La Stupenda

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Saturday, January 31, 2015

An Australian postage stamp featuring Dame Joan Sutherland. An Australian postage stamp featuring Dame Joan Sutherland. (rook76 /

This week host Debbie Voigt pays tribute to "Diva of the Day" Joan Sutherland — “La Stupenda." Voigt plays excerpts from Sutherland’s signature role, Lucia in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and highlight Sutherland’s vocal versatility singing all three women in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann. Sutherland will also be heard in excerpts from Rossini’s Semiramide and Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Also on the program, Voigt plays examples of singers who’ve sung different roles in the same opera, including Plácido Domingo and Voigt herself; and offers a comparison performance of “Yeletsky’s Aria” from Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades by two great Russian baritones, Pavel Lisitsian and Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

Plus, Voigt shares a story from her new memoir, "Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva," released Jan 27, on HarperCollins.

Program playlist:

Fidelio, Op. 72: "Mir ist so wunderbar"
Ludwig van Beethoven
Gundula Janowitz, soprano; Lucia Popp, soprano; Adolf Dallapozza, tenor; Manfred Jungwirth, bass
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Leonard Bernstein, conductor

The Tales of Hoffmann: Selections
Jacques Offenbach
Joan Sutherland, soprano
Orchestra of the Suisse Romande
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Il Trovatore: "Di quella pira"
Giuseppe Verdi
Placido Domingo, tenor
New Philharmonia Orchestra
Zubin Mehta, conductor

Il Trovatore: "Il balen del suo sorriso"
Giuseppe Verdi
Placido Domingo, baritone
Valencia Community Orchestra
Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor

Elektra: "Ich kann nicht sitzen" (Chrysothemis's scene)
Richard Strauss
Deborah Voigt, soprano; Natascha Petrinsky, mezzo
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Sir Richard Armstrong, conductor

Abduction from the Seraglio, K. 384: Act III Finale. Vaudeville: "Nie werd' ich deine Huld verkennen...Bassa Selim lebe lange!"
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Luba Orgonasova, soprano; Cyndia Sieden, soprano; Stanford Olsen, tenor; Uwe Peper, tenor; Cornelius Hauptmann, bass
Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Lucia di Lammermoor: Mad Scene
Gaetano Donizetti
Joan Sutherland, soprano
St. Cecilia Academy Orchestra; St. Cecilia Academy Chorus
Sir John Pritchard, conductor

Queen of Spades: Yeletsky's aria
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pavel Lisitsian, baritone
Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre
Alexander Melik, conductor

Queen of Spades: Yeletsky's aria
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor

Semiramide: "Alle piu calde immagini"
Gioacchino Rossini
Joan Sutherland, soprano; Marilyn Horne, mezzo
London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Rigoletto: "Bella figlia dell’amore"
Giuseppe Verdi
Joan Sutherland, soprano; Huguette Tourangeau, mezzo; Luciano Pavarotti, tenor; Sherrill Milnes, baritone
London Symphony Orchestra
Richard Bonynge, conductor

Comments [8]

Vespasian from Suffolk

All she did was scoop up to the high notes. Nothing but high notes.
She is an icon, right? Does that mean that I cannot criticize? Her husband would change the tempo at times to accommodate her.

Mar. 28 2015 01:21 PM
Karen Ditman from Silver Spring, MD

I'm just finishing the marathon of "The Sopranos" hosted by Deborah Voigt which started @ 9 a.m. this morning. I'm retired so I can be flexible with my time. This series is a real treasure and you should archive it and trot it out regularly, though not necessarily by airing a marathon. Debbie Voigt's sterling hosting talents are a credit to WQXR and the selections and narrative are of the highest quality. A real pleasure. This has been my second hearing of this series and I like it even better with repeating. Again, this clever innovative concept seems to be the norm for WQXR. You set your standards high and I appreciate that.

Feb. 11 2015 09:16 PM

Strange programming indeed...If you tuned in the middle, you would not know why it is called The Sopranos, let alone which one!

Jan. 31 2015 02:11 PM
Sandy from new jersey

I love this diva! she's incredible. My Favorite role of hers is on Lucia diLammermoor. Incredible Wagnerian soprano. <3. I love WQXR. I listen to this station daily in the morning, on my way to work. I like my mornings with "Bach".

Jan. 31 2015 01:37 PM
Alan from NJ

I find these so called tribute programs very unsatisfying. I am delighted that one of the greatest voices of the 20th century is being lauded today but if a show is going to celebrate a singer then why not truly showcase the singer's career and devote the entire program to them. These "strange interruptions" with music from "unrelated" singers/operas diminishes the tribute. The same was done when acknowledging the career of Anna Moffo and Leontyne Price recently. I find the programming awkward, uninspired and inconsistently satisfying. With few exceptions, this pre-opera performance show is a hodgepodge of music, although beautiful, as a whole, it is strangely disconnected and sometimes frustrating to listen to. If you are going to celebrate Dame Joan then let's hear more singing from "La Stupenda!"

Jan. 31 2015 12:40 PM

Maria was a great Lucia. Joan was a SPECTACULAR Lucia

Jan. 31 2015 12:30 PM
Fred Keller from Rio de Janeiro

for me the definitive lucia was so far maria callas!

Jan. 31 2015 09:07 AM
Sanford Rothenberg from Brooklyn

This program presents several interesting topics.Joan Sutherland to many represents the definitive Lucia,and stands as operatic history's foremost coloratura.In contrast to the typical short,petite coloratura (Pons,Peters,Dessay),Sutherland's larger physique helped to produce a larger sound which put her physically and vocally head and shoulders above the others.

Jan. 29 2015 12:46 AM

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