Joan Sutherland : The Art of the Prima Donna

Joan Sutherland : The Art of the Prima Donna


Joan Sutherland (soprano), Francesco Molinari-Pradelli conducting the Royal Opera House Orchestra & Chorus

Decca SXL 2256/7

Speakers Corner Records : 2 LPs 180 gram

Brand New and Sealed Record

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A1 - Arne : Artaxerxes : The Soldier Tir'd
A2 - Handel : Samson : Let The Bright Seraphim
A3 - Bellini : Norma : Casta Diva
A4 - Bellini : I Puritani : Son Vergin Vezzosa
B1 - Rossini : Semiramide : Bel Raggio
B2 - Bellini : I Puritani : Qui La Voce
B3 - Bellini : La Sonnambula : Come Per Me Sereno
B4 - Gounod :  Faust : The Jewel Song
C1 - Gounod : Romeo et Juliette : The Waltz Song
C2 - Verdi : Otello : The Willow Song
C3 - Mozart : De Entfubrung Aus Dem Serail : Marten Aller Arten
C4 - Verdi : La Traviata : Ah, Fors'e Lui and Sempre Libera
D1 - Thomas : Hamlet : The Mad Scene
D2 - Delibes : Lakme : The Bell Song
D3 - Meyerbeer : Les Huguenots : O Beau Pays
D4 - Verdi : Rigoletto : Caro Nome

Recorded in July and August 1960 at Kingsway Hall in London.

The art of the prima donna stands out like a shining star in the firmament of virtuoso song repertoire and the world of grand opera. And this double LP pays homage to this cult. It is of little importance that the majority of the divas who are praised in the cover text celebrated their success long before the days of the phonograph and that therefore no recordings of them exist. After all, Joan Sutherland with her wonderfully supple and artistically flexible soprano voice is more than compensation, and she gives us an idea of how these works would have sounded in the salons of the 18th and 19th century. 

Joan Sutherland is wonderfully British in her poised rendering of the opening work, Thomas Arne’s coloratura aria "The Soldier Tir’d", and in Handel’s jubilatory "Let The Bright Seraphim". But she earned her honorary title 'La Stupenda' by singing Italian repertoire. With utmost ease, agility and remarkable clarity in the top register, her voice gets right to the heart of bel canto. One of the most exquisite and beautiful roles is demonstrated in the demanding aria "Casta Diva" from Bellini’s "Norma", here sung in the original key. How lucky we are not to have to imagine how this great singer might have sounded, but can listen to her amazing voice over and over again.

The "golden age" of recordings was from 1955 to 1965, at the beginning of the LP and the stereo era, where pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings demonstrating unparalleled fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and illumination.