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Sutherland's phenomenal career spanned more than 40 years.
It included over 1800 performances, over 50
operatic roles, and over 80 recordings most
of them with Richard Bonynge as conductor or accompanist.
Joan Sutherland was awarded Commander of the Order of the British
Empire in 1961, became a Companion of the Order of
Australia in 1975, and ultimately became Dame Joan
Sutherland in the Queen's New Year Honors for 1979.
Richard Bonynge was awarded the Commander of the Order of the
British Empire in 1977 and became an Officer of the
Order of Australia in 1984.
In 1989 France honored both of them as Commandeurs des arts
et des lettres in recognition of their services to French
1990 Dame Joan bid the opera world farewell. She sang in her last staged
performance as Marguerite de Valois in the Sydney Opera House production
of Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots and gave her final concert performance
in a gala duet with Luciano Pavarotti and Richard Bonynge conducting
at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. For the unknown Australian
singer with the modest dreams, it had been a life like no other's. And
all the world is the happier for it
Maestro Bonynge, who had no formal training in conducting, has had a
most illustrious career as conductor, scholar of bel canto, connoisseur
of ballet music, and astute collector. Beloved by singers, he is today
one of the most sought-after conductors of opera and wields his baton
in the world's great houses.
In his foreword to their book, the Maestro writes with characteristic
But granted all this we don't really know how it all happened. We are
both supremely ordinary people with the most ordinary tastes in the
world. We are both full of energy and don't know the meaning of boredom.
We love life and are happy it has worked out the way it has.
We can only wish them many more years of their ordinary but
happily charmed lives!