3 message boards asking for nominations for the top ten sopranos. It seemed to me that the emerging lists were filled with the usual suspects, and since I’m currently in the process (with Tony Locantro) of finishing up a 4 x CD setContinue reading “Top 10 Aussie Sopranos”

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Gaisberg’s Travels #2

“8-8-1898” The young Fred Gaisberg arrived in Liverpool and made his way to London to set up his studio. Despite the long journey and unfamiliar country Gaisberg was in high spirits and recalls “Arriving in London at the tail end of a strawberry glut of which I took the fullest advantage.” – Fred Gaisberg BeforeContinue reading “Gaisberg’s Travels #2”

Florrie Forde’s lost Blue Plaque

By Roger Neil In 2006 I proposed to English Heritage that they put up one of their Blue Plaques in London to the music hall legend, Florrie Forde. They were enthused and started the apparently long and arduous task of researching her life and work and homes. Florrie was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1876Continue reading “Florrie Forde’s lost Blue Plaque”

The bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882–1961)

  By Tony Locantro Courtesy of  © EMI Group Archive Trust The bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882–1961) came to the UK from his native Australia to study singing in 1903. His lessons with Sir Charles Santley stood him in good stead for a career that lasted almost 60 years and encompassed every kind of music, from the oratorios ofContinue reading “The bass-baritone Peter Dawson (1882–1961)”

Publicity photos of the early Gramophone stars #3: Florence Austral, Warrior Queen and proud Australian

This is the third in a series of publicity shots from the early years of the recording business that our friends at the EMI Archive Trust have made available to us. This photo is of Florence Austral who was an Australian soprano who lived between 1892 and 1968. She changed from her original name ofContinue reading “Publicity photos of the early Gramophone stars #3: Florence Austral, Warrior Queen and proud Australian”

Peachy. Dame Nellie Melba was born 150 years ago today.

Today marks the 150th birthday of Helen Porter Mitchell. She was born in Melbourne, Australia, on May 19th 1861 and was destined to become the leading opera singer in the world during the “Golden Age of Opera”. She also became a household name – Dame Nellie Melba. There were a number of special qualities thatContinue reading “Peachy. Dame Nellie Melba was born 150 years ago today.”

How to make a hit record in 1979

I found this piece of film on youtube. Its a wonderful period piece shot in Australia that shows how EMI Australia recorded, manufactured and released a record in those days when vinyl ruled the world. I think that recording was made in EMI’s Studios 301 that is now part of Tom Meisner’s SAE empire. CanContinue reading “How to make a hit record in 1979”