Monday, October 11, 2010

When the fat lady sings

Famed soprano Joan Sutherland dies age 83

GENEVA (AP) — Joan Sutherland, a former small town secretarial school student whose mastery of tone, astonishing range and vocal control vaulted her into the top echelons of opera, has died at 83 after a four-decade career that won her praise as the successor to legend Maria Callas.

Nicknamed "La Stupenda" — the Stupendous One — by her fans after a fantastic 1960 performance of Handel's Alcina and lauded by Luciano Pavarotti as "the voice of the century," she died Sunday at her home near Geneva, after what her family described as a long illness.

And it was not only Italian fans who were entranced. For Germans, she was the "Koloraturawunder." English-speaking opera-goers called her "The Incomparable" for her mastery of the coloratura — the vocal ability to effortlessly sing difficult trills and rapid passages in high registers.

I’m a fairly lowbrow kind of a guy, but even I knew of Sutherland’s amazing voice and reputation. R.I.P, Joan—you most certainly will be missed.

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