MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Joan Sutherland - The Legendary Debut Recital
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
Lucia di Lammermoor
(1835) “Ancor non giunse! ... Regnava nel silenzio” [13:04]; “Il doce suono ... Ardon gl’incensi” (Mad Scene) [16:05]
Linda di Chamounix (1842) “Ah tardi troppo … O luce di quest’anima” [6:13]
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
(1844) “Surta è la note … Ernani involami” [8:02]
I Vespri Siciliani (1855) “Mercè diletti amici” (Bolero) [3:31]; Georg Frederick HANDEL (1685-1759)
(1735) “Tornami a vagheggiar” [5:12]; “Ombre pallide” [10:45]
Dame Joan Sutherland (soprano)
Nadine Sautereau (soprano); Paris Opera Chorus; Paris Conservatoire Orchestra/Nello Santi; Philomusica of London/Sir Anthony Lewis
rec. 1959
REGIS RRC1364 [63:09]

Experience Classicsonline

Joan Sutherland’s international fame was assured after her triumph as Lucia in February 1959. A recording of the third performance of that production is available on the Royal Opera House’s own label and should be an essential part of any collection wanting to represent her art.

The present disc, apart from the two Handel items, derives from Decca’s first recording after they had signed a contract with her. The main items were recorded only a few months later. It was an immense success, the first of many, and it remains an astonishing achievement. The clarity of her singing, especially given the size of her voice, together with a complete mastery of the coloratura which enables her to phrase with complete confidence remain as amazing today as they were on the day of first issue. Inevitably and rightly the collection is centred on two long extracts from Lucia di Lammermoor. The first is the cavatina and cabaletta in the fountain scene in which Lucia takes her companion, Alisa, into her confidence. Although Sutherland performed and recorded it many times there is an especial freshness in this version, as there is also in the Mad Scene. Both are helped by including the parts of Alisa, sung by Nadine Sautereau in a voice well contrasted with Sutherland, in the fountain scene and the chorus in the Mad Scene, although for some reason they are missing for a few bars at one point. If you do not have this disc already in one of its other forms it would be worth acquiring now for these items alone.

In saying that I would not wish to dismiss the rest of the disc. The Verdi and other Donizetti items are also amazing, sung with accuracy and generosity of approach but without any of the smudgy coloratura or excessive vibrato that too many other singers today resort to. The Handel items are more of a rarity, coming from a disc intended to celebrate the Handel anniversary in 1959. She had sung in Alcina in 1957 with the Handel Opera Society and this stage experience of the role certainly shows. The ease with which she negotiates the notes is again astonishing, and these recordings are well worth resurrecting despite the later recording of the opera.

The actual recordings are acceptable even if they are obviously of their age. To be pedantic one might remark that whilst the main items may be legendary, they did not form Sutherland’s debut recital on disc. That was a 7” Belcantodisc of music by Donizetti, Rossini and Spohr. It has been reissued elsewhere and it is a pity that room could not have been found for part of it here. Nonetheless the essence of this disc is that first Decca recital which marked the emergence of one of the great artists of the gramophone. There are brief notes about the singer but little about the music and no text or translations but do not let this put you off buying it if you do not have these recordings already.

John Sheppard






Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.