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Joan Sutherland dies in Geneva

Soprano Joan Sutherland, whose purity of tone and brilliant vocal display made her one of the most celebrated opera singers of all time, has died. She was 83.

Sutherland's family released a statement on Monday saying the celebrated dramatic coloratura, known to her Italian fans as "La Stupenda", died peacefully on Sunday at her home near Geneva.

The term coloratura, derived from “colour”, refers to a soprano with a high range and the vocal agility to sing brilliant trills and rapid passages.

Sutherland was acclaimed from her native Australia to North America and Europe for the wide range of roles she took on during a career that spanned four decades.

She made her stage debut in 1951 and went on to perform at many of the world's great opera houses during an illustrious 40-year career. Her final stage appearance was alongside Luciano Pavarotti in "Die Fledermaus" at The Royal Opera House, London, on December 31, 1989.

Pavarotti once said of her: "Joan Sutherland is certainly the greatest voice of the century."

After her retirement from the stage, she remained active in nurturing young singers, and became a regular fixture on the jury of singing competitions worldwide.

The family statement said Sutherland was survived by her husband Richard Bonynge and son Adam. A small private funeral will be held. and agencies

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