Joan Sutherland Named as 2004 Kennedy Center Honoree

World of opera graced by the true grande dame
By T.L. Ponick
Published December 3, 2004
Legendary coloratura soprano Joan Sutherland says she was “bowled over” upon learning that she would be a 2004 Kennedy Center honoree. “I’m not even an American citizen,” she says, discussing the event from her home in Switzerland. “But Americans have always been good to me, and I’m highly honored.”
Miss Sutherland, or, more appropriately, Dame Joan — the form of address she has preferred since she was granted that title by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975 — retired from the stage at the peak of her powers in 1990 after more than 40 years in the opera limelight.
Now 78, she thoroughly enjoys her retirement and particularly relishes puttering around in her garden. Although she no longer sings in public, she still keeps her hand in the opera scene, occasionally serving as judge in international singing contests such as the Callas Competition in Athens. She also makes it a point to visit her native Australia each year.
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