Vale La Stupenda


Admiral of Fugues
Whilst I never had the chance of hearing Dame Joan live in Sydney (basically because I wasn't interested in opera at the time). I have of course since then purchased CDs (my favourite one of hers staring as Esclarmonde in the opera of the same name by Massenet).

Dear lovely Dame Joan, may you rest in peace for your recorded legacy will ensure your voice enchants us for a long time.


New member
I just heard about her death on the news. She had a voice that was supreme, and will be sadly missed. Heaven's choir will be singing all the sweeter.



Admiral of Fugues
Margaret - she was an astounding singer for sure, as good as your wonderful Heather Harper (with a very different voice I know). Such stars as these are begotten seldom.


New member
Joan Sutherland: Funeral Tomorrow--14/10/'10

Tomorrow is the funeral of soprano Dame Joan Sutherland(1926-2010) whom some have called the operatic voice of the 20th century. Three years ago she said that she “did not want to have anything to do with opera anymore.” Fair enough; she was 80 and had just broken both her legs! Readers of this prose-poem can google all sorts of words of encomium and very little opprobrium about her life. I can hardly add anything to what is known. I am not even an opera buff. I have not read her autobiography published, as it was, in 1997 two years before I finished my 30++year teaching career. Sutherland started to seriously study voice in 1944, the year I was born. Like all babies I, too, was seriously studying voice, of course, in quite a different sense.

Sutherland became a star in 1959 when she sang at the Royal Opera House. 1959 was a big year for me; I joined the Baha’i Faith that year at the age of 15. I could follow my life and Sutherland’s to her death this week and to my own years of late adulthood and life on a pension here in Australia. But I shall take this prose-poem in a different direction; this quasi-eulogy on a person whose voice possessed a crystal-clarity, the finest of diction and was incredible, miraculous.(2)

The word ‘opera’ comes from the Latin and means ‘work.’ It was invented, writes art critic Kenneth Clark, in the seventeenth century and made into an art form by the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi (1517-1643). Opera houses were often the largest buildings in a town or city especially in Catholic countries. They came in when churches were going out, Clark continues.(1)-Ron Price with thanks to (1)Kenneth Clark, Civilization, Penguin, NY, 1969, p. 169; and (2) “Joan Sutherland: 1926-2010,” Andrew Patner: The View From Here, 11 October 2010.

People sit and listen to words
they do not understand and to
a plot they do not know---such
an irrational entertainment; it’s
a display of skill and the words
are sung because they are just
too silly, too subtle, too deeply
felt, or too revealing to be said.

There is a very real extension of
human feelings and faculties in a
world where the pursuit of love &
happiness, which had once been so
simple, is now very, very, complex.1

And, Joan, you gave us rock-solid
technique, confidence without any
arrogance, a four-decade career &
you became known, therefore, in a
bel canto style as…..La Stupenda!!

1 Kenneth Clark, op. cit., p. 170.

Ron Price
13 October 2010
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Admiral of Fugues
It vexes me no end that I spelled stupenda incorrectly on the title of this thread ... hoping a mod. might solve that typo for me ... phui!


Active member
I too will miss her presence on this many of the greats are now in that great eternal choir. It is times like this that "youtube" helps us to remember one the Greatest "bel canto" singers. RIP Dame Joan.

Alban Berg

Let's speak about Anna

Anna Netrebko is alive, she has a beautiful voice and she's beautiful. La Stupenda lived for more than 80 years. RIP...Let's speak about the present!



Chief assistant to the assistant chief
I prefer Joan Sutherland’s voice to that of Callas (now I will be savaged by the Callas Dogs Ha Ha) one of my favourite arias is of her singing:

Il dolce suono mi colpi di sua voce. Ardon gl'incensi (Mad Scene) from Lucia di Lammermoor,by Donizetti, so much feeling. and wonderful music

Ella Beck

An amazing singer - may she rest in peace.
When I was at junior school, her 'Ave Maria' was used as music to go out by. It wasn't a church school, but the head master loved classical music.