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Joan Sutherland - The Reluctant Prima Donna
Joan Sutherland - The Reluctant Prima Donna
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 0min

The life of opera diva Dame Joan Sutherland is told through her own words and those of her contemporaries. An undistinguished opera singer for seven years at Covent Garden, the roles of Lucia di Lammermoor and Alcina then ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Classical, Documentary
Studio: Kultur Video
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 03/27/2007
Original Release Date: 03/27/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

"Too Much Assertion, Too Little Demonstration"
Stanley H. Nemeth | Garden Grove, CA United States | 03/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This hour-long television program was intended to commemorate the achievements of one of the indisputably great artists of the 20th century. It consists mostly of justly laudatory blurbs from such distinguished colleagues as Pavarotti, Domingo, Horne, Zefferelli, and Bonynge. Reduced to mere background music is Dame Joan's warbling of some snatches from "Lucia" and "Alcina." The principal drawback of this approach is that the singing of Sutherland that's included is constantly being trampled on by the words of the featured interviewees. Again and again, just as she's about to hit one of her fabled high notes, the volume diminishes and some talking head tells you how rare it is to have a big-voiced singer whose sound doesn't thin out in the vocal stratosphere. What we get, then, is mostly assertion, when a desirable and certainly more pleasurable demonstration would easily have been possible to include. The end result is the annoying feeling of having been in the company of people who speak noisily during a brilliant opera performance. Dame Joan deserves a better tribute than this."
More of the same
Fredamity | 03/30/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I've been a fan of Dame Joan for many years. I've met her several times and received mail from Switzerland. I have almost everything that she has recorded on video and audio. I felt it was not long enough (59 min.). I was hoping to see or hear something new. If you don't have any DVDs of Dame Joan I feel you will enjoy it, but someone like myself it's not what I was looking forward to."
A Special Tribute to the Great Lady
Elisa Zitano | Sacramento, CA | 05/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have been a devoted Sutherland fan since the early '60's, and I know a lot about her and her career. I understand that this DVD was done as an 80th birthday tribute, and it does her justice. The interviews with Franco Zefirelli and Norman Ayrton offer some delightful insider memories of the exciting early years of hard work at Covent Garden and early international stardom. Other interviews with admiring collegues, her husband and mentor Richard Bonynge, and Lotfi Mansouri, also give some very nice insight into the woman and her career. The photos of the 1959 "Lucia" and the Venice "Alcina" are wonderful, as are some of the rare film clips. As noted above, this is meant to be a "tribute," not a "critique" of her career, and it focuses on her early career, when she deservedly earned the title "La Stupenda" -- so don't expect any of the usual criticism of her later singing. This DVD is highly recommended."
The Greatest Prima Donna
Peter J. Eiswirth | St. Paul, MN | 04/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

""The Reluctant Prima Donna" is a must for fans of Sutherland, but anyone who enjoys great singing should buy this. No soprano has ever produced such a glorious sound, and there is an overabundance of vocal treasures to be found on this disc. It clearly defines the reasoning behind all the accolades she's earned over her lengthy career, with a wealth of her peers chiming in as to why they admire this great singer. I've viewed it many times and never fail to be thrilled by the beauty, technique, size and quality of the voice, and in my opinion the greatest singer of the 20th century. Highly recommended! pje"