HELBA [NELLIE PORTER ARMSTRONG] (1850- ), British operatic soprano, nee Nellie Porter Mitchell, was born at Burnley, near Melbourne, Australia, her father being a contractor, of Scottish blood. She sang at a local concert when six years old, and was given a good musical education. In 1882 she married Captain Charles Armstrong, and in 1886 went to study singing in Paris under the famous teacher, Madame Mathilde Marches!, whose daughter, Madame Blanche Marches!, also a famous singer, was associated with her. In 1887 she made her debut in opera at Brussels, taking the stage-name of Madame Melba from her connexion with Melbourne. In the next year she sang the part of Lucia, which remained one of her famous r61es, at Covent Garden, London; and, though critics complained of her coldness as an actress, her liquid voice and brilliant execution henceforth made her famous as the greatest successor to Patti, in pure vocalization, on the operatic stage. She maintained this position for over twenty years, her triumphs being celebrated in every country.
See the " authorized " biography by Agnes G. Murphy (1909).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)