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A musical year

Music in 1913 was one of the most popular entertainments. Australian performing artists and musicians were drawn to Europe, and many, including Percy Grainger, Nellie Melba and Florrie Forde, were hugely successful there. In Australia’s cities, receptive audiences flocked to concerts, the opera and the ballet, where many of the performances were by touring artists and companies.

Australians sang around the piano or pianola at home, or flocked to concerts. Newspapers keenly followed the visits of artists from abroad, as well as the performances of Australians achieving success internationally. The quality of recorded music was rapidly improving, and many households could boast a phonograph or gramophone. Opera, popular song and vaudeville performances are all represented in this selection.

Explore the slideshow of images below and listen to recordings of Borneo Gardiner, Dame Clara Butt, Lillian Nordica, Peter Dawson, John McCormack, Florence Austral and Dame Nellie Melba.

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