A young barmaid working at Rules Restaurant in London was invited to make the first recording on flat disc for His Master's Voice. She had an excellent and large soprano voice. The year was 1898 and the song was 'Coming Through The Rye'. Her name was Syria Lamonte and she was an Australian opera singer. (Please see Tony Locantro's note).
This is the myth. Syria Lamonte worked as a singer at the restaurant, not a barmaid. She is probably turning in her grave at the very thought!
Born in Sydney, Lamonte was trained in opera by two highly skilled teachers, Madame Chambers and Signor Checi. They also taught Nellie Melba. The young and beautiful soprano soon started getting musical engagements. She sang at the Tivoli in Sydney at the beginning of her career. The Sydney Morning Herald described Lamonte as having 'a fine soprano voice.'
Lamonte sang in various opera companies in Australia and visited many capitals and country towns. According to The Brisbane Courier, she made 'a very favourable impression' in the opera 'In Town' and 'her vivacious singing of 'The Gay Parisian' was warmly applauded.'
The young opera singer decided to try her luck in London. She sang at music-halls there as well as the restaurant. She was also engaged for the opera 'Lohengrin' in Berlin. Lamonte sang in many countries, including Russia and America. Eventually she came back to Melbourne where she retired.