A bronze bust of the famous Australian prima donna, Dame Nellie Melba, was carried ceremonially into Covent Garden Opera House in London yesterday (Friday).
A bronze bust of the famous Australian prima donna, Dame Nellie Melba, was carried ceremonially into Covent Garden Opera House in London yesterday (Friday). The arrival of the bust, however, ran into trouble form London's vigilant police.
The Opera House authorities and the Australian Broadcasting Commission had publicised a "triumphal arrival" for the bust at the scene of many of her greatest triumphs.
London's press arrived in force, encouraged by a publicity handout which promised market porters strewing flower petals and a mounted police escort.
But just as the procession was about to start from the famous flower and vegetable market, several policemen arrived an declared that the procession was illegal.
Finally, embarrassed publicity men and officials were allowed to carry the bust into the Opera House, where it will occupy a prominent position in the foyer. The move was sponsored by the Australian Broadcasting Commission, which is making a television film on Melba.
Nellie Melba was the stage name of Mrs Helen Armstrong who was born at Richmond, near Melbourne, Australia in 1861. A fine soprano, she made her operatic debut in Verdi's "Rigoletto" at Brussels in 1887, and later established herself as the foremost coloratura soprano of her time. She was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1918 and died in Sydney in 1931.