Opera Australia Blog

Weekly round-up: Happy Birthday to Dame Joan, a diva disses Wagner and an NYE to remember


The wonderful Joan Sutherland in her signature role, Lucia di Lammermoor at the Sydney Opera House in 1980. Photo by Branco Gaica

This week in the opera world, Joan Sutherland fans celebrated what would have been La Stupenda’s 87th birthday. This photo is from the archives, from the 1980 Sydney Summer production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Happy birthday, diva.

FOR THE DIARY: The Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation will hold a concert in her honour in Rose Bay, Sydney on the 17th November. It features five singers including three Opera Australia principal artists.

The Melbourne Ring company enjoyed the last of the stage orchestrals for the Ring ahead of next week’s dress rehearsals.

Around the web

  • Opera Australia invites you to celebrate New Year’s Eve at the opera. Need a reason? Here are 10.
  • In an interview this week, Angela Gheorghiu took a side-swipe at Wagner and advised Jonas Kaufmann to stop singing the big man’s music. The article is in German, but a rough translation is “Wagner wrote such beautiful phrases, but as a singer you pay for that beauty.” via The Wagnerian
  • Closer to home, Sydney Independent Opera received a wonderful review for its production of Don Giovanni, featuring Oz Opera’s own Randall Stewart in the title role.
  • In the US, an interesting debate about public arts funding raised good points for people on either side of that particular fence.  A great summary “Beyond the Culture Wars: a Conversation” complete with video snippets can be found here.

Just for fun

  • WATCH: The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra invited commuters to conduct Beethoven 7th Symphony at Southern Cross Station. Look out for a rather dapper conductor among the masses (you can also catch him on stage singing Siegmund in the Melbourne Ring Cycle in just a few weeks!)
  • READ: For the purists, technology doesn’t belong with music. But this article finds an interesting potential for Google Glass: could they replace music stands for performers?
  • LISTEN: “It’s like a spongey piano!” – can a piano be a double bass? Roland Lamb has invented something called the Seaboard – a piano with vibrato and other sounds.


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