La Stupenda is the face of the issue nominated for the 2011 Magazine Cover Awards.

The December 2010 issue of Limelight dedicated to the late Dame Joan Sutherland has been nominated in The Maggies: a national poll celebrating the best magazine covers of the past year.

The issue’s cover story, The Voice of the Century, commemorated the life and legacy of Australia’s down-to-earth diva, whose death in October at the age of 83 prompted outpourings of emotion and fond reminiscences from public figures, past collaborators, musicians and fans the world over.

“To choose this cover image we collected almost 300 images of Dame Joan Sutherland, in an attempt to find that single, unique photo that could do justice to Australia’s greatest ever opera singer,” explains Limelight editor Francis Merson.

“We spent weeks scouring archives, going to Joan’s old high school and visiting her dearest friends. In the end we came across this image – Joan in furs, an old press shot from the 1960s. This photo captured her real beauty – that of a true artist blessed with the world’s most extraordinary voice.”

Limelight is nominated in the Specialist category of The Maggies alongside four other contendors including Australian Guitar. The selection panel of industry experts included Ita Buttrose, the youngest-ever editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly and the first female Australian newspaper editor, and Stephen Brook, Media Editor of The Australian newspaper.

“Choosing the cover is one of the most challenging tasks a magazine editor has but when you get it right, it’s also the most exhilarating,” says Buttrose. “A cover must have what I call the ‘WOW factor.’ It needs to grab attention and say to the reader ‘PICK ME UP – NOW!'”

Peering out from the cover of Limelight, Dame Joan is a vision – the very picture of timeless elegance. She stands out in the awards even alongside the great sirens in other fields: classic portraits of Elizabeth Taylor (in the Weeklies section) and Cate Blanchett (Fashion, Health and Beauty) grace the front covers of other nominated publications. Her visage is one of the iconic images of 20th-century cultural life and the great artform of opera.

The winners will be announced in the first week of November.

Click here to vote for your favourite covers in The 2011 Maggies and receive a $5 gift voucher from iSUBSCRiBE. Get your copy of the nominated Dame Joan Sutherland issue of Limelight from our online store.