debut recital -
'No other single disc has these historic performances.'
Seven years after Joan Sutherland's 1952 Covent Garden debut in Die Zauberflöte, the Australian soprano ('La Stupenda') rocketed to overnight superstardom as Lucia in Franco Zeffirelli's 1959 Royal Opera production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with Italian conductor Tullio Serafin.
In the years that followed, Sutherland recorded the complete Lucia five times; first with Orchestra Santa Cecilia, Rome, and John Pritchard (1961); in New York with conductor Silvio Varviso (December 1964), next conductor-husband Richard Bonynge occupied the Covent Garden podium (1971), then at the Met, New York with Bonynge, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet (DVD, 1982), finally husband and wife joined Opera Australia Chorus and the Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra (DVD 1986).
As legendary American-born Greek soprano Maria Callas (1923-1977) finished the last of six complete Lucia recordings (10 June 1952, February 1953, September 1955, December 1956, June 1957 and March 1959), Sutherland made the role her own.
At that time a tiny handful of splendid Lucias ruled the operatic roost. At age 33 (1967) Renata Scotto completed three separate versions; ie Teatro San Carlo, Naples, conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni (Premiere Opera, CD2866-2, May 1967); RAI Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Turin, conducted by Francesco Molinari-Pradelli (June 1967) and the NHK Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bruno Bartoletti (live in Tokyo, September 1967, VAI DVD 4418)...
Copyright © 2 May 2011
Masterton, New Zealand