Thursday, October 14, 2010

a real diva worth remembering.

ok, so i'm not so much an opera buff.

i do like puccini.
& moonstruck is one of my favorite movies of all time.

but i've never been to a real-life opera.
& i've secretly turned off
npr's live broadcast of the met
on many a saturday afternoon.

nevertheless, i've heard of joan sutherland.

i guess a woman nicknamed "la stupenda"
by puccini's people
is likely to have been heard of,

even by non-opera fans the likes of me.

dame joan sutherland died this week at her swiss home,
at the age of 83 following a lengthy decline.

she was australian, the daughter of a studied mezzo-soprano
& a tailor who died on her sixth birthday.

her mother trained her until she was a teenager.
a little later, she trained under pianist, vocal coach
& conductor richard bonynge.
oh - & they got married, too.

it was bonynge who persuaded sutherland
to sing a coloratura repertoire.
she became a key force in the revitalization
of the early-19th-century italian opera
of the bel canto ["beautiful song"] style -
an approach to singing exemplified by
evenness throughout the vocal range
& exquisite agility.

in 1959, sutherland debuted
what became her breakthrough role -
as donizetti's "lucia de lammermoor."
her 'mad' scene garnered a twelve-minute standing o.

sutherland was among the
first ladies of international opera,
singing in almost fifty operas,
performing close to 225 times at the met,
recording dozens of albums,
winning two grammy awards,
being dubbed dame commander of the british empire,
& being called "the greatest voice of the century"
by colleague & friend luciano pavarotti.

sutherland retired in 1990,
following a stellar 40-year career.

she spent her 20 years of retirement
gardening, knitting, needlepointing,
occasionally judging vocal contests
& holding master classes,
& spending time with family.

sutherland leaves behind her husband of 56 years,
their one son, Adam, his wife, Helen,
& two grandchildren.

& the angels sing. stupendously.

think pink:
the breast cancer resource centers of texas puts together an annual fundraising calendar, featuring beautiful young breast cancer survivors modeling art bras created by austin-area artists, celebrities, & families/friends of survivors. click here for your 2011 art bra calendar.

image sources: wikimedia italia, novasblossoms.

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