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16 October, 2012

Opera Theatre Officially Renamed
Joan Sutherland Theatre

The Opera Theatre at the Sydney Opera House has been officially renamed the Joan Sutherland Theatre as a lasting tribute to one of Australia’s and the world’s greatest singers.

Premier Barry O’Farrell was joined at today’s renaming ceremony by Dame Joan’s husband, the legendary conductor Richard Bonynge AC CBE, their son Adam Bonynge and other members of the Bonynge and Sutherland families.

"I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to Dame Joan - her contribution to the Sydney Opera House and the Opera Theatre was immeasurable," Mr O’Farrell said.

“Dame Joan put the Sydney Opera House on the world’s performing arts’ map.

“It was the newly opened Sydney Opera House where Dame Joan returned to perform with Opera Australia after conquering the international stage and being crowned ‘La Stupenda’.

“It meant two extraordinary gifts for Sydney – the stunning new Sydney Opera House and the return of Dame Joan.

“Such was her talent, Dame Joan attracted the greatest opera singers in the world to perform with her in front of her Sydney audiences.

“The renaming of the Opera Theatre in Dame Joan’s honour ensures her name and legacy will remain with us for generations and we’ll all be reminded of her glorious talent.

“Joan Sutherland was born in Sydney and she gave her famous farewell performance here 22 years ago in October 1990.

“Since its opening in 1973, just one other individual has been honoured by the renaming of an Opera House venue – the architect of the World Heritage-listed building, Jørn Utzon.

“It is appropriate that from today, the two people most associated with Sydney Opera House, the man who created it, Jørn Utzon, and the woman who made it sing, Joan Sutherland, should be remembered in this way."

Mr Bonynge said the renaming of the Opera Theatre after his late wife was a great honour.

“I am more than delighted the Opera Theatre will be re-named as a tribute to my late wife Dame Joan Sutherland and so is the whole Bonynge family. They are actually very thrilled and feel very honoured," Mr Bonynge said.

Dame Joan's contribution to the world of opera was acknowledged with a number of honours, including Australian of the Year in 1961, a companion of the Order of Australia in 1975 and a Dame of the British Empire in 1979.

Pavarotti described her as having the ‘voice of the century’, and an adoring public named her ‘La Stupenda’.

Today’s ceremony was also attended by The Governor of NSW Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Minister for the Arts George Souris, Opera House CEO Louise Herron and Opera Australia CEO Adrian Collette AM.


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