She also grew fabulously rich, able to demand from impresario Oscar Hammerstein (grandfather of The Sound of Music librettist Hammerstein) $US3000 a performance, with a guarantee of $US20,000. "I come high," she told him. She loved furs and diva bling: her jewellery was once reported to be worth $US2.5 million.
Melba worked with the important composers of her era. As well as Puccini, she came into contact with Giuseppe Verdi, Thomas, Jules Massenet and Camille Saint-Saens, who wrote his one-act opera Helene for her. She learned from Charles Gounod her parts in his operas Faust, Mireille and Romeo et Juliette.
"I Am Melba", she said.
Or, as another immortal classical music artist once said,
Playa haters get away / Or my lead will spray