Episode Air Date: January 17, 2017
Artist: Dame Nellie Melba
Recording Title: Farewell Speech
You’re listening to Dame Nellie Melba’s Farewell speech, recorded at Covent Garden in 1926. And,
You’re on the Sound Beat
Andre Escoffier would’ve cleaned up on the late 1800’s version of Top Chef. The French chef extraordinaire was known for his creative haute cuisine, and for naming his dishes after stars that frequented his restaurants. There was no bigger operatic star of the time than Aussie-born Nellie Melba…that’s right, as in Melba toast and Peach melba. While performing the Wagnerian opera Lohengrin at Covent Garden, Melba invited Escoffier…he responded with a dish that mimicked a boat in the shape of a swan that appeared in the production. The dessert featured peaches over vanilla ice cream, in a dish served on a carved-ice swan, and called “Peche Cygne” or, “peach with a swan”. He’d later add a raspberry sauce…and Peach Melba was born..uh, hold the swan.
Image Credit: “Covent Garden Theatre 1827-28” by en:Thomas H. Shepherd (1792–1864), engraved by John Rolph (1799–1862) – Metropolitan improvements or London in the nineteenth century: being a series of views, of the new and most interesting objects in the British metropolis & its vicinity; from original drawings, with historical, topographical & critical illustrations by James Elmes. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons