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The Gift of Genius

The Gift of Genius

Last week saw the passing of a woman both humble and great, Dame Joan Sutherland.

Sixty years ago Joan Sutherland won a competition that allowed her to sail away to London and learn to forge her gift into an art form that has given us back bel canto singing, something that had all but disappeared with the last of the formidable castrati, singers whose voices could be trained to both soar and tremble.

The operas she was able to reinstate with her husband Richard Bonynge, are now part of every great opera house’s repertoire, but before Maria Callas and Dame Joan Sutherland brought their skills and gifts to bear, the great colaratura roles had remain unsung for decades.

I first heard a recording of Dame Joan singing Lucia di Lamermoor in 1972, and I was lucky enough to see her perform twice, twenty years apart. I am so grateful to have sat, and stood, in an auditorium to witness the phenomenon that was her voice. Her recordings are with us to remind us what the human voice, and spirit, can rise to.

Yours in Design


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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