7 Stunning Joan Sutherland Performances

Joan Sutherland, one of opera’s greatest sopranos, died in Switzerland on Monday at the age of 83. Watch video of some of her most dazzling performances, from Lucia’s “mad scene” to a searing aria from Tosca.

“Il dolce suono...Spargi d'amaro pianto” (the “Mad Scene”) from Lucia di Lammermoor

In this dynamic 1988 performance from Teatro del Liceo de Barcelona, Sutherland sings “Il dolce suono...Spargi d'amaro pianto”—better known as the “mad scene”—from Gaetano Donizetti’s opera, Lucia di Lammermoor. Lucia was considered Sutherland’s breakthrough role.

I Puritani

Here Sutherland sings an aria which had been deleted from the original libretto of Vincenzo Bellini’s I Puritani. Before this performance, the aria had never been performed on television.

“Où va la jeune Hindoue?” (Bell Song) from Lakmé

In this 1976 performance of an aria from Lakmé by Leo Delibes, Lakmé (Sutherland) sings of a brave girl who saved Vishnu from wild animals.

“Casta diva" from Norma

Vincenzo Bellini’s popular “Casta diva” aria, from his opera Norma, comes alive thanks to the subtle grace of Sutherland’s exquisite voice.

“Vissi d'arte” from Tosca

Resplendent in jewels and a crown, Sutherland gives a searing performance of “Vissi d'arte” from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, as the title character wrestles with the decision of whether or not to give into Baron Scarpia’s advances in order to spare her lover from execution.


This fun clip gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into a recording session for assorted Wagner arias.

Sutherland and Pavarotti in Lucia di Lammermoor

Finally, a stunning duet from Lucia di Lammermoor starring one of opera’s greatest tenors, Luciano Pavarotti.