Mr. Campbell had this to say about Dame Joan's passing:
"Joan's death ends, at least for now, an era of full-voiced coloratura singing. There is no soprano today with a sound to match hers, since however talented they be, singers of her roles cannot match the sheer outpouring of sound she delivered.Dame Joan performed with San Diego Opera some seven times: including 4 productions - Lucia di Lammermoor (1974), Die Fledermaus (1980 - with Beverly Sills pictured here), Adriana Lecouvreur (1983) and I Masnadieri (1984) and 3 concerts.
It was not a matter of "loudness" or "volume" but of fullness, roundness. Joan's voice filled every corner of every opera house in which she sang with a warm, rich sound which seemed to embrace the listener.
Her pin-point coloratura, still full and rich throughout a range beyond high D, was extraordinary. How she moved such a full sound so rapidly and effortlessly defied imagination.
Ian Campbell recounts the last time he saw Dame Joan:
I last saw her on June the second in London last year (2009). It was at a performance of Roberto Devereux at the Holland Park Festival. Richard was conducting and Joan and I were in the audience a few seats from one another. Everyone stood and applauded as she came in, a fitting tribute.I highly encourage you to travel over to San Diego Opera's Blog Aria Serious and read Mr. Campbell's comments in their entirety.
Joan had broken her legs in a recent fall and was struggling on two canes. She was frail. When I asked how she was managing she replied in typical style, "It's a bloody pain in the neck."
Every voice is so individual we can always say with confidence that we will never hear the like again. Joan sang in a style technique, with such a full sound, that she will be difficult to emulate.
But someone will follow in her footsteps eventually, and Joan will remain the touchstone for that technically brilliant, larger-voiced coloratura soprano whenever she does come along. "