Monday, October 11, 2010
Joan Sutherland, considered by many to be the greatest soprano of her generation, died yesterday at the age of 83 in Switzerland.
Sutherland performed with the San Diego Opera a total of seven times throughout the 1970s and 80s, including a performance as Lucia in Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" in 1974. The latter was considered one of her signature roles.
San Diego Opera's general and artistic director Ian Campbell said of Sutherland:
"Joan's death ends, at least for now, an era of full-voiced coloratura singing. There is no soprano today with a sound to match hers, since however talented they be, singers of her roles cannot match the sheer outpouring of sound she delivered."
The New York Times writes of Sutherland's vocal quality: "Her singing was founded on astonishing technique. Her voice was evenly produced throughout an enormous range, from a low G to effortless flights above high C. She could spin lyrical phrases with elegant legato, subtle colorings and expressive nuances. Her sound was warm, vibrant and resonant, without any forcing."
Campbell and Sutherland were both from Australia and remained friends over the years. "It is well known that Joan was very down-to-earth, and never lost her Australian accent or directness. She also had a delightful sense of humor. She never showed nervousness in rehearsal or performance, or hid it very well. Her constant needle point was her relaxation and took her mind off the demands of the stage."
You can read more of Campbell's remarks about Sutherland on the San Diego Opera blog, Aria Serious?.