12 October 2010

'La Stupenda' in Canberra

As we mourn the passing of Dame Joan Sutherland, Canberra remembers her performing at local venues at least three times in her career.

As one of Stars of the Mobil Quest 1950, a very young Joan Sutherland performed at the Albert Hall on 15 September 1950. It was also the first outing of the Canberra Concert Orchestra conducted by Les Pogson. The Canberra Times declared it a “delightful concert”.

Local audiences did not see the soprano again until 27 August 1976 at the Canberra when she gave a recital accompanied by her husband Richard Bonynge. Canberra Times reviewer, WL Hoffman said it was “La Stupenda at her magnificent best…”

The couple again played the Canberra Theatre on 31 August 1980, when Joan played the title role in the Australian Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor and Bonynge conducted the orchestra.

All featured programmes and clippings are part of the ACT Heritage Library's performing arts ephemera collection. A list of holdings for performances at the Canberra Theatre can be found on the library's website.