Joan Sutherland (Dame)
(7 November 1926 – 10 October 2010)
"La Stupenda" – one of the most remarkable opera singers of the 20th Century, Joan Sutherland was a dramatic coloratura soprano often credited for being one of the singers who led to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire during the fifties to the eighties.
Her contribution to the opera world was incalculable – with a legacy of recordings and film virtually unmatched.
Her voice was an instrument of extraordinary power with a bright and powerful upper register, incredible beauty, extraordinary agility and accurate intonation with pinpoint staccato's.
After playing small roles at Covent Garden with the Royal Opera in the fifties, Joan Sutherland was propelled to superstardom playing Lucia di Lammermoor, in a production directed by Franco Zefferelli.
It was initially thought that she would be heading down the Wagnerian road as she much admired Kirsten Flagstad, but Conductor and (her later husband), Richard Bonynge, convinced of her coloratura abilities, felt strongly that the bel canto repertoire was the way to go.
This began one of the most successful, professional partnerships in operatic history. Always disarmingly modest and "down to earth" Joan Sutherland was the quintessential "Prima Donna" with none of the bad temperament.
Her incredible talent was only matched by her enormous capacity to be a generous, unselfish, colleague with a warmth and patience that won her an army of admirers around the world.
Luciano Pavarotti whose career she helped start, described her as "The Voice of the Century" and Montserrat Caballe said "her voice was like Heaven".
Joan Sutherland is one of the featured stars on our "Legends" product range.