A report on Joan Sutherland and Beverly Sills

Sutherland in 1975
Beverly Sills in 1956, photo by Carl Van Vechten
Sutherland in 1962
Sills in Manon, 1969
Joan Sutherland in 1990
Sills in 1984
The tombstone of Beverly Sills in Kensico Cemetery

Her farewell performance was at San Diego Opera in 1980, where she shared the stage with Joan Sutherland in a production of Die Fledermaus.

- Beverly Sills

In 1971, Time writes an article comparing Sutherland and Beverly Sills,

- Joan Sutherland
Sutherland in 1975

10 related topics with Alpha

Overall

Euphrasie Borghèse as Marie and François-Louis Henry as Sulpice in the premiere

La fille du régiment

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Opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a French libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard.

Opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a French libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard.

Euphrasie Borghèse as Marie and François-Louis Henry as Sulpice in the premiere
Mécène Marié de l'Isle sang Tonio.
Marie–Julie Halligner sang The Marquise of Berkenfield.
1910 poster for the opera by Emile Finot
Final curtain call of the Metropolitan Opera's performance of 24 December 2011 with (l to r) Lawrence Brownlee (Tonio), Nino Machaidze (Marie), and Ann Murray (Marquise)

It was revived at the Royal Opera, London, in 1966 for Joan Sutherland.

On 13 February 1970, in concert at Carnegie Hall, Beverly Sills sang the first performance in New York since Lily Pons performed it at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1943.

Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center

Metropolitan Opera

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American opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, currently situated on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

American opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, currently situated on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center
Giulio Gatti-Casazza
Gatti-Casazza's last week at the Met (March 22–29, 1935)
Artur Bodanzky at the Metropolitan Opera in 1915
Otto Hermann Kahn in Berlin, 1931
Metropolitan Opera House in 1905
The new Met Opera House
Staircase

Other celebrated singers who debuted at the Met during Bing's tenure include: Roberta Peters, Victoria de los Ángeles, Renata Tebaldi, Maria Callas, who had a bitter falling out with Bing over repertoire,, Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland, Régine Crespin, Mirella Freni, Renata Scotto, Montserrat Caballé, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Anna Moffo, James McCracken, Carlo Bergonzi, Franco Corelli, Alfredo Kraus, Plácido Domingo, Nicolai Gedda, Luciano Pavarotti, Jon Vickers, Tito Gobbi, Sherrill Milnes, and Cesare Siepi.

In addition to complete operas and gala concerts, television programs produced at the Met have included: an episode of Omnibus with Leonard Bernstein (NBC, 1958); Danny Kaye's Look-In at the Metropolitan Opera (CBS, 1975); Sills and Burnett at the Met (CBS, 1976); and the MTV Video Music Awards (1999 and 2001).

The composer in 1835

Maria Stuarda

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Tragic opera (tragedia lirica), in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffei's translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play Maria Stuart.

Tragic opera (tragedia lirica), in two acts, by Gaetano Donizetti, to a libretto by Giuseppe Bardari, based on Andrea Maffei's translation of Friedrich Schiller's 1800 play Maria Stuart.

The composer in 1835

The first staged performance in the US took place at the San Francisco Opera on 12 November 1971 with Joan Sutherland in the title role, while the first staged performances of the "Three Queens" operas together in the US took place in 1972 at the New York City Opera, all three operas staged by Tito Capobianco.

Presentations of the trio earned some degree of fame for American soprano Beverly Sills who took the starring role in each.

Giuditta Pasta in the title role

Anna Bolena

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Tragic opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti.

Tragic opera in two acts composed by Gaetano Donizetti.

Giuditta Pasta in the title role
Set design by Alessandro Sanquirico for the 1830 premiere
Rubini as Lord Percy in Anna Bolena
Disegno per copertina di libretto, drawing for Anna Bolena (undated).

In the 1970s, Beverly Sills earned a considerable degree of fame when she appeared in all three of Donizetti's "Tudor" operas at the New York City Opera.

(She also made studio recordings of all three operas.) And Anna was one of the last new roles performed by Dame Joan Sutherland, at San Francisco Opera in 1984.

Domenico Donzelli, Giuditta Pasta,
and Giulia Grisi (original cast)

Norma (opera)

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Tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after the play Norma, ou L'infanticide by Alexandre Soumet.

Tragedia lirica or opera in two acts by Vincenzo Bellini with libretto by Felice Romani after the play Norma, ou L'infanticide by Alexandre Soumet.

Domenico Donzelli, Giuditta Pasta,
and Giulia Grisi (original cast)
Librettist Felice Romani
Giuditta Pasta for whom the role of Norma was created
Poster advertising the 1831 premiere
Domenico Donzelli sang Pollione
Giulia Grisi sang Adalgisa
Vincenzo Negrini sang Oroveso
Giulia Grisi dressed as Norma. In 1831, she also sang the role of Adalgisa
Act 2 finale, Luigi Lablache as Oroveso, Giulia Grisi (as Norma), Dominique Conti as Pollione. Her Majesty's Theatre, London, 1843
Alessandro Sanquirico's set design for act 1, scene 2, for the original production
Drawing for Norma (undated)

Notable exponents of the title role in the post-war period have been Maria Callas, Leyla Gencer, Joan Sutherland, and Montserrat Caballé.

Throughout the decade, four other bel canto specialists debuted their Normas: Radmila Bakočević, Montserrat Caballé, Beverly Sills, and Renata Scotto.

Franz Lehár

The Merry Widow

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Operetta by the Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár.

Operetta by the Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár.

Franz Lehár
Lily Elsie in act 3, London, 1907
Louis Treumann and Mizzi Günther on the frontpage of a piano–vocal score, 1906
Elsie and Coyne in the London premiere
Donald Brian and Ethel Jackson in the original Broadway production (1907)
Joseph Coyne, London, 1907
Lily Elsie, London, 1907

New York City Opera mounted several productions from the 1950s through the 1990s, including a lavish 1977 production starring Beverly Sills and Alan Titus with a new translation by Sheldon Harnick.

An Australian Opera production starred Joan Sutherland, and PBS broadcast a production by the San Francisco Opera in 2002, among numerous other broadcasts.

Logotype symbolizing "a spectrum of many skills within the performing arts"

Kennedy Center Honors

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The Kennedy Center Honors are annual honors given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

The Kennedy Center Honors are annual honors given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

Logotype symbolizing "a spectrum of many skills within the performing arts"
The 2006 honorees at the Kennedy Center on December 6, 2006, with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush; from left, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Steven Spielberg, Dolly Parton, Zubin Mehta, Smokey Robinson, Vice President Dick Cheney and Second lady
 Lynne Cheney
2005 Kennedy Center Honorees Julie Harris, Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Suzanne Farrell and Tony Bennett with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, in the Blue Room at the White House, December 4, 2005.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin were honored in 2012 and are pictured here with President Barack Obama.
President Joe Biden giving a speech to the 2021 honorees Justino Díaz, Berry Gordy, Lorne Michaels, Bette Midler, and Joni Mitchell.
Kennedy Center honorees 2009 Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro, and Bruce Springsteen, with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the Blue Room, White House, December 6, 2009.
The 2019 honorees Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt and Sesame Street with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

The first host was Leonard Bernstein in 1978, followed by Eric Sevareid in 1979 (with Gene Kelly closing it) and Beverly Sills in 1980.

2004 – Warren Beatty, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Elton John, Joan Sutherland, and John Williams

Thérèse Tietjens in the title role

Lucrezia Borgia (opera)

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Melodramatic opera in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti.

Melodramatic opera in a prologue and two acts by Gaetano Donizetti.

Thérèse Tietjens in the title role
Disegno per copertina di libretto, drawing for Lucrezia Borgia (undated).

Lucrezia Borgia is often produced as a vehicle for a star soprano, including Leyla Gencer, Mariella Devia, Beverly Sills, Dame Joan Sutherland, Renée Fleming, Edita Gruberová and Sondra Radvanovsky.

Scenes from the Paris premiere

The Tales of Hoffmann

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Opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach.

Opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach.

Scenes from the Paris premiere
The death of Antonia (act 2) in the original 1881 production. In front: Adèle Isaac; in back (left to right): Hippolyte Belhomme, Marguerite Ugalde, Pierre Grivot, Émile-Alexandre Taskin, Jean-Alexandre Talazac.
Costume design for Hoffmann in act 1, 1903
Prologue (or epilogue), in the 1881 première
The Olympia act, as staged at the 1881 première
Antonia and Dr. Miracle, 1881
Giuletta act, 1881
The original E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776–1822)

Offenbach intended the four soprano roles be played by the same singer, for Olympia, Giulietta, and Antonia are three facets of Stella, Hoffmann's unreachable love. Similarly, the four villains (Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle, and Dapertutto) would be performed by the same bass-baritone, because they are all manifestations of evil. While the doubling of the four villains is quite common, most performances of the work use different singers for the loves of Hoffmann because different skills are needed for each role: Olympia requires a skilled-coloratura singer with stratospheric-high notes, Antonia is written for a lyrical voice, and Giulietta is usually performed by a dramatic soprano or a mezzo-soprano. Any performance with all three roles (four if the role of Stella is counted) performed by a single soprano in a performance is considered one of the largest challenges in the lyric coloratura repertoire. Notable sopranos performing all three roles include Karan Armstrong, Vina Bovy, Patrizia Ciofi, Edita Gruberová, Fanny Heldy, Catherine Malfitano, Anja Silja, Beverly Sills, Sonya Yoncheva, Luciana Serra, Ruth Ann Swenson, Carol Vaness, Faith Esham, Ninon Vallin and Virginia Zeani. All four roles were performed by Josephine Barstow, Sumi Jo, Mireille Delunsch, Diana Damrau, Julia Migenes, Elizabeth Futral, Marlis Petersen, Anna Moffo, Georgia Jarman, Elena Moșuc, Joan Sutherland, Melitta Muszely, Olga Peretyatko, Patricia Petibon, Pretty Yende, Jessica Pratt and Nicole Chevalier.

First edition of July 1724 printed by Cluer and Creake

Giulio Cesare

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Dramma per musica (opera seria) in three acts composed by George Frideric Handel for the Royal Academy of Music in 1724.

Dramma per musica (opera seria) in three acts composed by George Frideric Handel for the Royal Academy of Music in 1724.

First edition of July 1724 printed by Cluer and Creake
George Frideric Handel
Senesino, Cuzzoni and Berenstadt, probably in a scene from Flavio
The librettist Nicola Francesco Haym seated at the harpsichord, Marco Ricci, c 1709
Senesino, who created the role of Giulio Cesare
Francesca Cuzzoni, who created the role of Cleopatra
Anastasia Robinson, Countess of Peterborough, who created the role of Cornelia shortly before her retirement, British Museum
Caricature of Gaetano Berenstadt, who created the role of Tolomeo
End of sinfonia and beginning of Cleopatra's aria "V'adoro, pupille", act 2, scene 2, autograph manuscript, 1723, British Library
Part of final chorus and duet in minor key for Cesare and Cleopatra, act 3, autograph manuscript
The King's Theatre, London, where Giulio Cesare had its first performance
William Hodges: The Pantheon, Oxford Street, designed by Richard Wyatt in 1772
Plan by Lediard for on-stage firework display in the epilogue to the spectacle
Friedrich Chrysander
Oskar Hagen, the German art historian whose programme of Handel operas in Göttingen led to an international revival in performances of Handel operas
Thyra Leisner-Hagen, wife of Oskar Hagen and sister of the celebrated contralto Emmi Leisner, sang Cleopatra in Göttingen in 1922
Caesar giving Cleopatra the throne of Egypt, Pietro da Cortona, 1637
The Triumphs of Caesar: the Vase Bearers, Andrea Mantegna, Fifteenth century, Royal Collection
The Triumphs of Caesar: the Picture Bearers by Andrea Mantegna, fifteenth century, Royal Collection

In 1966, the New York City Opera revived the then virtually unknown opera seria with Norman Treigle as Cesare and Beverly Sills as Cleopatra.

There is also a 1963 recording of highlights with Margreta Elkins (Cesare), Joan Sutherland (Cleopatra), Monica Sinclair (Tolomeo), Marilyn Horne (Cornelia), Richard Conrad (Sesto) and Richard Bonynge conducting the New Symphonic Orchestra of London on Decca (coupled with a complete performance of Alcina).