'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

07 October 2010

Dame Joan Sutherland

La Stupenda 
Born in Sydney on the 7th of November 1926 - Died  11th October 2010
For my first comment I have to make tribute to the greatest woman who ever sang. For 40 years she has been the beginning and end of all my fascination with opera. I attended her farewell season with sadness and awe. 
The voice of any Century
Joan would have to be my most absolutely favourite singer of all time. I have been lucky enough to see her several times from 1979 until her retirement in1990. A career that began in Sydney in 1949, achieved universal fame in 1959 with her performance of Lucia di Lammermoor and stayed there for the next 31 years.  In the course of those years she gave around 1800 performances in a repertoire that encompassed 48 operas. It is strange that although Maria Callas is justifiably legendary, her best performances were only in the fifties and she lost her voice and died at 52.  Her career of around 600 performances, as far as I am concerned, lasted only ten good years and yet appearing to come from a different generation, she was only three years older than Joan Sutherland.
The performances I have seen
At $150 a ticket back in 1982 it still seemed  very cheap for the great Sutherland Pavarotti concert. We were originally preparing for at least $500, but for a once in a lifetime experience thousands sent in blank cheques which were returned. Telecast and or  broadcast around the world I was overwhelmed to be there. It received the largest audience  ever for a television event in Australia. This began a week of opera indulgence that eventually involved seven different performances, including a dress rehearsal
Norma 1979 and 1985, Lucia di Lammermoor 1980 and 1986, Lucrezia Borgia 1982, De Fledermaus 1982, Adriana Lecouvreur 1984, Les  Huguenots 1990
I was in the audience for this very performance in 1986

On a trip to Sydney in February 2000, almost ten years exactly since Joan's retirement and my last visit to that Opera House, I of course went to a spectacular production of 'The Pearl Fishers' with the beautiful David Miller, but an even greater thrill then the opera was Dame Joan Sutherland sitting in the row directly in front of me. She looked much older then she did ten years ago and had developed a small limp in her walk, but I felt the same heart pounding  thrill as if she had sung. My young cute friend insisted on bowing to her as we walked behind her on leaving the theatre. He received many approving nods from more elderly patrons understanding his admiration.
Joan Sutherland Opera Recordings and Stage Repertoire
First Performance
Complete Recording
* = Live Performance
    I Puritani  first performance as Elvira - Glyndebourne Festival 1960
                     conductor Tullio Serafin with Antonio Zerbini - Palermo 1961*
                     conductor Richard Bonynge with Pierre Duval, Margreta Elkins 1964
                     conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Nicolai Ghiaurov 1975
    La Sonnambula  first performance London 1960
                               conductor Richard Bonynge with Margreta Elkins Nicola Monti 1963
                               conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti 1982
                               conductor Antonino Votto with Raina Kabaivanska - Milan 1961*
                               conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti 1965
    Norma   as Clotilde -London 1952 with Maria Callas, and first performance as Norma - Vancouver 1963
                   conductor Vittorio Gui - as Clotilde with Maria Callas 1952*
                   conductor Richard Bonynge with Marilyn Horne 1964
                   conductor Richard Bonynge with Marilyn Horne New York 1970*
                   conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Monserrat Caballe
                   video/DVD Sydney 1978 and Canada 1981*
    Carmen   as Frasquita - London 1953 and as Micaela - London 1955
                    as Micaela conductor Thomas Schippers with Regina Resnik, Mario del Monaco 1963
    Griselda  conductor Bonynge with Lauris Elms, Monica Sinclair, Margreta Elkins, Spiro Malas 1966
    Gloriana   as Lady Penelope Rich - 1953
    Adriana Lecouvreur   first performance San Diego 1983
                                        conductor Richard Bonynge 1990
                                        Video/DVD Sydney 1984*
    Lakme  first performance as Lakme - Seattle 1967
                  conductor Richard Bonynge with Jane Berbie, Monica Sinclair,Gabriel Bacquier, 1967
                  Video/DVD Sydney 1976*
    Lucia di Lammermoor  first performance which made Sutherland a star - London 1959
                                          conductor Tullio Serafin with John Shaw, Margreta Elkins London 1959*
                                          conductor John Pritchard with Renato Cioni, Robert Merill 1961
                                          conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes 1971
                                          Video/DVD Sydney 1986 New York 1983*
    La Fille di Regiment   first performance as Marie - London 1966
                                         conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Spiro Milas 1967
                                         conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti New York 1972*
                                         Video/DVD Sydney 1986 *
    Maria Stuarda   first performance as Maria Stuarda - San Francisco 1971
                                conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, huguette Tourangeau 1979
    Lucrezia Borgia   first performance Vancouver 1972
                                 Video/DVD Sydney 1977*
                                 conductor Richard Bonynge with Marilyn Horne, Giacomo Aragall 1979
                                 Video/DVD London 1980 *
    L'Elisir d'Amore   conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Spiro Milas 1970
    Anna Bolena    first performance Toronto 1984
                              conductor Richard Bonynge with Samuel Ramey 1988
    Judith   first stage role Conservatorium of Music Sydney 1951
    Faust   first Performance as Marguerite - Philadelphia 1965
                conductor Bonynge, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Franco Corelli, Margreta Elkins, Raymond Myers 1967
    Montezuma   excerpts -conductor Bonynge with Lauris Elms, Joseph Ward, Elizabeth Harwood, 1966
    Samson  as Delilah in concert - Sydney 1950 and  as the Israelite woman at Leeds and London 1958
    Alcina   first performance as Alcina - London 1957
                   conductor Richard Bonynge with Monica Sinclair, Mirella Freni Luigi Alva 1962
                   conductor Ferdinand Leitner with Fritz Wunderlich -Cologne 1959*
    Rodelinda  first performance London 1959
                       conductor Richard Bonynge with Huguette Tourangeau - Amsterdam 1973*
                       conductor Richard Bonynge with Huhuette Tourangeau 1987
    Giulio Cesare   first performance as Cleopatra - London 1963
                              conductor Richard Bonynge highlights only with Margreta Elkins,
                              Marilyn Horne, Monica Sinclair, Richard Conrad 1964
    Athalia   conductor Christopher Hogwood with Emma Kirkby
    Acis and Galatea    conductor Sir Adrian Boult with Peter Pears, Owen Brannigan 1960
    Orfeo ed Euridice   as Euridice Vienna 1967
    The Merry Widow  first performance as Anna Glawari - Vancouver 1976
                                     highlights conductor Richard Bonynge with Regina Resnik 1978
                                     Video/DVD Sydney*
    L'Oracolo   conductor Richard Bonynge with Richard van Allan, Tito Gobbi, Huguette Tourangeau 1977
    Esclarmonde   first performance San Francisco 1974
                            conductor Richard Bonynge with Huguette Tourangeau Clifford Grant 1976
    Le Roi de Lahore   first performance as Sita - Vancouver 1977
                                    conductor Richard Bonynge with Sherrill Milnes, Luis Lima 1980
    Les Huguenots   as Queen Marguerite de Valois - Milan 1962
                                conductor Gianandrea Gavazzeni with Franco Corelli - Milan 1962*
                                conductor Richard Bonynge with Martina Arroyo, Gabriel Bacquier 1969
                                Video/DVD farewell Sydney 1990*
    Die Zauberflote  First Lady was her first appearance at Covent Garden 1952 as Pamina -London 1956 
                                 and as Queen of the Night - London 1961
    Le Nozze di Figaro   as Countess Almaviva - Edinburgh 1953
    The Impresario   as Madame Herz - Glyndebourne Festival 1957
    Don Giovanni   as Donna Anna - Vancouver 1958
                              conductor Carlo Maria Giulini with Luigi Alva, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf 1961
                              conductor Richard Bonynge with Gabriel Bacquier, Pilar Lorengar, Marilyn Horne Clifford Grant 1968
    Idomeneo, re di Creta   as Elette - Sydney 1979
    Les Contes d'Hoffmann Antonia London 1954 Giulietta Glasgow 1955 Olympia London 1955 all four roles Seattle 1970
                                            conductor Richard Bonynge with Placido Domingo, Gabriel Bacquier 1972
    Dialogues des Carmelites   Madame Lidoine - London 1958
                                                 Video/DVD Sydney 1984 *
    Il Tabarro    as Giorgette while a student at Royal college of Music London 1952
    Suor Angelica   first performance Sydney 1977
                               conductor Richard Bonynge with Elizabeth Connell, Christa Ludwig 1979
    Turandot   Conductor Zubin Mehta with Luciano Pavarotti Monserrat Caballe Peter Pears Nicolai Ghiaurov 1973
    Semiramide  first performance Milan 1962
                         conductor Gabriele Santini with Giuliette Simionato - Milan 1962*
                         conductor Richard Bonynge with Marilyn Horne Spiro Malas 1966
                         conductor Richard Bonynge with Marilyn Horne, Raymond Myers, Clifford Grant - London 1969*
Yohann Strauss
    Die Fledermaus   first performance as Rosalinde - San Francisco 1973
                                 Gala performance Sutherland sings Il Bacio by Arditi 1960*
                                            Video Sydney *
                                 Gala Farewell Video/DVD as guest in London final appearance on stage 1990*
Richard Strauss
    Elektra   as the Overseer - London 1953
    Hamlet  first performance as Ophelie - Toronto 1985
                  conductor Richard Bonynge with Sherrill Milnes 1983
    The Midsummer Marriage   as Jenifer in world premiere London 1955
    Aida   first as off stage Priestess - London 1952 then as Aida - London 1954
    Un Ballo in Maschera   Amelia - first lead role London 1952
    Otello   first performance as Desdemona - London 1957
    Rigoletto   first performance as Gilda - London 1957
                      conductor Francesco Molinari Pradelli with Cornell Mac Neil, Renato Cioni 1962
                      conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes 1971
    La Traviata   first performance as Violetta - London 1960
                           conductor John Pritchard with Carlo Bergonzi, Robert Merrill 1963
                           conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, 1980
    Il Trovatore  first performance as Leonora - SanFrancisco 1975
                          conductor Richard Bonynge with Luciano Pavarotti, Marilyn Horne, Nicolai Ghiaurov 1977
                          Video/DVD Sydney1983 *
    I Masnadieri   first performance as Amelia -  1980
                        conductor Richard Bonynge with Samuel Ramey 1983
    Das Ring des Nibelungen    in London
            Das Rheingold    as Woglinde 1954
            Die Walkure   as Helmwige  1953
            Sigfried   as the offstage Woodbird 1954
                            as Woodbird conductor Georg Solti with Birgit Nilsson 1963
            Gotterdammerung   as Woglinde  1954
    Die Meistersingers von Nurnberg   as Eva London 1957
    Der Freischutz   as Agathe - London 1954

Other major recordings of Sutherland.
Russian Jewels  Concerto for Soprano and Orchestra by Gliere and other works conducted by Richard Bonynge
Songs My Mother Taught Me Songs by Dvorak,  Grieg, Liszt  and others conducted by Richard Bonynge
Love Live Forever Box set of various Musical Comedy by Romberg Lehar etc conducted by Richard Bonynge
Joan Sutherland Command Performance Box set assorted arias from rare operas 1963
Romantic French Arias Box set conducted by Richard Bonynge 1970
Bach Cantata No 147 conductor Geraint Jones 1958
The Age of Bel Canto with Marilyn Horne and Richard Conrad - Box set conducted by Richard Bonynge
The Art of the Prima Donna Box set conducted by Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
Beethoven Symphony No 9 with Horne conducted by Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt
Beethoven Symphony No 9 conducted by Ernst Ansermet
Handel  Messiah conductor Richard Bonynge with Huguette Tourangeau, Tom Kraus,Werner Krenn 1969
Verdi  The Requiem Mass complete -conductor Georg Solti with Marilyn Horne, Luciano Pavarotti 1967
Joan Sutherland sings Wagner conducted by Richard Bonynge
Sutherland sings Coward Noel Coward songs conducted by Richard Bonynge
Romantic Trios Joan Sutherland (Soprano)  Barry Tuckwell (Horn)  Richard Bonynge (Piano)
Talking Pictures songs from the Movies conducted by Richard Bonynge
Various live concerts 'Live from the Lincoln Centre with Horne and Pavarotti'. 'Darwin-Song for a City' with various Australian Artists. 'An Evening to Remember' with Australian Pops Orchestra conducted by Douglas Gamley.
Various collections of arias which continue to be released in various combinations and assorted extracts of live recordings from concerts around the world like Amsterdam, Koln, Milan, Liverpool, New Jersey. DVD's of The Bell Telephone Hour performances, Recitals from1963/1969,The Ed Sullivan Show etc

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