Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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RIP Ben Bradlee

RIP Ben Bradlee
One of our nation's best.

Friday, October 15, 2010

FAREWELL "LA STUPENDA!" Dame Joan Sutherland--November 1926--October 2010


Dame Joan Sutherland, who Luciano Pavarotti called "The Voice of the Century," died last Sunday, and the world of Opera and its fans mourn the loss.


Through my parents, who were born in Italy, I learned to love and appreciate opera as they listened to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts every Saturday afternoon.  My grandfather had a collection of Enrico Caruso 78s that he listened to on Sundays, after we had all eaten a typical Italian Sunday dinner.


At one time in Italy's past, every town had an opera house (Venice once had over 30 opera houses.)  Opera was to the Italian people in the 19th and early 20th centuries what baseball was to America in the '50s and '60s. Young and old alike were passionate about it.


I first heard Dame Joan Sutherland sing "Lucia di Lammermoor" sometime in the '70s, when her operatic career had been established and she had teamed up with Luciano Pavarotti to sing some of the greatest operas in the Italian repetoire--Verdi, Donezetti, Rossini, Bellini, Puccini.  I have many of her recordings.  Among my favorites:  "I Puritani," "Norma,"  "La Traviata," and, of course, "Lucia di Lammermoor."


The Met used to go on the road and bring opera to Boston (we demolished our opera house sometime in the '60s and never rebuilt it.  Cultural Boston does not have an opera house!) I eagerly awaited the Met's visits and have seen some of the great singers perform live:  Robert Merrill, Anna Moffo, Sherrill Milnes, Richard Tucker, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni, Jose Carreras, and many more.  Unfortunately, I never saw Dame Sutherland in a live performance.


But I've enjoyed her performances on PBS, digital recordings, and DVDs.  Her voice was incomparable and there will never be another like her.


Farewell Dame Joan.  Thank you for  the beauty of your voice and all the joy you have given us.


 

3 comments:

tnlib said...

Somehow, that sad bit of news flew right by me. My family wasn't Italian but we too listened to the Texaco Metropolitan Opera broadcast every Saturday. You'd gag if you knew how many 78s I used to have until just a few years ago and we played them on this huge beautifully carved Victrola that stood about 5' high x 3' wide with that funny little arm.

Family and friends often debated who had the better voice, who had the most perfect pitch or the most warmth - Callas or Sutherland. And then there was Tibaldi. I was too young to know the difference. Now I don't care. Each of them possessed a voice that I can only wish that I had been endowed with.

Sad news indeed.

Pamela D. Hart said...

Shaw: How sad. She had a beautiful voice. I love opera, even though I don’t speak a word of Italian!

Ten year Jackie Evancho, who came in 2nd place on America’s Got Talent, just received a record contract, lives in a township next to mine (like 10 minutes away) and has an amazing voice -–I can only imagine what she’ll be like in about 15 years!

Shaw Kenawe said...

To the deleted anonymous commenter, I have 4 words you will live with for the next 2+ years:

PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA.


(and his educated, beautiful, charming wife.)

LOL!