Sutherland, Dame Joan


“La Stupenda”, Australia’s great dramatic coloratura soprano in “La Sonnambula”



Autograph ID: 3364
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1926-2010) Australian dramatic coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the bel canto revival of the 1950s & 1960s. She made her debut in Australia as Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and her European debut as the First Lady in Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1952 and, she sang her first leading role at the Royal Opera House. In 1953, she sang in the world premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana. From 1954 to 1958, she sang successfully a large repertoire, from Eva in Die Meistersinger, Agathe in Der Freischütz, Desdemona in Otello, Gilda in Rigoletto, to Donna Anna in Don Giovanni and many others. In 1959, she was invited to sing Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House in a production conducted by Tullio Serafin and staged by Franco Zeffirelli – as soon as she finished the famous “Mad Scene”, she was a star. In 1961, her album “The Art of the Prima Donna”,won a Grammy Award. In 1960, she sang a superb Alcina at La Fenice, Venice, where she was nicknamed “La Stupenda” (“The Stupendous One”) and made her US debut at Dallas that year. She added the greatest heroines of bel canto in her repertoire: Violetta (La Traviata), Amina (La Sonnambula) and Elvira (I Puritani) in 1960; Beatrice di Tenda in 1961; Marguerite de Valois (Les Huguenots) and Semiramide in 1962; Norma and Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare) in 1963. She later added Marie (La Fille du Régiment), one of her most admired roles, because of her perfect coloratura and lively, funny interpretation. Her last performance was as Marguerite de Valois (Les Huguenots) in the Sydney Opera House in 1990 at 64, and her last public appearance took place in Die Fledermaus New Year’s Eve 1990, at Covent Garden.

SP as Amina in “La Sonnambula”, 7 ¼ x 5 ¼ Teatro Alla Scala photograph by E. Piccagliani for 1961-62 season (copyright stamp on verso), signed in blue on lower border”
Type: Photograph

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