On the front page of Tuesday’s (10/12) New York Times, Anthony Tommasini writes, “Joan Sutherland, one of the most acclaimed sopranos of the 20th century, a singer of such power and range that she was crowned ‘La Stupenda,’ died on Sunday at her home in Switzerland, near Montreux. She was 83. Her death was confirmed by her close friend the mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne. It was Italy’s notoriously picky critics who dubbed the Australian-born Ms. Sutherland the Stupendous One after her Italian debut, in Venice in 1960. And for 40 years the name endured with opera lovers around the world. Her 1961 debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Donizetti’s ‘Lucia di Lammermoor,’ generated so much excitement that standees began lining up at 7:30 that morning. Her singing of the Mad Scene drew a thunderous 12-minute ovation. Ms. Sutherland’s singing was founded on astonishing technique. … Ms. Sutherland developed incomparable facility for fast runs, elaborate roulades and impeccable trills. … She became an international sensation after her career-defining performance in the title role of ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at Covent Garden—its first presentation there since 1925—which opened on Feb. 17, 1959.”

Posted October 12, 2010