Tribute to Joan Sutherland
Our thoughts on the passing of Dame Joan.

There's very little that we can add to the superlatives in many of the published articles that mark the passing of Dame Joan Sutherland.

She was as Pavarotti said, 'the voice of the century'. Modest and self-effacing, Joan Sutherland said of herself that she was not a great beauty or the world's best at stage-craft  but she'd just been given this gift of a voice. (We'd be inclined to disagree with her first two observations but certainly not the last!)  She also said that to be an opera singer, you needed to have the 'constitution of a horse'.

Down-to-earth statements like these show her as the very antithesis of our image of the operatic 'diva' - no fussiness, no hysterics - some have even said 'anti-diva. A biography of her life, written when she was only in her thirties, by fellow Australian, Russell Braddon also told graphically of her stoicism in an early struggle with sinus and dental problems. Her brightness and generousity of spirit in her latter years - when not in the best of health - again demonstrated what remarkable strength of character she had. Add this to perhaps the most glorious female voice the world has known in our lifetime and any one of us, singer or non singer, is humbled.

The world is a poorer place without her but mercifully there are plenty of her recordings and reminders available to be enjoyed and studied following generations of young singers. Here are a few of our favourites:

Audio slideshow from the BBC:

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