Dame Joan Sutherland (1926 - 2010)
The Royal Opera is deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of Dame Joan Sutherland, who died on 10 October 2010.
Antonio Pappano, Music Director, The Royal Opera
“I had the opportunity to work with Joan on two occasions, her first Adriana Lecouvreur (I was the lowly prompter) and Anna Bolena. She actually was ‘Stupenda’. A lovely human being who could sing anybody off the stage. And I mean anybody. What she did for bel canto music and its technique cannot be underestimated. We have lost one of the true greats. My sincere condolences to Maestro Bonynge, who played such an important role in Joan’s life”.
Dame Joan Sutherland at the Royal Opera House
Dame Joan Sutherland joined the Covent Garden Opera Company in 1952 and made her Royal Opera debut the same year singing First Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Later that season, she sang the role of High Priestess in Aida, and Clotilde in Norma (alongside Maria Callas and Ebe Stignani). She created the role of Jennifer in the world premiere of Michael Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage in 1955, going on to sing Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) in 1956, Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and Gilda (Rigoletto) in 1957, and Desdemona (Otello) and Madame Lidoine in Dialogues des Carmélites in 1958. In 1959 she made her role debut in Lucia di Lammermoor and became an overnight sensation. Her successful partnership with Pavarotti at Covent Garden began in 1965 in La sonnambula, when she sang role of Amina with Pavarotti singing Elvino. They sang together again in La Fille du régiment (Marie and Tonio) in 1966, and 1967, followed by performances of Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucia and Edgardo) in 1973. Joan Sutherland’s subsequent roles at Covent Garden included Norma (1967), Maria Stuarda (1977), Leonora (Il trovatore) in 1981. Her final performances as Lucia at Covent Garden were in 1985 and her final opera at Covent Garden was Anna Bolena in 1988. She last appeared at Covent Garden on New Year’s Eve 1990 in a gala performance of Die Fledermaus as a special guest, together with Luciano Pavarotti and Marilyn Horne, in the Act II Party Scene.