Addio a La Stupenda

Posted to Subscribers on 15 October 2010

Dear Subscribers,

You probably all realize by now that it's rare when something in my life makes itself known in a normal way. It's hard to tell whether I'm reminiscing or connecting past, present, and future, but a bolt went through me that Joan Sutherland was no more in this dimension. Surfing confirmed that "La Stupenda" has lifted out of body, no doubt the way was paved by a crescendo of glorious high notes. These events are very emotional for me so for those who haven't discovered the section of this site where my gratitude to those who brought their divine gifts into my life, it can be found here: In Memoriam.

It almost seems fitting that the first linked video is to her tenor, Luciano Pavarotti. So, if you have been reading my missives, you know that I have been a passionate opera buff for more than half a century. Moreover, I had the great good fortune to have seen Joan Sutherland in her landmark role as Lucia, followed two nights later by another performance with Anna Moffo, one of my grad school discoveries, in the role of Lucia. As these various threads weave together, a few events and incidents stand out as worthy of mention. One of the very early lessons a fan can consider is the difference between appearances and what is real. Joan Sutherland looked perfect for Wagnerian roles, but her voice was destined for bel canto. All of us can learn a great deal by recognizing the hiatus between what "seems" true and what is true.

Early in my professional life, I came down with mononucleosis. The trust company doctor sent me home for two weeks and another two weeks and another and another. I had started to feel better but he would not let me return to work so I would buy records on the way home from seeing the doctor and then design opera sets, including one for my favorite Sutherland performance: Norma. I won't say I had any talent at all, but I had imagination and a desire to coordinate the visuals with the audio. I hope I live long enough to accomplish a little of this nature.

Another fleeting thought was that 10, 20, 30, or 50 years from now, probably a century from now, we will still be listening to performances by Joan Sutherland but no one will care about cell phones and iPods much less peak oil or who won the World Series. We might still be brooding over what went catastrophically wrong with the greatest experiment in capitalism or the adventure in alleged democracy but it's doubtful very many people will care because civilization, in order to survive, will by then have been reinvented.

For those who wish to share my emotion over the departure of Joan Sutherland, here she is at the top of her register:


May greater music await her now!

Now, on another note completely, there is a not too surprising new study on antibiotics and breast cancer:

That will bring us back to Earth.

Many blessings,




Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2010



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