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Joan Sutherland was cheated by the Grammys

October 12, 2010 |  2:07 pm

Joan Sutherland news

Joan Sutherland may have been hailed as "the voice of the century" by Luciano Pavarotti, but other operatic voices fared far better at the Grammy Awards, where there are lots of classical categories, including one for best vocal performance.

Prior to her death on Sunday at age 83, Sutherland won that prize twice. One victory was for her classic "The Art of the Prima Donna" LP in 1962. In 1981, she shared the trophy with Pavarotti and Marilyn Horne for "Live From Lincoln Center: Sutherland, Horne, Pavarotti."

By contrast, Pavarotti won five times, as did Kathleen Battle. Horne and Cecilia Bartoli each won four Grammys. Reigning over all classical vocalists is Leontyne Price with 13 wins.

But, alas, at least Sutherland fared better than one of opera's grandest divas. Poor Maria Callas never won a Grammy.

Photo: "The Art of the Prima Donna." Photo credit: Decca Records.

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The comments to this entry are closed.


Dear Shweshwe,

We all go a bit to far sometimes. I don't think you need to apologize to ALL white people! I understand your frustration and some of them are jerks, but hey, there are jerks in every part of the world which is why we are in such a mess these days! Thankfully we still have artists like Kathleen Battle, and the recorded legacy of Sutherland, Callas and others to lift us out of our daily duldrums! No worries, be happy! If you have it put on the Battle/Parkinson album and you will have a heaven on earth! If you don't get's really one of her best!! Do you agree Didi?

Peace and love, CD

Dear Didi,

It is a bit over the top but it was a tribute to DJS and it really takes one to know one! Ms. DeHavilland!!?? And there you go with another slam to whitey! Peace baby!!

Let me clarify I love Battle she is one of my all time favorite artists and thankfully she does continue and thrill audiences around the world. There are always two or more sides to a story but sorry she did derail her career a bit. Not to say her behaviour at times wasn't justified. To have a career in opera is one of the most demanding in all the arts and you have to quote Vera Donovan..."Sometimes you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive. Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto." Unfortunately we live a mysogonist society that doesn't value strength in a woman they way they do in men! Agree, the Met is certainly not the end all these days! And I agree about the article quote Fred Armeson playing Joy Behar on SNL..."So what! How cares!" Smile Didi and don't make assumptions about race based on e-mails. Peace.

Casta Diva. Pure ignorance on your part. Also, your name is a bit over the top.
Battle did not self destruct. I think most whites like to think that. The enormous amount of racism she endured at the Met -- and to be fired by a former auto mechanic-- is the stuff of legend. There were a lot of swelled heads among those who shared the stage with her. Certainly political plotting as you would find in any workplace helped force her ouster. But so what. That was more than a quarter century ago. The Met is not the be all all and end all. Battle still draws sold-out audiences, or perhaps you have not heard.The criticism against her has been harsh but she and her crystalline voice have endured. But my question remains: Why did the author of this poorly written article care how many Grammys went to whom?

You are absolutely right Casta Diva that I , Shweshwe Mopedi went too far on the opening of my comment.I want to apologize to all White People. I have learnt a good lesson that one does not speak like this in today' s world.I am very, very sorry.

As for Dame Sutherland, I adore her Art.She is after all; The Queen of Bel-Canto.


Shweshwe Mopedi & Didi DeHavilland you are both obviously as racist! The writer is stating the facts not making a racial statement!

Shweshwe - Can you imagine what a out cry there would be if someone wrote "Black people are always complaining when..." Wise up!!

Didi - Please! There is no comparing Battle to Sutherland! Sutherland had a huge voice dramatic voice that early on recorded very well, but not being the physical ideal forced on us today - which promotes mediocrity in every corner of the arts - she WAS overlooked. Her fabulous French Album is worth it's weight in Gold and deserved recognition!!!

Battle had the voice of an angel that recorded beautifully and that combined with a great package she was the operatic Grammy darling of moment. An incredible artist but too bad it all when to her head and she self distructed!

It's not a problem that Joan Sutherland didn't win more Grammys, and certainly NOT a problem that Maria Callas never won one. Why would great artists like this want such a cheesy award? What's the point? Who cares? Picasso never won an art show, Mozart never won a composition contest, Beethoven never won a statue prize. Really, the obsession with "awards" in our era has become so silly, they're not worth chasing or getting. Real Artists don't need Grammys.

Both volumes of that album are an amazing document of a stupendous voice at the beginning of her career. Rest in peace dear Dame Joan! I'm sure you're getting a chuckle out of all this!! What a silly write up!

Obviously, you're ticked because 18 of the 38 Grammys you mention went to black operatic stars. My advice to you: Listen to Sutherland's rendition of Handel's Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Zion. Then listen to Kathleen Battle's rendition and you will understand the Grammy difference. And why do you even care? She won twice. It's not as if she was overlooked.

I find white people are always complaining when things do not go their way.Sutherland is good,however, not have been good enough to be The Queen of the Grammys.

I agree with Michele.

But the Art of the Prima Donna is one spectacular album -- the first Sutherland album I heard when I was a teenager -- it introduced me to her sublime artistry. It certainly deserves an award or two.

I think she'd find this topic quite amusing.

Of course they are. Voted on by people who should never be allowed to vote on such things. I mean COME ON! Winchester Cathedral wins in 1966 for "Best Contemporary Rock and Roll Recording"???? Jethro Tull in 1996 wins for "Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance"???? Examples that are proof enough that the award is worthless. RIP Ms. Sutherland.

Oh Come on. Everybody knows the Grammys are commercial trash

Poor Joan. For her amazing contribution to the Art of Opera to be subjected to such a reduction.



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