A siren departs

Dame Joan Sutherland passed away this weekend.

I love opera whenever I hear it, though I have only a layman’s casual knowledge of that musical world — pretty much limited to the most famous operas, the most popular arias, the most acclaimed singers. But of those singers, Joan Sutherland ranks among the highest in my estimation. I remember listening to some bel canto recordings for a music history course in college, and being absolutely flabbergasted by Sutherland’s soprano in the “mad scene” of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor — the clear crystalline tone and the ornate trills, creating a sublime architecture of sound, an impossible vocal cathedral.

I had no idea the human voice could do anything like that. To this day, when I listen to that piece — especially her duet with the flute (starting at 3:14 in the video), a joyous virtuosic display of precision and clarity and sheer beauty — I have to pick up my jaw off the floor afterward. Such a voice is truly a gift to the world.

Celeste Headlee of The Takeaway gives a fuller appreciation here.

Update: John Schaefer of Soundcheck has another appreciation, with more excerpts from her recordings. Just listen to that voice!


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s