Dame Joan Sutherland One More Time

Australian dramatic coloratura soprano Dame Joan Sutherland (1926 – 2010) was one of the most exceptional female opera singers of the 20th century.(Photo: Allan Warren)
Australian dramatic coloratura soprano Dame Joan Sutherland (1926 – 2010) was one of the most exceptional female opera singers of the 20th century.(Photo: Allan Warren)

The memorial service for Dame Joan Sutherland (died October 13, 2010) was held this morning at London’s Westminster Abbey. Prince Charles attended. Did the Queen have a dentist appointment or something?

Writer Norman Lebrecht posted a wonderful account of the service on his blog Slipped Disc.

First, take a look at this clip of the dress rehearsal for the revival of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera.

If Luciano Pavarotti was in the cast, it must have been November 7, 1976 – Dame Joan’s 50th birthday. Not only does she get quite the happy surprise, you hear her in full, glorious voice telling us she’s a happy virgin (“Son vergin vezzosa”).

This might not be a happy condition for a 50 year old, but Elvira in I Puritani is meant to be fifteen-ish. Listen, if you’re sixty or eighty and can sing like this, who cares? It’s opera, after all.

Now, after a private funeral in Switzerland, a big memorial at the Syndey Opera House and Prince Charles at the Abbey, we can all get on with it, leave Dame Joan alone and continue to enjoy her recordings, films and broadcasts.

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