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Nellie Melba, in costume for "Lucia di Lammermoor", posed to sign the marriage certificate, ca. 1888 / photographer Felix Nadar, rue d'Anjou, St. Honore, 51, Paris

Nellie Melba, in costume for "Lucia di Lammermoor", posed to sign the marriage certificate, ca. 1888 / photographer Felix Nadar, rue d'Anjou, St. Honore, 51, Paris

 
 
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The pre-legendary Melba at the start of her career. Photographs of the young singer are rarer than when she had become world famous. Belying the myth, she was an attractive young woman and her costume, usually supplied by the singer, is well made. Her teacher, Madame Marchesi, taught her that she must look the part onstage and off, always. For the rest of her life she dressed almost exclusively in Worth couture, even in the rough and ready backstage of Covent Garden or the Australian bush...Format: Photograph..Condition: Top edge of the cabinet cropped prior to Library acquisition. .Notes: Find more detailed information about this photograph: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=441638 ( http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/item/itemDetailPaged.aspx?itemID=441638 ) ..Search for more great images in the State Library's collections: acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/search/SimpleSearch.aspx ( http://acms.sl.nsw.gov.au/search/SimpleSearch.aspx ) . .From the collection of the State Library of New South Wales www.sl.nsw.gov.au ( http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au )

The State Library of New South Wales' major subject strengths are Australian history, culture and literature, including Aboriginal studies, Antarctic exploration, family history and genealogy, business and management, social sciences, applied science, biography, health and law. The State Library is home to one of Australia’s most significant historical and heritage collections. As well as nearly 11 kilometres of manuscripts – from nine 1788 First Fleet journals through to the archives of contemporary organisations and writers – the Library holds more than one million photographs. From the earliest surviving photograph taken in Australia – in January 1845 – through to digital photographs taken last month, the Library’s unrivalled photographic collections document with powerful clarity the way Australians have lived their lives over two centuries. You can find out more about the State Library's photographic collections on our website: www.sl.nsw.gov.au/about/collections/photographs.html More broadly the Library’s collecting reach spans a multitude of platforms: the Library’s mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible the documentary heritage of New South Wales. It holds over 5 million items including books, oil paintings, watercolours, architectural plans, engravings & lithographs, magazines and periodicals, posters, ephemera, sheet music, talking books, maps, CD-ROMs, newspapers, microfilm and microfiche, films and videos, computer software, kits, sound recordings, photographs, coins, postage stamps and other objects.

The legendary Nadar had many faces: journalist, bohemian, left-wing agitator, playwright, caricaturist, and aeronaut. Gaspard-Félix Tournachon was born in April 1820 in Paris. His father was a printer and bookseller. Nadar began to work as a caricaturist and novelist and became a member of a Parisian Boheme. His friends picked a nickname for him: Tournadar, which later became Nadar. Early in 1854, a banker friend proposed Nadar to engage in a portrait photography business. The new collodion-on-glass negatives produced portraits as sharp as daguerreotypes, but more easily and in multiple copies. In 1854 he opened a photographic studio at 113 rue St. Lazare. Portrait photography was going through a period of rapid change, and Nadar preferred natural daylight. In 1886 he did what may be the first photo-report. Nadar’s atelier attracted the bourgeois clientele of the boulevard. In 1858, he became the first person to take aerial photographs. He was thus the first person to photograph from the air with his balloons, as well as the first to photograph underground, in the Catacombs of Paris. In 1867, he published the first magazine to focus on air travel: L'Aéronaute. In 1863, Nadar commissioned the prominent balloonist Eugène Godard to construct an enormous balloon, 60 metres (196 ft) high and with a capacity of 6,000 m3 (210,000 cu ft), and named Le Géant (The Giant) that later inspired Jules Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon. Nadar was also the inspiration for the character of Michael Ardan in Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. In 1862, Jules Verne and Nadar established a Société pour la recherche de la navigation aérienne, which later became La Société d'encouragement de la locomotion aérienne au moyen du plus lourd que l'air (The Society for the Encouragement of Aerial Locomotion by Means of Heavier than Air Machines). He photographed underground with artificial light, encouraged the development of aerial navigation, and flew the biggest balloon ever built, the Géant. Nadar died in 1910, aged 89. He was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

The Metropolitan Opera was founded in 1883, with its first opera house built on Broadway and 39th Street by a group of wealthy businessmen who wanted their own theater. In the company’s early years, the management changed course several times, first performing everything in Italian (even Carmen and Lohengrin), then everything in German (even Aida and Faust), before finally settling into a policy of performing most works in their original language, with some notable exceptions. The Metropolitan Opera has always engaged many of the world’s most important artists: Christine Nilsson, Marcella Sembrich, Lilli Lehmann, Nellie Melba, Emma Calvé, De Reszke brothers, Jean and Edouard, Emma Eames, Lillian Nordica, Enrico Caruso, Geraldine Farrar, Rosa Ponselle, Lawrence Tibbett and more. Some of the great conductors have helped shape the Met: Anton Seidl, Arturo Toscanini, Gustav Mahler, Artur Bodanzky, Bruno Walter, George Szell, Fritz Reiner, and Dimitri Mitropoulos.

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Date

1888
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State Library of New South Wales
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Public Domain