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Dame Joan Sutherland Memorial Service -

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(generated from captions) the greatest opera companies

and concert halls of the world,

to modest musical clubs across

our vast continent. Eloquent

cascades of gratitude evoked

her incomparable voice.

nurtured here in Sydney, a voice

voice which gave early promise

from her schoolgirl years. Her first appearance at Covent

Garden in 1952 as the First Lady

Lady in the Magic Flute was

followed just months later by

leading roles in some of

opera's greatest classics.

Mozart Verdi Briton even

heights in both voice and Wagner. Ascending

acclaim, she was called to the dazzling demands of Lucia De

Lammamoor and into operatic

history. Some here this morning

may recall the unforgettable

1965 Sutherland Williamson

grand opera company with the

young Luciano Pavarotti.

Indeed, a powerful impetus followed to complete this great Opera House for Australia, to create also the finest company in Opera Australia.

Much has been said and written

about her spell binding performances. First in London,

then around the world as Dame

Joan with the inspirational

wisdom and knowledge of her

husband Richard Bonynge

presented a renaissance of the

great Belcanto works of Bollin,

Donasetti and Handel, works in danger of sliping from repertoire. We must never

forget that it was Richard, a

consummate musician in his own

right, who heard so early in Joan's career the potential

jewels of her voice. It may be audacious, but certainly it is

valid to compare the dimensions

of the musical life in

Australia, the musical

reputation of Australia, in the

years before Dame Joan and

Richard, with the years which followed. When they symbolised and gave brilliant young

Australian musicians of every

voice, of every instrument, the

courage to strive to fulfil

their aspirations of excellence

upon the world stage. Indeed,

their return to Australia on

each occasion brought joy to

their professional colleagues

here, and to countless music

lovers and students. As one

privileged to know

the years, they are innate

grace and generosity were equal

to their musical strengths. Many will have shared in this

Sydney Opera House some

Joan directed by Moffatt glorious performances of Dame

Oxenbould. Dame Joan devoted Joan directed by Moffatt

wife and loving mother, order

of merit, companion of the

Order of Australia, Dame

British Empire - these honours

and more acclaim her priceless contribution. On the occasion

of Joan's concert debut, in Sydney, a 20-year-old

performing in Henry Purcell's

Dido and Aneis, Dido's final

aria as she is leaving the

world exclaims "Remember me,

remember me." Dame Joan, great

Australian, the world will

never forget you. Thank

you. (Applause)


After Richard Bonynge himself our next himself our next guest speaker

probably had the closest

association with Dame Joan's

extraordinary career in

Australia. Please welcome Opera Australia's longest serving Australia. Please welcome Opera

artistic director, Moffatt

Oxenbould. (Applause) Thank you. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

In recent weeks, many sincere

and affectionate words have been spoken and written in tribute tribute to Dame Joan

Sutherland. Her talent,

humanity, and sense of responsibility have been

commended, and her unpretentiousness remarked

upon. Some have used the word

it as a compliment. But Joan

Sutherland was far from

ordinary. On so many levels, as

an artist, an Australian, a colleague, and an artist, an Australian, a colleague, and a friend, she

was extraordinary. Having won two major Australian singing

competitions, Joan Sutherland

left Sydney in 1951, dreaming

of a career in opera. Her

ambition was comparatively

modest, to sing on the stage at Garden, something she was to realise in

realise in October 1952, but

only after four separate auditions. Seven years later

she sang Lucia Di Lammermorr

for the first time in a

her a star dazzling performance that made

her a star overnight. Very soon

she was singing in the greatest

Opera Houses of the world. One noted American noted American critic said it

all: she came, she sang, she conquered. In married Richard Bonynge, a

fellow Australian musician who

had the foresight to recognise

that the dramatic repertoire in

which she was being cast was

not the vocal direction with in which she should be heading. He

believed she had the ability to

sing the repertoire of the

great 19th century prima donnas, for whom Rossini, great 19th century prima

Bellin and Donacetti had

written such bravura scores and

embrace these operas, of which he gave her the confidence to

she was to prove such a stupendous exponent. The

artistic and life partnership

stands as a wonderful enduring of Richard and Joan Bonynge

love story, each as love story, each as strong and greatly gifted individuals,

together they really were extraordinary. Back home,

Australian Opera lovers

shores of Joan's triumphant devoured news that reached our

progress. Each new recording

thrilled us and we

Sir Frank Tait again on home soil. In 1964,

Sir Frank Tait of JC Williamson s theatres announced that the

Firm as Williamsons was known

was bringing Sutherland back to

Australia in the following here

to head a specially formed

opera company whose artistic director would be Richard

Bonynge. All of us lucky enough

to have been involved in that

historic 1965 season had high historic 1965 season had high

expectations of the reality of

having Sutherland in our midst. But I'm certain none of us had

any idea that these

expectations would be so hugely

exceeded. When we first heard

her sing, jaws dropped, as we

marvelled, not just at

technical brilliance and virtue

wos tee, but at the sheer

beauty of her God-given voice and its ability and

and its ability to make immediate contact with the

depths of one's emotional core.

But perhaps the most happily

surprising discovery was that

while our star was a true

leading lady

disciplined and professional

attitude to our work together,

she was also a fantastic

colleague, with no airs or

graces about graces about her stellar

status. She was a real team player. A

player. A star player

definitely, but one who shared

the sense of privilege we all

felt at being given the

opportunity to be involved

professionally in such an

amazing operatic adventure in

our own country. The curtain

call after the

of the Melbourne season in 1965

is something one will never

forget. As an old rehearsal

forget. As an old rehearsal piano was pushed

in response to the audience's

insistent chanting that

Australia's beloved star should

sing 'Home Sweet Home'. How she sang

sang it, I will never know. But

I do know that it was one of

those rare occasions when the

bond between artist and

audience was acknowledged with overwhelming love

overwhelming love and mutual

respect. Nine eventful years

went by before the Bonynges

returned to Australia to appear

with the Australian Opera in the Sydney house in a new production of 'The Tales of

Hoffman'. At the end of the

triumphal first night, 13 July

1974, Joan and Richard were

invited to become life members

of the company. An invitation of the company. An invitation they willingly accepted. And

from that day onwards, both

these great Australian artists played a personal as well as a

professional role in the

company's life. Sharing triumph

and adversity, joy and sadness.

Leading by example. And encouraging members company, young and not so young, in the pursuit of excellence. Dame Joan was undoubtedly

undoubtedly one of the greatest

singers the world has singers the world has ever known. An artist who richly deserved the honourifiy prima

deserved the honourifiy prima donna, First Lady, because she realised that being a star obligations among the accolades. She was always conscious of the expectations

of her audience. Loyal to the

managements that engaged her, to her colleagues and to her colleagues and most of

all to the music she sang. She

was not a performer who assumed

something would go well because

it had gone well in the past.

Every performance day, she went

through her score, even though

she may have sung the music on

countless occasions. Her life

was disciplined and her humility absolutely genuine.

Her high profile and international international eminence

naturally made her an advocate

and ambassador for opera in

Australia. A role Australia. A role she played with persuasive grace and

considerable passion. Her

performances simulcast across

the nation on ABC Radio and television brought her artistry

into the homes of Australians

who had perhaps never been

inside an Opera House. Under inside an Opera House. Under the scrutiny of television


honesty as a performer shone through. Her public loved her.

And she loved them back. A couple of years after her final

stage performance, Joan told me

that she didn't miss the

performing so much, but she did

miss the people. She thrived on

a camaraderie founded on mutual trust, respect trust, respect and affection.

She loved chatting at a table

of colleagues in the green room

during rehearsal breaks. And

with Sandy her dresser Shirley who looked after her

wigs planning the logistics and

sequence of make-up, costume

and wig changes for each

production. And when in a long opera was

opera was the best moment to to have a cup of tea. (Laughter)

Future generations and all of

us who were privileged to hear and

and work with her are

extraordinarily fortunate to

have such a rich document of

her artistry available to us on

CD and DVD. These recordings

are part of our national

cultural heritage, to wonder at

in years to come, as we at the achievement of the young Australian

Australian soprano who on the

17th of July 1951 sailed past

Bennelong Point, through Sydney

Heads with the dream of singing on the stage of the Royal Opera

House Covent Garden. How hard

she worked and how stupendously

that dream came true. This

gracious lady now has a high

place in the pantheon of the

lyric stage, as one of the finest artists of any

generation. Forever woven into music's history. On behalf of

her many colleagues and friends

I give thanks for the life of Dame Joan Sutherland, who

shared with us her shared with us her joy in

singing, and always gave us her very

very best, inspiring, thrilling, provoking, and

encouraging us to believe that

we, like her, but in our own

ways, had the possibility of

doing extraordinary things.


Ladies and gentlemen, it is

now my very great honour to

welcome Mr Adam Bonynge to the

stage. (Applause) Distinguished guests, ladies

and gentlemen - to begin with,

I'd like to pass on my father's

apologies for not attending.

His work commitments and flight

schedules did not enable him to

make the trip. My mother died

peacefully. Holding his hand

and the funeral a few weeks ago

was a private one desired. I'm going to share

with you the eulogy I gave on with you the eulogy I gave on

the 14th of October. All my

life, people have asked me the same same question: what is it like

to be the son of such a

superstar/legend? (Laughter) I

always thought it a stupid

question, and to be frank, a

very difficult one to answer.

She was my mother. What else

was there to say? However, over

the past few days, I have had

time to reflect. And I will attempt to shed some light

this query. First and foremost,

she was a loving mother who always ensured that

always ensured that I was 100%

cared for. Whether it was education, well-being,

opportunities or the clothes on

my back, I had an advantage on the

the field. She was the most

unassuming person you could

meet. Nothing was too trivial

for her. Some examples - there

is only one way to stack a

is only one way to stack a dishwasher. (Laughter) all been subjected to the dishwasher training regime that

she advocated. No known person

has ever managed to get so much

into one suitcase into one suitcase as she did.

And it all came out uncreased.

She had plenty of practice as

she often had to do things at

five minutes' notice or five

minutes before they embarked on

a tour. Breakfast preparation.

Another speciality. Grapefruits dissected with surgical

precision. Coffee mixture perfectly

table set by 9pm every night.

No matter whether it was

Christmas Eve or New Year's

Eve. She loved Eve. She loved shopping.

Haberdashery, pastries, and

clothes for me. She always said

how good the service was. Maybe

she got some special

treatment. (Laughter) She

certainly never demanded or

expected it. Her ironing talent

was second to none. Many a time

when she visited us, her first

words were "Got any ironing hanging around?" (Laughter) I never really appreciated the

jeans, T-shirts and socks but the shirts, they were

immaculate. Chief puff pastry biscuits and white wine

spritzer at 6pm, bliss. She

loved to laugh. The simple

things in life were her joy and

she made the best Scones in the

universe. Secondly she was a

mentor and what a mentor! What

an example she set in work ethic. She made sacrifices, lots of them. But

you do not get to the top of

your profession and remain an

admired or inspirational individual unless you're doing

something right. She brought something right. She brought

new meaning to "the show must

go on". She gave me all the

tools to embark on life's journey. I'm still travelling

and I'm sure that will

continue. And thirdly, she was continue. And thirdly, she was

my legend. No explanation

needed. If I wanted to sum up would use the word dedicated.

Dedicated to her family,

dedicated to her career, and dedicated to her friends and

work colleagues. An unrealistic task but one she

undertook with love and

determination. She is now in

what is for her what is for her a happier

place. We're all very fortunate

as she will always be close to

us. All we need to do is put on

a record, watch a video or a

DVD or fire up our iPods. She will continue to give all pleasure for the rest of our

days. And I'm sure that

motherly figure will look down

on us all with a gleam in her

eyes and a smile on her face.

I've got a funny feeling she's probably up there now. I would

like to take this opportunity

to thank everyone for their

condolences, thoughts and messages. Reading the many

anecdotes and your own mem mees

of Mimi have given my father,

my wife Helen and I had

children strength during this

difficult period. My heartfelt (Applause)

Our thanks to the Opera

Australia chorus which today

includes some of our finest

principal artists, past and

present. (Applause)

And the Australian Opera

And the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra for Ballet Orchestra for their

performance of Va, pensiero

from Nabucco by Guiseppe Verdi

conducted by Brian Castles

Onion. And my thanks to you all

both here in the Sydney Opera

House or wherever you may be in

Australia for being part of our

tribute to and celebration of

the wonderful life and career

of Dame Joan Sutherland. The

last word of course should be Dame