Nellie Melba, the famous Australian soprano, studied the role of Marguerite in Charles Gounod’s Faust under the supervision and guidance of the composer himself.
Melba’s use of the chest register in the bottom of her range is (if history is to be believed) apparently what Gounod WANTED in this aria – otherwise, Melba would not have sung it this way. We can probably take on faith that Gounod wanted these lower pitches sung in chest, not a pulled-down head voice. Sopranos, take note: Gounod likely wanted the aria to sound this way.
The ready availability of chest register on the bottom of the range was much more apparent in the Old School sopranos, as evidenced by this recording. Why change voice emission if the composer HIMSELF wanted the music sung this way? #morechest
Check out the chest register Melba utilized throughout the COLORATURA aria “Air des bijoux,” known in English as the Jewel Song: