An accomplished and generously filled disc of Massenet arias heralds the arrival of a new Australian record label, Melba Recordings, the brainchild of Maria Vandamme, former ABC broadcaster and presenter. Sporting a plum-coloured livery, similar to the labels of Dame Nellie's own discs, this attractively presented package contains 19 diverse items from Massenet's catalogue of opera, oratorio and song. Richard Bonynge's enthusiasm for Massenet, the quintessence of elegant French romanticism, is apparent throughout and radiates from orchestra and singer. Adept at creating and changing moods, Bonynge always advances the onward flow of the music and ensures the clarity of orchestral textures. Several solo contributions from the orchestra (violin and clarinet) are expertly played. Rosamund Illing ably demonstrates her vocal versatility embracing everything from the homely rapture of 'Sainte Therese Prie' to the vicious ending of 'Ah! Vous avez parle' from Sappho. There is plenty of charming music in between, including some grandiose moments from Herodiade and Ariane, and some tender introspection from Le Cid.