Dame Joan Sutherland was an internationally acclaimed Australian operatic soprano, widely regarded as one of the greatest bel canto singers of all time. She was born on November 7, 1926 in Sydney, Australia and attended St Catherine's School in Waverley. In the 1951 she travelled to London and studied at the Royal College of Music and was accepted into the Royal Opera Company, Covent Garden where she debuted in Mozart's ‘The Magic Flute’. In 1954 she married Australian conductor and pianist Richard Bonynge, and with his help began honing her flexible coloratura range. In 1959, Joan's work paid off as her Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor received critical acclaim. In 1960, she recorded the album The Art of the Prima Donna, which remains today one of the most recommended opera albums ever recorded: the double LP set won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Performance – Vocal Soloist in 1962. For the next few years, Joan travelled the world and performed on various stages. She made her Met debut as Lucia in 1961, and in the same year, her performance at Milan's La Scala earned her the nickname of ‘La Stupenda.’ Sutherland played an important part in a revival of interest in French opera, notably in neglected Massenet works such as ‘Esclarmonde’ and ‘Le Roi de Lahore’. During her career Joan Sutherland received many honours, including Australian of the Year in 1961, Dame of the British Empire in 1979, and the Order of Merit in 1991. Her last full-length dramatic performance was as Marguerite de Valois (Les Huguenots) at the Sydney Opera House in 1990, and her last public appearance, however, took place in a gala performance of ‘Die Fledermaus’ on New Year's Eve, 1990. After retirement, Sutherland made relatively few public appearances. She died at home in Switzerland in 2010 at the age of 83, following a long illness.