Airs Saturday, July 14 at 7 p.m. It was in the notoriously opera-critical country of Italy that Joan Sutherland was christened “The Stunning One” after her debut in Venice in 1960. The previous year, after her “Mad Scene” in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the applause lasted 20 minutes. The next year, in anticipation of her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in the same role, the queue for standing room tickets began at 7.30 that morning.
A legend in her lifetime, many appraisals of Dame Joan’s remarkable virtuoso qualities have been written over the years, however this exclusive tribute, Dame Joan Sutherland, La Stupenda – A Celebration, brings listeners a new and unique dimension. Two of the world’s most distinguished singers, Marilyn Horne, who knew Dame Joan well and sang alongside her many times, and Thomas Hampson present their assessments of her achievements and their personal recollections of her both on and off the stage. Co-hosting the two hour program, Ms Horne and Mr Hampson will also introduce archive-recordings of Dame Joan in conversation about her life and career, a new interview with her husband and mentor Richard Bonynge that has been recorded for this celebration, tributes from other artists, and extracts from studio recordings Dame Joan made from 1959 up to her retirement in 1989.
Dame Joan Sutherland, La Stupenda – A Celebration is produced by Jon Tolansky, and the Executive Producer is WFMT’s General Manager Steve Robinson. This is the team that has previously brought listeners exclusive WFMT Radio Network opera and song documentaries on Maria Callas, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Angela Gheorghiu, Luciano Pavarotti, Lotte Lehmann, and Renata Tebaldi.