From Melba to Sutherland: Australian Singers on Record
Various Artists
Catalogue No.

‘From Melba to Sutherland: Australian Singers on Record’ is the first-ever comprehensive survey of the recordings of Australia’s greatest singers – in a unique, new, 4CD set from Decca, complete with biographies of each of the 80 artists, rare photographs, all contained within a 68-page booklet.

Why has there been such an extraordinary procession of world-class Australian singers over such an extended period of time? The question is often asked but there are no easy answers. For Australia to have produced Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Joan Sutherland, two of the most famous singers of the twentieth century, is in itself something like a miracle. But there are so many more – some 80 wonderful singers in total.

The compilation has been meticulously researched by music historian, Roger Neill and recording industry expert, Tony Locantro. It covers a wide range of musical genres, from opera to music hall and from art song to variety. Co-producer, Roger Neill, has said: ‘Thirteen years in the making, ‘From Melba to Sutherland’ is truly a once-in-a-lifetime project – thefirst-ever comprehensive survey of recordings by Australia’s greatest singers.’

Included with the issue is a detailed booklet covering all of the recordings with brief biographies and rare photographs of the singers and an overview of their teachers. Each of the recordings has been expertly remastered from best-available original sources.

Aside from Melba and Sutherland, other world-famous Australians included are: Peter Dawson, a baritone who concentrated his career on the newly-emerged recording medium, selling some thirteen million records in the fifty years from 1904; Florence Austral, an outstanding Wagnerian soprano; June Bronhill, who followed Joan Sutherland as Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden but who chose to make her career in operetta and musical comedy with spectacular success; Malcolm McEachern, the bass-half of the best-selling Flotsam and Jetsam duo who was equally accomplished in classical repertoire; Dame Joan Hammond, whose ‘Oh my beloved father’ from Puccini’s ‘Gianni Schicchi’ was one of the best-selling classical discs of all time; Florrie Forde, one of the greatest music hall artists whose hit songs included ‘Down at the Old Bull and Bush’, ‘Tipperary’ and ‘Pack up your Troubles’; and Richard Watson, the Adelaide-born bass who was a long-time principal with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company,  singing the comic bass-baritone roles of the Savoy Operas.

Alongside these greats, several outstanding Australian singers have been re-discovered, their lives and recordings researched afresh. Many of them had become just names, nothing more. They include: Syria Lamonte, the first woman singer to be recorded professionally in Britain in 1898; Frances Saville, a leading soprano in Mahler’s famous company in Vienna who re-introduced several of the great Mozartian roles to the repertoire; Andrew Black, the only top-flight singer of Melba’s generation who moved from Britain to Australia; Violet Mount, who unable to break into the opera houses of Europe, made an outstanding career on the music halls singing operatic arias as the masked ‘L’Incognita’; Lorna Sydney, who went to further her career in Vienna but was interned as an alien during World War II. She became a leading member of the Vienna State Opera at the cessation of hostilities.


CD 1
NELLIE MELBA soprano 1861–1931
CHARLES GOUNOD: Ah! Je ris (Jewel Song) (Faust)
Landon Ronald, piano
Recorded: 4 September 1905

BEMBERG: Nymphs et sylvains
Landon Ronald, piano
Recorded: March 1904

BROWNING MUMMERY tenor 1888–1974
JOHN BROWNLEE baritone 1900–1969
GIACOMO PUCCINI: Addio, dolce svegliare (Quartet) (La bohème)
with Aurora Rettore, soprano
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Vincenzo Bellezza
Recorded live: 8 June 1926

FRANCES SAVILLE soprano 1862–1935
JULES MASSENET: Obéissons, quand leur voix appelle (Gavotte) (Manon)
with piano
Recorded: Vienna, 1902–3

ADA CROSSLEY contralto 1871–1929
MALLINSON: New Year Song
Christopher H. H. Booth
, piano
Recorded: Philadelphia, PA, 30 April 1903

FRANCES ALDA soprano 1879–1952
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Miserere (Il trovatore) with Enrico Caruso, tenor
with orchestra
Recorded: Camden, New Jersey, 27 December 1909

GIACOMO PUCCINI: In quelle trine morbide (Manon Lescaut)
Rosario Bourdon
Recorded: Liederkranz Hall, New York, 26 June 1928

AMY CASTLES soprano 1880–1951
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Caro nome (Rigoletto)
with piano
Recorded: London, 16 September 1906

IRENE AINSLEY contralto 1883–1968
METCALF: Absent with piano
Recorded: London, 1907

EVELYN SCOTNEY soprano 1887–1967
DANIEL AUBER: C’est l’histoire amoureuse (Manon Lescaut)
Eugene Goossens
Recorded: 20 January 1925

STELLA POWER soprano 1896–1977
GAETANO DONIZETTI: Regnava nel silenzio (Lucia di Lammermoor)
Frank St. Leger
Recorded: 23 December 1919

MARIE NARELLE soprano 1870–1941
with orchestra
Recorded: New York, 1910

LALLA MIRANDA soprano 1871–1940
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Follie! Follie! … Sempre libera (La traviata) (sung in French)
with orchestra
Recorded: France c.1904

ROSINA BUCKMAN soprano 1881–1848
GIACOMO PUCCINI: One fine day (Un bel dì vedremo) (Madama Butterfly)
Royal Albert Hall Orchestra
Eugene Goossens
Recorded: London, 4 April 1924

GERTRUDE JOHNSON soprano 1894–1973
Cyril Scott, piano
Recorded: London, 1929

ELLA CASPERS contralto 1887–1971
MOLLOY: Darby and Joan
with piano
Recorded: London, 1913

DOROTHY HELMRICH mezzo-soprano 1889–1984
ROBERT SCHUMANN: Thou art so like a flower (Du bist wie eine Blume) (Myrthen)
Hubert Foss, piano
Recorded: 8 November 1933

EILEEN BOYD contralto 1890–1975
BRAHE: I passed by your window
with piano
Recorded: Sydney, 9 February 1927

CLARA SERENA contralto 1890–1972
CAMILLES SAINT-SAENS: Tonight … O love, from thy power (Samson … Amour, viens aider) (Samson et Dalila)
Stanford Robinson
Recorded: 25 February 1929

ESSIE ACKLAND contralto 1896–1975
BRAHE: Bless this house
Herbert Dawson
, Kingsway Hall organ
Recorded: Kingsway Hall, London, 10 March 1933 · HMV B 4439

ALFRED HILL tenor 1869–1960
Mirrie Hill, piano
Recorded: 9 July 1926 · Matrix Bb 8717–I · HMV test recording S/S 6-2688 unpublished

WALTER KIRBY tenor 1877–1934
KNEASS: Ben Bolt (Trilby’s Song)
with piano
Recorded: Sydney, 20 January 1927

BROWNING MUMMERY tenor 1888–1974
RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO: No! Punchinello, no more (No! Pagliaccio non son) (Pagliacci)
John Barbirolli
Recorded: London, 17 July 1929

ALFRED O’SHEA tenor 1889–1954
MACMORROUGH: Macushla with orchestra
Recorded: Sydney, May 1928

LIONELLO CECIL tenor 1893–1957
GIACOMO PUCCINI: Amore o grillo (Madama Butterfly)
with Vittorio Weinberg, baritone
Orchestra of La Scala, Milan
Carlo Sabajno

Recorded: Milan, 25 October 1929 · HMV C 1951

HORACE STEVENS bass-baritone 1876–1950
EDWARD ELGAR: Jesu! by that shuddering dread (The Dream of Gerontius)
London Symphony Orchestra
Edward Elgar
Recorded live: Hereford Cathedral, 6 September 1927

CD 2
ANDREW BLACK baritone 1859–1920
ATHUR SULLIVAN: Time was when love and I (Curate’s Song) (The Sorcerer)
with piano
Recorded: London, November 1905 · G&T 3–2327

PETER DAWSON bass-baritone 1882–1962
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL: Honour and Arms (Samson)
George Byng
Recorded: London, 1 November 1927 · HMV C 1500

JAMES: Six Australian Bush Songs:
No. 1 The Land of Who Knows Where
No. 2 Bush Silence
No. 4 Comrades of Mine
No. 5 Bush Night Song
No. 6 The Stockrider’s Song
Gerald Moore, piano
Recorded: London, 12 October 1927

Gerald Moore, piano
Recorded: London, 14 January 1927

MALCOLM McEACHERN bass 1883–1945
GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL: O ruddier than the cherry (Acis and Galatea)
Clarence Raybould
Recorded: London, 21 June 1935

HAROLD WILLIAMS baritone 1893–1976
COWAN: Onaway, awake beloved
Clarence Raybould
Recorded: London, 11 December 1931

VILLAUME: Old John Bax
Maynard Wilkinson, piano
Recorded: Sydney, March 1955, unpublished

JOHN BROWNLEE baritone 1900–1969
WOLGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Deh vieni alla finestra (Serenade) (Don Giovanni)
Glyndebourne Festival Orchestra
Fritz Busch
Recorded: Glyndebourne Opera House, 5 July 1936

RICHARD WATSON bass 1903–1968
ARTHUR SULLIVAN: When a felon’s not engaged in his employment (Policeman’s Song) (The Pirates of Penzance)
D’Oyly Carte Opera Chorus
New Promenade Orchestra
Isadore Godfrey
Recorded: London, 29 July 1949

LEMPRIÈRE PRINGLE bass 1868–1914
RICHARD WAGNER: The King’s Prayer (Lohengrin) (sung in English)
with orchestra
Recorded: London, c.1910

ELSA STRALIA soprano 1881–1945
RICHARD WAGNER: Elisabeth’s Greeting (Tannhäuser) (sung in English)
Hamilton Harty
Recorded: 5 May 1920

FLORENCE AUSTRAL soprano 1892– 1968
RICHARD WAGNER: Ho-jo-to-ho (Brünnhilde’s Battlecry) (Die Walküre)
Spencer Clay
Recorded: Hayes, 7 September 1922

FREDERICK COLLIER bass 1885–1964
RICHARD WAGNER: Welches Unholds List (Götterdämmerung)
London Symphony Orchestra
Albert Coates
Recorded: Kingsway Hall, London, 18 October 1928

MARGHERITA GRANDI soprano 1894–1972
GIUSEPPE VERDI: La luce langue (Macbeth)
Scottish Orchestra
Berthold Goldschmidt
Recorded live: King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, 27 August 1947

MARJORIE LAWRENCE soprano 1907–1979
RICHARD WAGNER: Starke Scheite (Brünnhilde’s Immolation) (Götterdämmerung) opening (sung in French)
Orchestre de l’Association des Concerts Pasdeloup
Piero Coppola
Recorded: Paris, 23 October 1933

SERGEI RACHMANINOV: Floods of Spring, Op. 14 No. 11
Ivor Newton, piano
Recorded: London, 2 July 1946

SYLVIA FISHER soprano 1910–1996
BENJAMIN BRITTEN: Is this all you can bring? (Albert Herring)
with Johanna Peters, contralto
English Chamber Orchestra
Benjamin Britten
Recorded: Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh, 1–8 April 1964

SYRIA LAMONTE soprano 1869–1935
TRAD: Comin’ thro’ the rye
with piano
Recorded: 31 Maiden Lane, London, 2 September 1898

HAMILTON HILL baritone 1868–1910
ALFRED HILL: The Boys’ Brigade
with military band
Recorded: 24 August 1906

VIOLET MOUNT (L’INCOGNITA) soprano 1875–1972
HENRY BISHOP: Lo! Here the gentle lark
John Amadio, flute
George W. Byng
Recorded: London, 23 September 1921

ALBERT WHELAN music hall singer and whistler 1875‒1961
THURBAN: The Whistling Bowery Boy
with orchestra
Recorded: London, 7 November 1905

FLORRIE FORDE contralto 1876–1940
MURPHY & LIPTON: Oh! Oh! Antonio
with orchestra
Recorded: London, 22 September 1908

BILLY WILLIAMS comedian 1878–1915
WESTON & BARNES: When father papered the parlour
with orchestra
Recorded: London, 18 February 1910

CD 3
GLADYS MONCRIEFF soprano 1892–1976
HAROLD FRASER-SIMSON: Love will find a way (The Maid of the Mountains)
Columbia Concert Orchestra
Gilbert Dechelette
Recorded: Sydney, 12 December 1928

ROBERT CHISHOLM baritone 1894–1960
TATE: A Paradise for Two (The Maid of the Mountains)
with orchestra
Recorded: London, June 1926

STRELLA WILSON soprano 1894–1989
RUDOLP FRIML: Some Day (The Vagabond King)
with chorus & orchestra of radio program ‘Show of Shows’
Recorded: Sydney, 26 September 1941

CLEMENT Q. WILLIAMS baritone 1898–1957
O’HAGAN: Let’s take a trip to Melbourne
with orchestra
Recorded: Sydney, 19 October 1934

MALCOLM McEACHERN bass 1883–1945
HILLIAM & McEACHERN: Is ’e an Aussie, Lizzie, is ’e?
Flotsam and Jetsam (with B. C. Hilliam, tenor & piano)
Recorded: London, 20 October 1939

ROSINA RAISBECK mezzo-soprano 1916–2006
RICHARD RODGERS: Climb Every Mountain (The Sound of Music)
Orchestra of the Princess Theatre, Melbourne
Eric Clapham
Recorded: Princess Theatre, Melbourne, 1961

JUNE BRONHILL soprano 1929–2005
RICHARD RODGERS: The Sound of Music (The Sound of Music)
Orchestra of the Princess Theatre, Melbourne
Eric Clapham
Recorded: Princess Theatre, Melbourne, 1961 · OCSD 7580
P 1961 EMI Australia Ltd

JOAN HAMMOND soprano 1912–1996
GIACOMO PUCCINI: O my beloved father (O mio babbino caro) (Gianni Schicchi)
Hallé Orchestra
Leslie Heward
Recorded: Belle Vue, Manchester, 29 September 1941

GUSTAVE CHARPENTIER: Depuis le jour (Louise)
Hallé Orchestra
Warwick Braithwaite
Recorded: Houldsworth Hall, Manchester, 28 September 1942

GLENDA RAYMOND soprano 1922–2003
AMBROISE THOMAS: I am Titania (Je suis Titania) (Mignon)
Australian Symphony Orchestra
Hector Crawford
Recorded: 1947–53

ELSIE MORISON soprano 1924–2016
JOHN CAMERON baritone 1918–2002
HECTOR BERLIOZ: O mon cher fils (L’Enfance du Christ)
St. Anthony Singers
Goldsbrough Orchestra
Colin Davis
Recorded: Battersea Town Hall, London, October 1960

ANGELINA ARENA soprano born 1926
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Saper vorreste (Un ballo in maschera)
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Wilfred Lehmann
Recorded: 1974

MARIE COLLIER soprano 1927–1971
RICHARD STRAUSS: Ich kann nicht sitzen (Elektra)
with Birgit Nilsson, soprano
Wiener Philharmoniker
Georg Solti
Recorded: Sofiensaal, Vienna, 14 June, 30 November 1966, 22 February & 14–15 June 1967

NANCE GRANT soprano born 1931
RICHARD WAGNER: Du bist der Lenz (Die Walküre)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Leif Segerstam
Recorded: Melbourne Town Hall, September 1979

RITA HUNTER soprano 1933–2001
AMILCARE PONCHIELLI: Suicidio! (La Gioconda)
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Dobbs Franks
Recorded: Government House, Hobart, August 1989

LORNA SYDNEY mezzo-soprano 1910–1974
GUSTAV MAHLER: Urlicht (Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’)
Wiener Staatsopernorchester
Felix Prohaska
Recorded: Vienna, 1951

YVONNE MINTON mezzo-soprano born 1938
GUSTAV MAHLER: Rheinlegendchen (Des Knaben Wunderhorn)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Georg Solti
Recorded: Medinah Temple, Chicago, 1 & 7 April 1970

MAX WORTHLEY tenor 1913–1999
HENRY PURCELL: All our days and our nights (The Masque in Dioclesian)
Choir & Orchestra of the Concentus Musicus, Wien
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Recorded: Palais Schönburg, Vienna, 1965

DONALD SMITH tenor 1922–1998
GIUSEPPE VERDI: O figli miei! … Ah, la paterna mano (Macbeth, Act IV)
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Vanco Cavdarski
Recorded: ABC Studios, Hobart, 1973

HAROLD BLAIR tenor 1924–1976
TRAD. ABORIGINAL ARR.: Loam: Maranoa Lullaby
with piano accompaniment
Recorded: 1950 · Private recording

JOHN CAMERON baritone 1918–2002
EDWARD GERMAN: The Yeomen of England (Merrie England)
New Symphony Orchestra & Chorus
Victor Olof
Recorded: Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, 9–11 March 1953

CD 4
RONALD DOWD tenor 1914–1990
HECTOR BERLIOZ: Sanctus (Grand Messe des Morts, Op. 5)
Wandsworth School Boys’ Choir
London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra
Colin Davis
Recorded: Westminster Cathedral, London, November 1969

KENNETH NEATE tenor 1914–1997
GIACOMO PUCCINI: Nessun dorma (Turandot)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Paris
Napoleone Annovazzi
Recorded: Salle Wagram, Paris, 1956

RAYMOND NILSSON tenor 1920–1998
JOHN LANIGAN tenor 1921–1996
BENJAMIN BRITTEN: People! … No! I will speak! (Peter Grimes)
with James Pease, baritone
Jean Watson, contralto
Claire Watson, soprano
Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House
Benjamin Britten
Recorded: Walthamstow Assembly Hall, December 1958

GLENDA RAYMOND soprano 1922–2003
GIACOMO PUCCINI: Lovely maid in the moonlight (O soave fanciulla) (La Bohème)
Australian Symphony Orchestra
Hector Crawford
Recorded: 1947–1953

ALBERT LANCE tenor 1925–2013
GEORGES BIZET: La fleur que tu m’avais jetée (Carmen)
Orchestre du Théâtre National de l’Opéra de Paris
Roberto Benzi
Recorded: Paris, June 1960

JOHN SHAW baritone 1924–2003
GAETANO DONIZETTI: Cruda, funesta smania … La pietada in suo favore (Lucia di Lammermoor)
with Robert Bowman, tenor
Joseph Rouleau, bass
Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House
Tullio Serafin
Recorded: London, 1959

ROBERT ALLMAN bass-baritone 1927–2013
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Una fatale del mio destino (La forza del destino)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Eric Clapham
Recorded: ABC Music Studios, Sydney, 1978

CLIFFORD GRANT bass born 1930
JULES MASSENET: De l’autel vénéré … O divine Esclarmonde! (Esclarmonde)
John Alldis Choir
National Philharmonic Orchestra
Richard Bonynge
Recorded: Kingsway Hall, London, 2–5 & 9–15 July 1975

GEOFFREY CHARD baritone born 1930
HEATHER BEGG mezzo-soprano 1929–2009
MEALE: I am behind you, Voss … Nothing could be safer or more solid (Voss)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stuart Challender
Recorded: Sydney, 1987

ROBERT GARD tenor born 1927
MEALE: I am looking at the map of my hand (Voss)
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Stuart Challender
Recorded: Sydney, 1987

NEIL WARREN-SMITH bass-baritone 1930–1981
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Vieni o levita … Tu sul labbro (Nabucco)
Ensemble of cellos led by Gregory Elmaloglou
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Eric Clapham
Recorded: ABC Music Studios, Sydney, 1978

LAURIS ELMS mezzo-soprano born 1931
CARL HEINRICH GRAUN: Se il dovere in quest’addio (Montezuma)
Geoffrey Parsons & Valda Aveling, harpsichords
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Richard Bonynge
Recorded: Kingsway Hall, London, 21–30 March, 1 April & 2 September 1966

MARGRETA ELKINS mezzo-soprano 1930–2009
EDWARD ELGAR: In Haven (Capri) (Sea Pictures, Op. 37)
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Werner Andreas Albert
Recorded: ABC Studios, Brisbane, August 1983

JOAN SUTHERLAND soprano 1926–2010
GIOACHINO ROSSINI: La fioraia fiorentina
Richard Bonynge, piano
Recorded: London, 20 June 1958

GAETANO DONIZETTI: Ah! tardai troppo … O luce di quest’anima (Linda di Chamounix)
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
Nello Santi
Recorded: La Maison de la Chimie, Paris, 28–30 April 1959

CHARLES GOUNO: Oh Dieu! Que de bijoux … Ah! Je ris (Jewel Song) (Faust)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
Recorded: Kingsway Hall, London, 12 July & 15–18 August, 1960

JOAN CARDEN soprano born 1937
ALFREDO CATALANI: Ebben? … Ne andrò lontana (La Wally)
Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra
Roderick Brydon
Recorded: Brisbane, 29 January 1996

YVONNE KENNY soprano born 1950
IVAN NOVELLO: We’ll gather lilacs (Perchance to Dream)
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Kamirski
Recorded: Melbourne, 1993 · ABC Classics 442 509-2
P 1994 Australian Broadcasting Corporation

DEBORAH RIEDEL soprano 1958–2009
KALAMAN: Mary kam vom gold’nen Strande (Die Herzogin von Chicago)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Richard Bonynge
Recorded: SFB Studios, Berlin, 2–8 February 1998

EMMA MATTHEWS soprano born 1970
CHARLES GOUNOD: Dieu ! quel frisson … Amour, ranime mon courage (Roméo et Juliette)
Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo
Brad Cohen
Recorded: Auditorium Rainier III, Monte Carlo, 16 September 2008


‘Magnificently curated account of a great Australian century.’
‘Lovingly restored and remastered from original sources.’
‘So many crackers to choose from.’
Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine, Sydney

‘Many rare recordings and unexpected treasures.’
‘This was a golden period of Australian singing.’
Matthew Westwood, The Australian

‘Remarkable CD set … I never realised that so many great singers were Australian.’
‘The transfers are superb.’
‘A plethora of rarities.’
‘An absolute must-have for anyone even remotely interested in the history of opera on record.’
Rob Cowan, Gramophone

‘A cornucopia of Australian singers.’
‘One thing is blazingly clear … and that is the unrestrained emotional commitment displayed … allied to strong technique and frequently immaculate musical manners.’
‘The set will trigger wonder and a desire for considerable further investigation.’
‘Decca Eloquence and Messrs Neill and Locantro are to be strongly congratulated.’
David Patmore, The Record Collector

‘An astonishing and enthralling cavalcade of exponents of the Australian vocal art.’
‘The appearance of the CD anthology From Melba to Sutherland is especially to be applauded.’
John Carmody, Opera magazine

‘Very enterprising and well-constructed anthology.’
‘I must confess that quite a high proportion of the names here are completely new to me.’
‘There is much enjoyment to be had from this set.’
Paul Steinson, Musicweb International

‘A MUST BUY if you like good singing in all its forms.’
‘A fascinating survey of Australian singers from the early 1900’s to nearly the present day.’
‘Five Stars … what a treat.’
Reviews on Amazon

‘An absolute mst-have for anyone even remotely interested in the history of opera on record’