Tuesday, October 12, 2010

San Diego Opera's Ian Campbell discusses longtime colleague, Dame Joan Sutherland

A longtime colleague of Dame Joan Sutherland was San Diego Opera's General Director Ian Campbell, who I might add is a fellow Australian.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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. "
I highly encourage you to travel over to San Diego Opera's Blog Aria Serious and read Mr. Campbell's comments in their entirety.

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