Joan Sutherland

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Joan Sutherland

Dame Joan Sutherland, by Allan Warren.jpg
Sutherland in 1975
Joan Alston Sutherland

(1926-11-07)7 November 1926
Sydney, Australia
Died10 October 2010(2010-10-10) (aged 83)
Les Avants, Vaud, Switzerland
Other namesLa Stupenda [1]
Alma materRoyal College of Music
OccupationOpera singer
Years active1947–1990
Spouse(s) Richard Bonynge (1954–2010, her death)

Dame Joan Alston Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE (7 November 1926 10 October 2010) [2] was an Australian-born coloratura soprano noted for her contribution to the renaissance of the bel canto repertoire from the late 1950s through to the 1980s.

Order of Merit dynastic order recognising distinguished service with the Commonwealth

The Order of Merit is an order of merit recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by King Edward VII, admission into the order remains the personal gift of its Sovereign—currently Edward VII's great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II—and is restricted to a maximum of 24 living recipients from the Commonwealth realms, plus a limited number of honorary members. While all members are awarded the right to use the post-nominal letters OM and wear the badge of the order, the Order of Merit's precedence among other honours differs between countries.

Order of Australia series of Australian national honours

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, to recognise Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or meritorious service. Before the establishment of the order, Australian citizens received British honours.

Order of the British Empire order of chivalry of British constitutional monarchy

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of, the order.


She possessed a voice combining extraordinary agility, accurate intonation, "supremely" pinpoint staccatos, [3] a trill and a tremendous upper register, although music critics often complained about the imprecision of her diction. [4]

Staccato is a form of musical articulation. In modern notation, it signifies a note of shortened duration, separated from the note that may follow by silence. It has been described by theorists and has appeared in music since at least 1676.

The trill is a musical ornament consisting of a rapid alternation between two adjacent notes, usually a semitone or tone apart, which can be identified with the context of the trill. It is sometimes referred to by the German Triller, the Italian trillo, the French trille or the Spanish trino. A cadential trill is a trill associated with each cadence. A trill provides rhythmic interest, melodic interest, and—through dissonance—harmonic interest. Sometimes it is expected that the trill will end with a turn, or some other variation. Such variations are often marked with a few appoggiaturas following the note that bears the trill indication.

Sutherland was the first Australian to win a Grammy Award, for Best Classical Performance – Vocal Soloist (with or without orchestra) in 1962.

Grammy Award accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

The Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo has been awarded since 1959. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award over this time:

The 4th Annual Grammy Awards were held on May 29, 1962, at Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. They recognized accomplishments by musicians from the year 1961. Henry Mancini won 5 awards.

Early and personal life

Joan Sutherland was born in Sydney, Australia, to Scottish parents and attended St Catherine's School in the suburb of Waverley, New South Wales. As a child, she listened to and imitated her mother's singing exercises. Her mother, a mezzo-soprano, had taken voice lessons but never considered making a career as a professional singer. Sutherland was 18 years old when she began seriously studying voice with John and Aida Dickens. She made her concert debut in Sydney, as Dido in a production of Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas , in 1947. After winning Australia's most important competition, the Sun Aria (now known as the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald's Operatic Aria) in 1949, [5] she came third after the baritone Ronal Jackson in radio 3DB's Mobil Quest, [6] which she won a year later, in 1950. In 1951, she made her stage debut in Eugene Goossens's Judith. She then went to London to further her studies at the Opera School of the Royal College of Music with Clive Carey. She was engaged by the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as a utility soprano, and made her debut there on 28 October 1952, as the First Lady in The Magic Flute , followed in November by a few performances as Clotilde in Vincenzo Bellini's opera Norma , with Maria Callas as Norma.

Sydney City in New South Wales, Australia

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

Scottish people ethnic inhabitants of Scotland

The Scottish people or Scots, are a nation and Celtic ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically, they emerged from an amalgamation of two Celtic-speaking peoples, the Picts and Gaels, who founded the Kingdom of Scotland in the 9th century. Later, the neighbouring Celtic-speaking Cumbrians, as well as Germanic-speaking Anglo-Saxons and Norse, were incorporated into the Scottish nation.

St Catherines School, Waverley

St Catherine's School is an independent, Anglican, day and boarding school for girls, located in Waverley, an eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Being an admirer of Kirsten Flagstad in her early career, she trained to be a Wagnerian dramatic soprano. In December 1952, she sang her first leading role at the Royal Opera House, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera . Other roles included Agathe in Der Freischütz , the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro , Desdemona in Otello , Gilda in Rigoletto , Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg , and Pamina in The Magic Flute. In 1953, she sang the role of Lady Rich in Benjamin Britten's Gloriana a few months after its world premiere, and created the role of Jenifer in Michael Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage , on 27 January 1955.

Kirsten Flagstad Norwegian opera singer

Kirsten Malfrid Flagstad was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano. She ranks among the greatest singers of the 20th century, and many opera critics called hers "the voice of the century." Desmond Shawe-Taylor wrote of her in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera: "No one within living memory surpassed her in sheer beauty and consistency of line and tone."

Richard Wagner German composer

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor who is chiefly known for his operas. Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music for each of his stage works. Initially establishing his reputation as a composer of works in the romantic vein of Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer, Wagner revolutionised opera through his concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, by which he sought to synthesise the poetic, visual, musical and dramatic arts, with music subsidiary to drama. He described this vision in a series of essays published between 1849 and 1852. Wagner realised these ideas most fully in the first half of the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen.

<i>Un ballo in maschera</i> melodramma in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi

Un ballo in maschera(A Masked Ball) is an 1859 opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The text by Antonio Somma was based on Eugène Scribe's libretto for Daniel Auber's 1833 five act opera, Gustave III, ou Le bal masqué.

Sutherland married Australian conductor and pianist Richard Bonynge on 16 October 1954. Their son, Adam, was born in 1956. Bonynge gradually convinced her that Wagner might not be her Fach , and that since she could produce high notes and coloratura with great ease, she should perhaps explore the bel canto repertoire. She eventually settled in this Fach, spending most of her career singing dramatic coloratura soprano.

Richard Bonynge Australian conductor and pianist

Richard Alan Bonynge is an Australian conductor and pianist. He is the widower of Australian dramatic coloratura soprano Dame Joan Sutherland. Bonynge conducted virtually all of Sutherland's operatic performances from 1962 until her retirement in 1990.

The German Fachsystem is a method of classifying singers, primarily opera singers, according to the range, weight, and color of their voices. It is used worldwide, but primarily in Europe, especially in German-speaking countries and by repertory opera houses.


The word coloratura is originally from Italian, literally meaning "coloring", and derives from the Latin word colorare. When used in English, the term specifically refers to elaborate melody, particularly in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and 19th centuries, with runs, trills, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material. Its instrumental equivalent is ornamentation. It is also now widely used to refer to passages of such music, operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and singers of these roles.


In 1957, she appeared in Handel's Alcina with the Handel Opera Society, and sang selections from Donizetti's Emilia di Liverpool in a radio broadcast. The following year she sang Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in Vancouver.

In 1959, Sutherland was invited to sing Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House in a production conducted by Tullio Serafin and staged by Franco Zeffirelli. The role of Edgardo was sung by her fellow Australian Kenneth Neate, who had replaced the scheduled tenor at short notice. [7] In 1960, she recorded the album The Art of the Prima Donna : the double LP set won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance – Vocal Soloist in 1962. The album was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry in 2011. [8]

Sutherland sang Lucia to great acclaim in Paris in 1960 and, in 1961, at La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera. In 1960, she sang Alcina at La Fenice For her performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, standees began lining up at 7:30 that morning. Her singing of the Mad Scene drew a 12-minute ovation. [9] Sutherland would soon be praised as La Stupenda in newspapers around the world. [1] Later that year (1960), Sutherland sang Alcina at the Dallas Opera, with which she made her US debut.

Sutherland in 1962 Joan Sutherland (1962).jpg
Sutherland in 1962

Her Metropolitan Opera debut took place on 26 November 1961, when she sang Lucia. After a total of 223 performances in a number of different operas, [10] her last appearance there was a concert on 12 March 1989. [11] During the 1978–82 period her relationship with the Met deteriorated when Sutherland had to decline the role of Constanze in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail , more than a year before the rehearsals were scheduled to start. The opera house management then declined to stage the operetta The Merry Widow especially for her, as requested; subsequently, she did not perform at the Met during that time at all, even though a production of Rossini's Semiramide had also been planned, but later she returned there to sing in other operas. [12]

During the 1960s, Sutherland added the heroines of bel canto to her repertoire: Violetta in Verdi's La traviata , Amina in Bellini's La sonnambula and Elvira in Bellini's I puritani in 1960; the title role in Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda in 1961; Marguerite de Valois in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots and the title role in Rossini's Semiramide in 1962; Norma in Bellini's Norma and Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare in 1963. In 1966 she added Marie in Donizetti's La fille du régiment .

In 1965, Sutherland toured Australia with the Sutherland-Williamson Opera Company. Accompanying her was a young tenor named Luciano Pavarotti.

During the 1970s, Sutherland strove to improve her diction, which had often been criticised,[ citation needed ] and increase the expressiveness of her interpretations. She continued to add dramatic bel canto roles to her repertoire, such as Donizetti's Maria Stuarda and Lucrezia Borgia , as well as Massenet's Esclarmonde . With Pavarotti she made a studio-recording of Turandot in 1972 under the baton of Zubin Mehta, though she never performed the role on stage.

Sutherland's early recordings show her to be possessed of a crystal-clear voice and excellent diction. However, by the early 1970s her voice lost some of this clarity in the middle register, and she often came under fire for having unclear diction. Some have attributed this to sinus surgery; however, her major sinus surgery was done in 1959, immediately after her breakthrough Lucia at Covent Garden. [13] In fact, her first commercial recording of the first and final scene of Lucia reveals her voice and diction to be just as clear as prior to the sinus procedure. Her husband Richard Bonynge stated in an interview that her "mushy diction" occurred while striving to achieve perfect legato. According to him, it is because she earlier had a very Germanic "un-legato" way of singing. [14] She clearly took the criticism to heart, as, within a few years, her diction improved markedly.

During the 1980s, Sutherland added Anna Bolena , Amalia in I masnadieri , and Adriana Lecouvreur to her repertoire, and repeated Esclarmonde at the Royal Opera House performances in November and December 1983. Her last full-length dramatic performance was as Marguerite de Valois (Les Huguenots) at the Sydney Opera House in 1990, at the age of 63, where she sang Home Sweet Home for her encore. [15] Her last public appearance, however, took place in a gala performance of Die Fledermaus on New Year's Eve, 1990, at Covent Garden, where she was accompanied by her colleagues Luciano Pavarotti and the mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. According to her own words, given in an interview with The Guardian newspaper in 2002, [16] her biggest achievement was to sing the title role in Esclarmonde. She considered those performances and recordings her best.

Retirement years

Joan Sutherland in 1990 Joan Sutherland.jpg
Joan Sutherland in 1990

After retirement, Sutherland made relatively few public appearances, preferring a quiet life at her home in Les Avants, Switzerland. One exception was her 1994 address at a lunch organised by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, when Sutherland commented: "It also upsets me that it is such a damned job to get an Australian passport now - you have to go to be interviewed by a Chinese or an Indian. I'm not particularly racist, but I find it ludicrous". Her criticism caused controversy. [17] [18]

Film role

Sutherland had a leading role as Mother Rudd in the 1995 comedy film Dad and Dave: On Our Selection opposite Leo McKern and Geoffrey Rush. [19]


In 1997, she published an autobiography, A Prima Donna's Progress. It received mixed reviews for its literary merits. [20] Library Journal stated,

Opera superstar Dame Joan Sutherland gives an exhaustive account of her performing and recording career over four decades. From her early years in Australia and with the Covent Garden company in London, to her daunting schedule at most of the major opera houses of the world, we read endlessly of where, when, and with whom she sang which roles. We're shown a sensible woman and a hard-working artist, with a healthy ego tempered by a sense of humor that is often self-deprecating. [21]

The work includes a complete list of all her performances, with full cast lists.

Her official biography, Joan Sutherland: The Authorised Biography, published in February 1994, was written by Norma Major, wife of the then prime minister John Major. [22]

In 2002, she appeared at a dinner in London to accept the Royal Philharmonic Society's gold medal. She gave an interview to The Guardian in which she lamented the lack of technique in young opera singers and the dearth of good teachers. [16] By this time she was no longer giving master classes herself; when asked by Italian journalists in May 2007 why this was, she replied: "Because I'm 80 years old and I really don't want to have anything to do with opera any more, although I do sit on the juries of singing competitions." [23] The Cardiff Singer of the World competition was the one that Sutherland was most closely associated with after her retirement. She began her regular involvement with the event in 1993, serving on the jury five consecutive times and later, in 2003, becoming its patron. [24]


On 3 July 2008, she fell and broke both of her legs while gardening at her home in Switzerland. [25] She completely recovered and attended a 2009 luncheon hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in honour of members of the Order of Merit.


On 11 October 2010, Sutherland's family announced that she had died at her home at Les Avants in Switzerland the previous day of cardiopulmonary failure – "the heart just gave out...When it came to the point that she physically couldn't do anything, she didn't want to live any more. She wanted to go, she was happy to go, and in the end she died very, very peacefully." [26] [27] [28] Though she recovered from her fall in 2008, it led to more serious health problems. [29] A statement from her family said "She's had a long life and gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people." Sutherland had requested a small, private funeral service. [26] Her funeral was held on 14 October and Opera Australia planned a tribute to her. [29] Artistic director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini, said "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." [29] Sutherland is survived by her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. [30] [31]

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said, "She was of course one of the great opera voices of the 20th century," adding that Dame Joan showed a lot of "quintessential Australian values. She was described as down to earth despite her status as a diva. On behalf of all Australians I would like to extend my condolences to her husband Richard and son Adam and their extended family at this difficult time. I know many Australians will be reflecting on her life's work today." [32]

Memorial service

A State Memorial Service on 9 November 2010, arranged by Opera Australia, was held at the Sydney Opera House. [33] Speakers at the service were Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia; Professor Marie Bashir, the Governor of New South Wales; Moffatt Oxenbould, the former Artistic Director of Opera Australia; and Sutherland's son, Adam Bonynge. The service was broadcast live by both ABC1 television and ABC Classic FM (radio) and streamed globally by ABC News 24. Further memorial services were held in Westminster Abbey on 15 February 2011, [34] and in New York City on 24 May 2011, which was hosted by Marilyn Horne with an appearance by Richard Bonynge. In attendance were Sherrill Milnes, Norman Ayrton, Regina Resnik, and Spiro Malas.


Vocal timbre

External audio
Nuvola apps arts.svg You may hear Joan Sutherland as Donna Anna in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Don Giovanni with Carlo Maria Giulini conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra in 1961 Here on

Described as "fresh," "silvery" and "bell-like" until 1963, [35] Joan Sutherland's voice later became "golden" and "warm"; [3] music critic John Yohalem writes it was like "molten honey caressing the line." [35] In his book Voices, Singers and Critics, John Steane writes that "if the tonal spectrum ranges from bright to dark, Sutherland's place would be near the centre, which is no doubt another reason for her wide appeal." [3] According to John Yohalem, "Her lower register was a cello register, Stradivarius-hued." [35] Her voice was full and rounded even in her highest notes, [36] which was brilliant, but sometimes "slightly acid." [37]

In 1971, Time writes an article comparing Sutherland and Beverly Sills,

Originally bright and youthful-sounding, her voice darkened as she transformed herself into a coloratura. There is a suggestion of Callas' famous middle register in Sutherland's vocal center—a tone that sounds as if the singer were singing into the neck of a resonant bottle. Today the Sutherland voice towers like a natural wonder, unique as Niagara or Mount Everest. Sills' voice is made of more ordinary stuff; what she shares with Callas is an abandon in hurling herself into fiery emotional music and a willingness to sacrifice vocal beauty for dramatic effect. Sutherland deals in vocal velvet, Sills in emotional dynamite. Sutherland's voice is much larger, but its plush monochrome robs it of carrying power in dramatic moments. Sills' multicolored voice, though smaller, projects better and has a cutting edge that can slice through the largest orchestra and chorus. Sometimes, indeed, it verges on shrillness. [...] In slow, legato music, Sills has a superior sense of rhythm and clean attack to keep things moving; Sutherland's more flaccid beat and her style of gliding from note to note often turn song into somnolence. Sills' diction in English, French and Italian is superb; Sutherland's vocal placement produces mushy diction in any language, but makes possible an even more seamless beauty of tone than is available to Sills. [38]

Describing Sutherland's voice, John Yohalem writes:

On my personal color scale, which runs from a voluptuous red (Tebaldi) or blood-orange (Leontyne Price) or purple (Caballé) or red-purple (Troyanos) to white-hot (Rysanek) or runny yellow-green (Sills), Sutherland is among the "blue" sopranos – which has nothing to do with "blues" in the pop sense of the term. (Ella Fitzgerald had a blue voice, but Billie Holiday had a blues voice, which is very different.) Diana Damrau is blue. Mirella Freni is blue-ish. Karita Mattila is ice blue. Régine Crespin was deep blue shading to violet. Sutherland was true blue (like the Garter ribbon). There is a coolness here that can take on the passion in the music but does not inject passion where the music lacks it, could possibly use it. [35]

Vocal category, size and range

External audio
Nuvola apps arts.svg You may hear Joan Sutherland as Elvira in Vincenzo Bellini's opera I Puritani with Richard Bonynge conducting the London Symphony Orchestra with Luciano Pavarotti as Arturo in 1974 Here on

Although she is generally described as a dramatic coloratura soprano, "categorizing Sutherland's voice has always been extremely difficult, both the size and the sound present definitional problems [...] Aside from singing some roles popular amongst coloratura sopranos, Sutherland's voice could not be more different." [3]

In a 1961 profile in The New York Times Magazine, Sutherland said she initially had "a big rather wild voice" that was not heavy enough for Wagner, although she did not realise this until she heard "Wagner sung as it should be." [9]

Regarding the size of Sutherland's voice, Opera Britannia praise "a voice of truly heroic dimensions singing bel canto. It is doubtful if any soprano in this repertoire has fielded quite so much power and tone as Dame Joan, and this includes Callas and Tetrazzini. The contrast with other sopranos who sing the same roles is appropriately enough stupendous, with rival prima donnas producing small pin points of sound as compared to Sutherland's seemingly endless cascades of full tone." [3] In 1972, music critic Winthrop Sargeant describes her voice "as large as that of a top-ranking Wagnerian soprano" in The New Yorker . [39] French soprano Natalie Dessay states, "She had a huge, huge voice and she was able to lighten suddenly and to take this quick coloratura and she had also the top high notes like a coloratura soprano but with a big, huge voice, which is very rare." [40]

Sutherland's vocal range extended from G below the staff (G3) [9] to high F (F6), or high F-sharp (F6), although she never sang this last note in a public performance. [3] [41]


During her career and after, Sutherland received many honours and awards. In 1961, she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). [42] That year she was named the Australian of the Year. [43] Sutherland is a Distinguished Member of the Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity. [44]

In the Queen's Birthday Honours of 9 June 1975, she was in the first group of people to be named Companions of the Order of Australia (AC) (the order had been created only in February 1975). [45] She was elevated within the Order of the British Empire from Commander to Dame Commander (DBE) in the New Year's Honours of 1979. [46]

On 29 November 1991, the Queen bestowed on Sutherland the Order of Merit (OM). [47]


In January 2004 she received the Australia Post Australian Legends Award which honours Australians who have contributed to the Australian identity and culture. Two stamps featuring Joan Sutherland were issued on Australia Day 2004 to mark the award. Later in 2004, she received a Kennedy Center Honor for her outstanding achievement throughout her career.

In 1992 Sutherland was a founding patron and active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust in London. A charity established by Isla Baring OAM, the daughter of Sir Frank Tait of J. C. Williamson's to support young Australian performing artists in the UK. [48] Sir Frank Tait was the Australian impresario who created and managed the Sutherland-Williamson tour of Australia in 1965. [49]

Sutherland House and the Dame Joan Sutherland Centre, both at St Catherine's School, Waverley, and the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (JSPAC), Penrith, are all named in her honour. [50]

John Paul College, a leading private school in Queensland, Australia, dedicated its newly established facility the Dame Joan Sutherland Music Centre in 1991. Sutherland visited the centre for its opening and again in 1996.

On 22 May 2007, the year of the centenary of the birth of soprano Lina Pagliughi, she received the award La Siòla d'Oro at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna. [51]

In 2012, Sutherland was voted into the first Hall of Fame of the magazine Gramophone . [52]


Sutherland performed live the following complete roles. [53]

First performanceComposerWorkRoleHouseConductorDirectorRemarks
Handel Acis and Galatea GalateaEastwood Masonic Hall, SydneyConcert performance
Purcell Dido and Aeneas DidoLyceum Club, SydneyConcert performance
Handel Samson Dalila and Israelite woman Sydney Town Hall Concert performance; Sutherland made her professional role debut as the Israelite woman on 14 October 1958
Goossens JudithJudith Sydney Conservatorium of Music GoossensSutherland's first complete staged opera
Puccini GiorgettaParry Theatre, RCM Richard Austin Peter Rice/Pauline Elliot
Mozart First lady ROH, Covent Garden Pritchard MesselSutherland's professional debut
Verdi Aida High PriestessROH, Covent Garden Barbirolli Cruddas
Bellini Norma ClotildeROH, Covent Garden Gui Barlow
VerdiAmeliaROH, Covent GardenPritchardBarlow/StoneSutherland's first leading role
MozartCountess AlmavivaROH tour, Edinburgh J GibsonGerard
Strauss Elektra OverseerROH, Covent Garden Kleiber Lambert
Britten Gloriana Lady RichROH tour, Bulawayo
Wagner HelmwigeROH, Covent Garden Stiedry Pemberton
Bizet Carmen FrasquitaROH, Covent GardenPritchard Wakhévitch
VerdiAidaAidaROH, Covent GardenE YoungCruddas
Weber AgatheROH, Covent Garden Downes Furse
Piccinni Lucinda Mackerras BBC radio broadcast
WagnerWoglinde and WoodbirdROH, Covent GardenStiedryHurrySutherland also sang the role of Helmwige, which she had sung previously; the other dates of the cycle were 2, 8, and 17 June
Offenbach AntoniaROH, Covent GardenDownesWakhévitch
Tippett JeniferROH, Covent GardenPritchardHepworthWorld premiere; Sutherland created the role
OffenbachGiuliettaROH tour, Glasgow DownesWakhévitch
OffenbachOlympiaROH, Covent GardenDownesWakhévitch
Weber Euryanthe EuryantheStiedryBBC radio broadcast
BizetCarmenMicaelaROH, Covent GardenDownesWakhévitch
MozartVitelliaPritchardBBC radio broadcast
MozartPaminaROH, Covent GardenJ GibsonMessel
WagnerEvaROH, Covent Garden Kubelík Wakhévitch
Handel Alcina AlcinaSt Pancras Town Hall Farncombe
Verdi Rigoletto GildaROH, Covent GardenDownesGellner
Mozart Glyndebourne Festival Opera Balkwill Rice
Scarlatti Mitridate Eupatore LaodiceAppiaBBC radio broadcast
Donizetti Emilia di Liverpool EmiliaPritchardBBC radio broadcast
Verdi Otello DesdemonaROH, Covent GardenDownesWakhévitch
Poulenc Dialogues of the Carmelites ROH, Covent GardenKubelíkWakhévitch
Haydn Applausus MusicusTemperantiaNewstoneBBC radio broadcast
Mozart Don Giovanni Donna Anna Vancouver Opera Goldschmidt Maximowna
Donizetti Lucia di Lammermoor LuciaROH, Covent Garden Serafin Zeffirelli This performance marked the beginning of Sutherland's international career
Handel Rodelinda Rodelinda Sadler's Wells Theatre FarncombePidcock
VerdiVioletta ValéryROH, Covent Garden Santi Fedorovitch
BelliniElviraGlyndebourne Festival OperaGuiHeeley
BelliniAminaROH, Covent GardenSerafinSanjust
Bellini Beatrice di Tenda Beatrice New York Town Hall Rescigno Concert performance; Sutherland first performed this role on stage on 10 May 1961
MozartThe Queen of the NightROH, Covent Garden Klemperer Eisler
Meyerbeer Maguerite de Valois La Scala Gavazzeni Nicola Benois
Rossini Semiramide SemiramideLa Scala Santini
Handel Giulio Cesare CleopatraSadler's Wells TheatreFarncombeWarre
BelliniNormaNormaVancouver Opera Bonynge McLance/Mess
Gounod Faust Marguerite Connecticut Opera BonyngeRome/Brooks van Horne
DonizettiMarieROH, Covent GardenBonyngeAnni/Escoffier
Delibes Lakmé Lakmé Seattle Opera Bonynge
Haydn L'anima del filosofo Euridice Theater an der Wien BonyngeLudwig
Donizetti Maria Stuarda Maria Stuarda San Francisco Opera BonyngePizzi
Donizetti Lucrezia Borgia LucreziaVancouver OperaBonyngeVarona
J.Strauss II Die Fledermaus RosalindeSan Francisco OperaBonynge
Massenet Esclarmonde EsclarmondeSan Francisco OperaBonyngeMontressor
VerdiLeonoraSan Francisco OperaBonyngeHager/Skalicki
Lehár Hanna GlavariVancouver OperaBonyngeVarona
Puccini Suor Angelica Suor Angelica Sydney Opera House BonyngeDigby
MassenetSitaVancouver OperaBonyngeMariani
Mozart Idomeneo ElectraSydney Opera HouseBonyngeTruscott
VerdiAmaliaSydney Opera HouseBonyngeLees/Stennett
Cilea Adriana Lecouvreur Adriana San Diego Opera BonyngeO'Hearn/Mess
Donizetti Anna Bolena Anna Bolena Canadian Opera Company, TorontoBonyngePascoe/Stennett
Thomas Hamlet OphélieCanadian Opera Company, TorontoBonyngeShalicki/Digby/Stennett



Sutherland made various recital and lieder recordings, usually with Richard Bonynge, many of them originally double-LPs. Some are still available in CD-format.

In 2011 Decca re-released these recitals in a 23-CD set (Complete Decca Studio Recitals, Decca 4783243) comprising:

Opera recordings (non-exhaustive)

Vincenzo Bellini

Georges Bizet

Giovanni Bononcini

Francesco Cilea

Léo Delibes

Gaetano Donizetti

Charles Gounod

George Frideric Handel

Jules Massenet

Giacomo Meyerbeer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Jacques Offenbach

Giacomo Puccini

Gioachino Rossini

Ambroise Thomas

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  18. Hide, Carolyn (1996). "Background Paper 9 1995–96: The Recent Republic Debate—A Chronology". Background Papers published 1995–96. Australian Parliamentary Library. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2007. 7 October 1994 Dame Joan Sutherland addressed a lunch organised by Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and said: I was brought up having a British passport and it upsets me that I don't have a British passport now ...; When I go to the post office to be interviewed by a Chinese or an Indian – I'm not particularly racist – but I find it ludicrous, when I've had a passport for 40 years.
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  53. This list is taken from the complete list of Sutherland's performances up to and including 18 December 1986 on pp. 204–241 of Norma Major's book Joan Sutherland, published 1987

Further reading