The iconic opera house takes the name of the legendary soprano who called it home.
The NSW State Government has renamed the Opera Theatre the Joan Sutherland Theatre in honour of the homegrown soprano, who died two years ago.
It is the stage where Dame Joan gave some of the most remarkable performances of her career, including a concert with Pavarotti in the early 1980s.
Her widower and lifelong collaborator, Australian conductor Richard Bonynge, acknowledged the honour at a ceremony today.
“The whole family is very, very thrilled about it,” he told Limelight. “And I think it’s lovely because after all she did so much there and introduced so many operas that Australia hadn’t seen before.
“She had a great time here. We were lucky she came here so much because she could sing all over the world anywhere she wanted but this was her own country and she wanted to come back and sing here.”
The celebration today came on what would have been the Australian opera power couple’s 58th wedding anniversary. They are both Companions of the Order of Australia.
Sutherland performed at the Sydney Opera House every year between 1976 and 1990. “People used to lie out on the pavements all so that they’d get seats for her performances and it was quite an ego to be quite honest,” Bonynge reminisced at the ceremony.
The conductor added that his wife would have been happy with the tribute and that it has special meaning for him.