The Best of...

Part I

Bach - Beethoven - Brahms - Chopin -  Handel  - Haydn
Liszt - Mendelssohn
Mozart  -  Paganini  -  Puccini  -  Schubert
Strauss  - Tchaikovsky  -  Verdi  -  Vivaldi  -  Wagner

 Part II

The greatest opera singers
The Best of... (Part II)
The greatest opera singers
Joan Sutherland
Dame Joan Sutherland, in full Dame Joan Alston Sutherland (born November 7, 1926, Sydney, Australia—died October 10, 2010, Les Avants, Switzerland), Australian operatic soprano internationally acclaimed for her coloratura roles.

The daughter of a gifted singer, she studied piano and voice with her mother until 1946, when she won a vocal competition and began studying voice with John and Aida Dickens. She made her singing debut as Dido in a concert performance of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in Sydney in 1947 and her operatic debut in the title role of Sir Eugene Goossens’s Judith in 1951. Cash prizes from several vocal competitions made it possible for her to move to London and begin study with Clive Carey at the Royal College of Music. In 1952 she was accepted into the company of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and made her first appearance there as the First Lady in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

Her accompanist and vocal coach, Richard Bonynge, who had worked with her in Sydney, was convinced that her future lay in the florid coloratura repertoire even though Covent Garden was training her as a dramatic Wagnerian soprano. In 1954 she married Bonynge, and with his help and encouragement she began to develop her higher range. In 1959 Covent Garden revived Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor for her, and in 1961 she made her New York City debut in the same role at the Metropolitan Opera. Her performance in this difficult title role won international recognition and established her as the leading coloratura of the 20th century.

Sutherland afterward sang in Venice, Vienna, Dallas (Texas), Paris, Barcelona (Spain), Genoa (Italy), Milan, San Francisco, Chicago, and her native Sydney. Her greatest later successes were as Norma in Vincenzo Bellini’s opera of that name, Cleopatra in George Frideric Handel’s Giulio Cesare, and the three sopranos in Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. She also had an impressive concert career and can be heard on many highly acclaimed recordings. Sutherland retired from performing in 1990.

Sutherland’s numerous awards include a Kennedy Center Honor (2004). She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1978. A Prima Donna’s Progress; The Autobiography of Joan Sutherland was published in 1997.

Encyclopædia Britannica
Live from Lincoln Center - The Concert of the Century

Great duets, trios and arias from Ernani, Norma, La Gioconda, I Masnadieri, Il Trovatore, Otello, La Boheme, La donna del Lago and Beatrice di Tenda.

Includes interval documentary: "How to Sing Bel Canto"

Review from the New York Times:

These three voices must surely be numbered among the best to be heard in the operatic world today. The singers themselves are well aware of that fact, and such knowledge only served to inspire healthy vocal competition and to provide the impetus to give of their very best. Having sung together many times over the years, they also are sensitized to one another's strengths and weaknesses, which means that the ensembles in particular had a special buoyant lift and galvanizing electricity.

In its essentials, the concert could be heard as an old-fashioned glorification of the human voice...these three singers did after all give us the concert of the century.

Joan Sutherland State Memorial Service - Sydney 2010
State Memorial Service
Dame Joan Sutherland

Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Tuesday 9 November 2010


- Prelude from La traviata -- Giuseppe Verdi
Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
Conducted by Brian Castles-Onion

- Welcome
Adrian Colette AM
Chief Executive, Opera Australia

- Australian National Anthem

- 'Bell Song' from Lakmé -- Léo Delibes
Joan Sutherland

- 'The Honourable Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister of Australia

- 'Parigi, o cara' from La traviata -- Giuseppe Verdi
Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti

- Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO
Governor of New South Wales

- Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti
Joan Sutherland

- Mr Moffatt Oxenbould AM

- 'Era desso il figlio mio' from Lucrezia Borgia -- Gaetano Donizetti
Joan Sutherland

- Mr Adam Bonynge

- 'Va, pensiero' from Nabucco -- Giuseppe Verdi
Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Opera Australia Chorus
Conducted by Brian Castles-Onion

- 'Home Sweet Home'
Joan Sutherland

- 'Casta diva' from Norma -- Vincenzo Bellini
Joan Sutherland

Joan Sutherland - The Reluctant Prima Donna (1/3)
2006 BBC Documentary on the career of Dame Joan Sutherland - focusing on Lucia and Alcina.

Documentary about Dame Joan Sutherland, one of the greatest operatic performers of the late twentieth century, who died in October 2010. Shy and lacking in confidence, she had sung unnoticed at Covent Garden for seven years after arriving from Australia, but over the course of twelve months was transformed into La Stupenda.

Joan Sutherland - The Reluctant Prima Donna (2/3)
Joan Sutherland - The Reluctant Prima Donna (3/3)
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