REWIND: From The Australian, October 12, 2010
DAME Joan Sutherland, La Stupenda, the greatest opera singer Australia has produced, has died in Switzerland, aged 83. Lyndon Terracini, artistic director of Opera Australia, said last night: ‘‘ We won’t see her like again. She had a phenomenal range, size and quality of voice. We simply don’t hear that any more.’’
Sutherland died peacefully at home in Switzerland yesterday.
She had been in frail health since she broke both of her legs in a fall in 2008.
The opera world and admirers of fine singing everywhere will mourn the passing of the soprano who was an exemplar of the lyric arts. Her career-defining performance as Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House in London in 1959 launched her on a worldwide career that took her to all the great theatres.
She returned to Australia to tour with Luciano Pavarotti in 1965 and, after the opening of the Sydney Opera House, returned to sing many times. She gave her last performance there in 1990. Sutherland’s conductor husband, Richard Bonynge, notified Opera Australia of her death.
Terracini said Sutherland was a terrific colleague, warm and generous to her colleagues. ‘‘ She had a massive effect on Opera Australia,’’ he said.
‘‘ The influence that she had on her generation of singers was incalculable.
‘‘ She was the greatest opera singer Australia has produced, and that includes Melba.’’