Melba Recordings

"... a label of fragrant distinction"

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News from Melba Recordings

Go behind the scenes for insights on our recordings, our artists and our future plans. Follow our artists' schedules and share the excitement of their journeys.

New York Launch of the Melba Foundation

Wednesday, 10 January 2007 - 10:51am

Melba Recordings CEO, Maria Vandamme took the label into the huge, discerning American market when she flew to New York for the company’s North American launch in January.

Mr Anthony Pratt and Mrs Jeanne Pratt AC hosted the launch party where the guests included Mr Rupert Murdoch AC KCSG, former World Bank head, James Wolfensohn KBE AO, Foreign Minister The Hon. Alexander Downer, Consul-General John Olsen [the former premier of South Australia], and the Australian Ambassador to the United Nations and former South Australian Senator, The Hon. Robert Hill. Ring conductor Asher Fisch was also present for the Melba North American debut.

 Maria Vandamme, Jeanne Pratt AC, Rupert Murdoch AC KCSG,
Anthony Pratt & Claudia Revere
 Consul-General John Olsen AO
& Terry Campbell AO

In introducing Melba to America Vandamme said:

One of the paradoxes of Australia’s international image is that every cultured person in the world can recognise the Sydney Opera House but very few of those who know what it is also know what goes on inside it.

Sydney, and indeed every Australian capital city, has a rich cultural establishment of musicians and singers who regularly perform the western European musical canon to a high standard in excellent concert halls and opera theatres.  But this sometimes comes as a surprise to the rest of the world. That said, this is a global business and our aim is to ensure that Australia participates fully.

A common theme in the uniformly favourable critical reaction to the Melba recording of the 2004 production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Adelaide has been: "Adelaide? Australia? Wagner? Who would have thought it?" In fact this was the second complete Ring Cycle staged by the State Opera of South Australia.
Australian publicists have worked assiduously at promoting the country as a land of perpetual sunshine, cuddly marsupials and friendly people. The significance of Australia as a nation that has produced some of the most famous musicians to perform on the world’s stages is usually overlooked. But world famous performers such as Nellie Melba, Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge, Yvonne Kenny and Charles Mackerras didn’t spring fully-formed as alien life forms in a cultural desert. They are the conspicuous products of a rich and deep culture of music education, performance and promotion.

What has always been lacking is an indigenous recording company that would record and promote Australian artists to the world. In 2000 I determined a way to address this deficiency in our cultural life. The time had come and was well past for an Australian music foundation and recording company that would use the very best technology to showcase the remarkable talent that we in Australia can enjoy just about every day of the week in one city or another. Thus was born the Melba Foundation and Melba Recordings.

James Wolfensohn KBE AO Melba Ring Presenting Sponsor, Dr Douglas G Mitchell
& Ring Conductor, Maestro Asher Fisch

James Wolfensohn KBE AO said at the launch: "The whole field of classical musical recording is in serious decline and has been for years and so it requires something that is very special to make an impact on the market and my belief is that these recordings will do that."

Alexander Downer says that he was so impressed with the Melba Ring recordings that "I gave Condoleezza Rice a copy of the recording last month when I was with her in Washington."

Asher Fisch says that what has pleased him about the reviews has been the universal acclaim for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. "The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is a wonderful orchestra known in South Australia and a little maybe in the other parts of the country but not known at all all over the world. Without this recording there was no way that they would have this kind of renown and reputation that they now receive around the world. It’s fantastic for them."

 Maria Vandamme & Rupert Murdoch AC KCSG Diana Hill, Helen Steel-Geiss &
The Hon. Ambassador Robert Hill

 Melba is deeply indebted to the Pratt family for their generous support without which this New York launch would not have been possible. Jeanne and Richard Pratt have been wonderful friends and supporters of Melba since its founding. Their contribution to Australian culture is magnificent and Melba is grateful for their friendship and for the confidence they have shown in our project.

Mr Rupert Murdoch told the New York gathering that he was there because his mother told him to be! It was an amusing line that got a laugh but it has a serious meaning. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE is the Founding Benefactor of the Melba Foundation and the Ring recording is dedicated to her in acknowledgement of her generosity.