Dame Joan Sutherland


opera star

Dame Joan Sutherland was an Australian soprano renowned for her superb technique, including her use of coloratura, receiving particular acclaim for her contribution to the revival of the bel canto repertoire.

Life and Music

  • Dame Joan Sutherland was born in Point Piper, Australia on November 7, 1926. She began her singing career by winning the Mobil Quest in 1950 as a mezzo-soprano and was later accepted to study at Covent Garden in London.
  • It was a performance of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at Covent Garden in 1959, in which she played the title role, that catapulted Dame Joan to worldwide fame.
  • Dame Joan was revered by many in the business, including Montserrat Caballé, Luciano Pavarotti and New Zealander Dame Kiri te Kanawa, of whom she was a close friend.
  • Following an international career, singing in opera houses all over the world, Dame Joan retired to Les Avents, near Montreux in Switzerland, with her husband, conductor and pianist Richard Bonynge.

Did you know?
Dame Joan had a leading role as Mother Rudd in the 1995 comedy film, Dad and Dave: On Our Selection, opposite Leo McKern and Geoffrey Rush.

Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor



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