Opera Australia and Arts Centre Melbourne have announced that thirty of Dame Joan Sutherland’s treasured costumes will be donated to the Australian Performing Arts Collection.

“These costumes are a treasured piece of Australian history and we are glad that ACM will ensure their continued preservation and share them with the public,” Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes said.

Opera Australia, Joan Sutherland, CostumesDame Joan Sutherland in Idomeneo. Photo © Branco Gaica

The announcement was made on the back of Opera Australia unveiling their innovative 2019 season.

OA’s Dame Joan Sutherland collection spans three decades and comprises dresses, wigs, headpieces and accessories featured during her illustrious career. The first costumes will be on display in November this year with the remaining costumes expected to arrive in Melbourne over the coming months.

Opera Australia, Joan Sutherland, CostumesDame Joan Sutherland in The Merry Widow. Photo © William Moseley

The Australian Performing Arts Collection is the nation’s largest collection of performing arts memorabilia end ephemera; the 700,000 collection will now include costumes from some of Dame Joan’s most iconic roles such as Violetta in La Traviata, Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots and Lucrezia Borgia, made by designers including Barbara Matera, Kristian Fredrickson, John Truscott and Michael Stennett.

“We are delighted to be working with our colleagues at Opera Australia to continue to build the significance of the Australian Performing Arts Collection,” Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Claire Spencer said. “This donation will help to preserve Dame Joan’s legacy for future generations and to share the story of Opera Australia.”