Sacred? Yes. Profane? Bluntly, no - not a single word of titillating text that would inspire the palest pink tinge of embarrassed blush on the cheeks of a straitlaced maiden aunt.
But that same aunt, and all relatives whose senses are caressed by the sound of music as beautiful and sensuous as almost any written in the classical genre, almost certainly will be seduced by the sounds that emanate from this impressive debut disc on Melbourne producer Maria Vandamme's recently launched Melba Recordings label. As anyone who has witnessed any of the few Jules Massenet operas staged in Australia will know, he was not afraid to tackle with gritty tales.
This recording, admirably showcasing songs and arias that will be unfamiliar to all but a few ears, is a dazzling artistic triumph for its performers, soprano Rosamund Illing, conductor and lifelong Massenet scholar, and champion Richard Bonynge and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.
A finer memorial to Dame Nellie Melba is impossible to imagine