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In Australia

Sutherland: early years
"Voice of the Century"
Covent Garden
A career in bel canto

Bonynge: early years

The Conductor

Accolades
A mini-album
Partners in life

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Joan 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 music.

In 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 modesty:

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!


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