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Dame Joan Sutherland: a great ambassador for Australia

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Dame Joan Sutherland - a great ambassador for Australia

12 October 2010 SC004/2010

Federal Arts Minister Simon Crean today paid tribute to Dame Joan Sutherland for her great contribution to arts on the world stage and at home in Australia.

Dame Joan, one of Australia’s finest and most popular opera singers, passed away at the age of 83.

“Dame Joan was a great ambassador for Australia. She never lost sight of her Australian upbringing and never forgot her many admirers at home,” Mr Crean said.

“Her commitment to the arts and arts companies was crucial to nurturing local talent and in building the organisations to present that talent to Australian audiences.

“Without Joan Sutherland and the excitement she generated in the 1960 and 70s with her incredible voice there might not be an Opera Australia company today.

“Her return to Australia at the height of her international success, led to a resurgence in opera in Australia.

“Tours and appearances by Dame Joan meant opera became more popular in Australia than ever before.

“She was also generous in teaching and supporting new artists - until very recently she attended opera performances in Australia.

“This is a sad day as we mark the passing of a great Australian, but we also celebrate her great achievements,” Mr Crean said.

In 1961 she was made Australian of the Year; in 1975 she was honoured as a Companion of the Order of Australia; in 1979 she was made a Dame of the British Empire; and in 1991 she received an Order of Merit.

Dame Joan passed away peacefully with her family by her side in Switzerland.

She is survived by her husband Richard Bonynge AO and son Adam.

Media Contacts

• Clinton Porteous (Mr Crean's office) 0403 369 588

Last Updated: 13 October, 2010