The Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation Ltd is a company limited by guarantee and registered charity which was established in 2010. Our aim is to financially assist and mentor our most talented emerging young opera singers through our Scholarship Programme to a life-long career in opera.
Our Mission Statement
– to establish a substantial Trust fund to ensure the Foundation’s sustainability;
– to present the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award to help assist our most talented emerging young singers;
– to provide master classes, workshops and Study Grants when possible for these young singers;
– to provide performance opportunities for rising and established artists;
– to help fund unique and important projects when possible;
– to perpetuate the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge name and their remarkable legacy as part of Australia’s cultural heritage.
The JSRB Foundation would like to gratefully acknowledge its esteemed Patrons, Directors, Advisors, Committee and Volunteers for contributing their time and commitment to the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation and the next generation of young singers.
Richard Bonynge AC CBE
Board of Directors
Richard Bonynge AC CBE
Lady Potter AC
Cyrus Meher-Homji OAM
The Hon Sir John Major KG CH
Dame Norma Major DBE
Lady Potter AC
Artistic Director | General Manager
Artistic Advisory Board
Malcolm Donnelly AM
Dennis O’Neill CBE
John Pringle AM
Isla Baring OAM
Joan Carden AO OBE
Malcolm Donnelly AM
Lauris Elms AM OBE
Dame Joan Sutherland OM DBE AC 1926 – 2010
Dame Joan Sutherland was born on November 7, 1926 in the Sydney suburb of Point Piper, Australia. The daughter of a fine mezzo soprano and master tailor, her formal education began at St Catherine’s Church of England School for Girls in Waverley. During those years, she studied piano and constantly listened to her mother Muriel Sutherland practising.
She performed regularly in concerts, oratorios and broadcasts throughout Australia and for the Affiliated Music Clubs of N.S.W. often being accompanied by Richard Bonynge. In August 1947, she made a significant debut in a concert performance as Purcell’s Dido before giving up her secretarial job in 1949 to concentrate on her singing.
That same year, Dame Joan won the prestigious Sun Aria competition followed by the Mobil Quest in 1950. In April 1951, a Testimonial Farewell Concert was held to raise money for her in the Sydney Town Hall followed by her first staged operatic role – the title role in the world premiere performances of Eugene Goosens’ opera Judith at the N.S.W. Conservatorium of Music in Sydney conducted by the composer.
In July of that year, at the age of 24, Joan Sutherland, with dreams of singing at Covent Garden, sailed with her mother from Sydney on the Maloja to London. Once settled, she met up with Richard Bonynge who was already studying piano there. She auditioned for Clive Carey of the Royal College of Music and was immediately asked to join the Opera School. From here on she studied all her roles with Richard Bonynge.
In 1952, she performed the role of Giorgetta in Puccini’s Il Tabarro for the RCM. Then after 3 separate auditions, she was invited to become a member of the company of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden making her debut as the First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute on 28th October 1952. In the November of 1952, she sang the High Priestess in Aida with Sir John Barbirolli conducting (and later the title role with the same conductor) and soon after, the small role of Clotilde, alongside Maria Callas as Norma and Ebe Stignani as Adalgisa. Following this she performed her first leading role at Covent Garden that December, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera.
On 16th October 1954, Joan Sutherland married Richard Bonynge at Kensington Methodist Church in London, a collaboration that would become one of the greatest in all operatic history. Two years later their son Adam was born on 13 February, 1956.
From her debut in 1952 until February 1959, Dame Joan performed a myriad of roles for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden including; Agathe in Die Freischutz, Woglinde in Das Rheingold and Gotterdammerung, Helwige in Die Walkure, Woodbird in Siegfried, Frasquita and Micaela in Carmen, Antonia, Giulietta and Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann, Pamina and Queen of Night in The Magic Flute, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nurnburg, Lady Penelope Rich in Gloriana, Jenifer in The Midsummer Marriage, Aida, Alcina, Gilda in Rigoletto, Desdemona in Otello, Mme Lidoine in The Dialogues of the Carmelites, Israelite Woman in Samson.
During that time she also made her Glyndebourne debut in 1956 as the Countess followed by First Lady and Mme Herz in Der Schauspieldirektor and in1958, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for Vancouver. She also sang the roles of Alcina, Rodelinda and Cleopatra for the Handel Opera Society as well as BBC braodcasts of Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, the title role in Weber’s Euryanthe, the title role in Madama Butterfly and Mimi in La Boheme.
It was on the evening of 17th February 1959, after a solid 7 year apprenticeship at Covent Garden, and at the age of 32, that Joan Sutherland became an operatic star. Singing the title role of Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor, Lucia would become one of her most performed roles and the role that would define her formidable career. Conducted by the legendary Italian, Tullio Serafin and directed by Franco Zeffirelli her performances as Lucia made her an overnight sensation and are to this day talked about as one of the defining moments in 20th century operatic history.
After her triumph in Lucia, Dame Joan went on to establish herself as the foremost soprano of her time and as one of the greatest artists to grace the operatic stage. It wasn’t long before every major opera company in the world wanted to hear this extraordinary bel canto singer.
Donna Anna and Desdemona in Vienna came next, Violetta in La Traviata for London then in 1960 her Italian debut in Venice. It was after these performances at La Fenice, singing the title role in Handel’s Alcina, that she was dubbed La Stupenda, the name she still carries to this day. Alcina featured again for her U.S. debut in Dallas, Lucia in Paris, Elvira in I Puritani and Donna Anna at Glyndebourne. Again singing Lucia, the role that had launched her international career, she made her debut at La Scala Milan and The Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1961. Her New York debut was a concert performance of Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda in the Town Hall which caused such a storm that two more performances were scheduled in Carnegie Hall.
In 1965, Dame Joan returned to Australia to perform five of her greatest roles with, the Sutherland-Williamson International Grand Opera Company and Richard Bonynge as Musical Director. Touring nationally she performed Lucia di Lammermoor, Semiramide, Faust, La Traviata and La Sonnambula, often alternating between roles and singing three times per week. Since those first years, Dame Joan has triumphed in all the great opera houses including, R.O.H. Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, Edinburgh Festival, La Scala Milan, La Fenice Venice, San Carlo Naples, Florence Festival, Teatro dell’Opera Rome, Teatro Carlo Felice Genoa, Teatro Massimo Palermo, The Met New York, Paris Opera, Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires, Teatro San Carlo Lisbon, Staatsoper and Theater an der Wien Vienna, Teatro Liceo Barcelona, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Boston, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in Japan, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide as well as her many successes on the concert platforms of the world.
Her repertoire includes; Norma, Beatrice in Beatrice di Tenda, Amina in La Sonnambula, Elvira in I Puritani, Adriana Lecouvreur, Lakme, Anna Bolena, Lucrezia Borgia, Maria Stuarda, Marie in La Fille du Regiment, Violetta in La Traviata, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Esclarmonde, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus, Electra in Idomeneo, Anna Glawari in The Merry Widow, Sita in Le Roi de Lahore, Amalia in I Masnadieri, Rodelinda, Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare, Marguerite in Faust, Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots, Suor Angelica, Turandot, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Queen of Night in The Magic Flute and Euridice in Haydn’s Orfeo ed Euridice.
In 1974, she returned to Australia’s shores once more and since that time her many appearances in Australia have included; the four heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Lakme, Suor Angelica, Norma, Donna Anna, Violetta, Electra, Lucia, Amalia, Desdemona, Alcina, Leonora, Semiramide, Adriana Lecouvreur, Mme Lidoine, Elvira in I Puritani, Marie in La Fille de Regiment, The Merry Widow, Rosalinda, Lucrezia Borgia and her legendary concerts with Marilyn Horne and Luciano Pavarotti at the Sydney Opera House.
Amidst the decades of staged opera performances and concert recitals, she has established one of the most distinguished and prolific recording careers of any singer. Dozens of solo albums and 40 complete operas have added to her enormous volume of work. Three of the most valued and distinguished of those being, her performance as Esclarmonde with Richard Bonynge, Turandot with Zubin Mehta and her highly acclaimed 1960 recording titled, The Art of the Prima Donna. This recording remains to this day one of the most recommended opera albums of all time. According to an interview she gave in 2002 to the Guardian newspaper, her biggest achievement was to sing the title role of Esclarmonde. She considered those performances, and the recording made, her best.
Her extensive concert repertoire includes Monteverdi’s Magnificat, St Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio of J.S. Bach, Messiah, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and 9th Symphony, Verdi Requiem, Mahler’s 2nd and 4th Symphonies, Brukner’s Te Deum and Honegger’s King David. She was a prolific recitalist and specialised in French and Italian Song.
Television has also played a part in Dame Joan’s career. Some of the many productions she has been involved in include, The Bell Telephone Hour, The Voice of Firestone, Who’s Afraid of Opera, numerous documentaries, guest appearances with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Shore, countless DVD and Video releases of her staged operas and recitals and the role of Mother Rudd in the comedy film, Dad and Dave: On Our Selection starring her dear friend Leo McKern. Over the years numerous books and biographies have been written about her, Dame Joan producing her own autobiography entitled “A Prima Donna’s Progress” in 1997.
With a career spanning almost 4 decades, Dame Joan Sutherland retired from opera in 1990 at the age of 64. Her final full opera performance was as Margherite de Valois in Meyerbeer’s, Les Huguenots with Richard Bonynge conducting the eight performances in Opera Australia’s production at the Sydney Opera House. Her actual farewell appearance was the Party Scene in Act II of Die Fledermaus on New Year’s Eve 90/91 at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Marilyn Horne and Luciano Pavarotti. This performance was simulcast live to the piazza in Covent Garden.
Dame Joan Sutherland has received honorary degrees from institutions and universities both in Australia and abroad. In 1961 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Australian of the Year. She was honoured as a Commander of the Order of Australia in June 1975 and in 1979 was elevated to Dame Commander of the British Empire in recognition of her outstanding contribution to opera. In 1989, Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland were awarded the Commandeur de l’Ordre National de Merite by the French government for their services to French music. She and her husband were also made “socio d’onore” of the R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna in 2007, a society dating back to the 18th century of which Mozart was a member.
In 1991, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Dame Joan the Order of Merit and New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proclaimed May 6, 1998, as Dame Joan Sutherland Day in the City of New York. In 2004, she received the Australia Post Australian Legends Award which honours Australians who have contributed to our nation’s identity and culture and was also the recipient of a Kennedy Centre Honour for her outstanding achievement throughout her career.
Perhaps the last great Prima Donna of a “Golden Age”, Dame Joan Sutherland is regarded as one of the greatest and most remarkable bel canto singers of all time and will always be acknowledged for her considerable contribution in the renaissance of the bel canto and French repertoire during the 20th century. She possessed a voice of great beauty and power combining extraordinary coloratura agility, impeccable intonation and an exceptional upper register. The distinctive richness of her velvet-like sound, coupled with her unaparalleled vocal virtuosity and supreme artistry make her untouchable by any other singer of her generation or since that time. A conscientious hard worker and caring colleague, she was a dignified, heroic, and elegant performer and yet had the ability for classic comic timing, thanks to her own, down-to-earth sense of humour.
On retirement from the operatic stage, she was in demand as an adjudicator for all the major singing competitions, in particular, as a regular member of the panel at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and also in Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Norway, Finland, Germany, France and Greece. She was also a Patron for a number of worthy causes and organisations, gave freely of her time in helping to support the next generation of singers and has been a great supporter of The Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney, regularly attending fund raising events whenever she was in Sydney.
Dame Joan and Richard have a son Adam, daughter-in-law, Helen and grandchildren, Vanya and Natasha.
Dame Joan passed away on the 10th October, 2010 at her home in Switzerland. A memorial service was held in Sydney in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, a Service of Thanksgiving was held at Westminster Abbey in London and a special tribute by The Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York.
Today, Richard Bonynge lives at their home in Switzerland near Lake Geneva. He also has homes in London and Sydney.
Richard Bonynge AC CBE
Richard Bonynge was born in Sydney in September 1930. His early musical education at the NSW Conservatorium of Music led to further piano studies at the Royal College of Music in London and also with Herbert Fryer, who had been a pupil of Busoni. His first appearance as a conductor was in Rome in January 1962. He has subsequently conducted in many of the world’s major opera houses, in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Argentina, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. His repertoire is wide ranging but consists mainly of 18th century opera, the great bel canto operas, 19th century opera and ballet, several verismo works and many operettas. He is responsible for the revival of many works that were not at the time included in the repertoire; Orfeo (Haydn) Sigismondo and Semiramide (Rossini), La Fille du Régiment , Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena and Lucrezia Borgia (Donizetti) Medea (Pacini), I Masnadieri (Verdi), Fra Diavolo (Auber) Les Huguenots and Semiramide (Meyerbeer), Esclarmonde, Le Roi de Lahore and Thérèse (Massenet). In 1954 he married the soprano, Joan Sutherland and their son, Adam, was born in 1956.Richard Bonynge was Musical Director of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera Company in Australia in 1965, Artistic Director of the Vancouver Opera, 1974-77 and Musical Director of The Australian Opera, 1976-86. In Great Britain in 1977 he was awarded the CBE by Her Majesty, The Queen, and in the same year became an Officer in the Order of Australia, AO. In Paris in 1989, he was awarded the title Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres and in 2007 was made “Socio d’onore”, R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna. In 2009 he was awarded the Sir Bernard Heinze Award in Australia for service to music and in London in 2010, Dame Beryl Grey gave him the Patron’s Award within the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for services to ballet.
His significant recording career includes more than 50 complete operas as well as the three great Tchaikovsky ballets, three Delibes ballets and countless relatively unknown ballets of Adam, Minkus, Burgmuller, Auber, Drigo and Offenbach. He has recorded many recital discs with Dame Joan Sutherland, Renata Tebaldi, Marilyn Horne, Sumi Jo, Jerry Hadley, Luciano Pavarotti, Deborah Riedel, Huguette Tourangeau, Rosamund Illing, Cheryl Barker, Elizabeth Whitehouse and Yvonne Kenny.
Highly regarded as both scholar and aficionado, he has written countless articles on opera, its composers, great interpreters, the art of bel canto, ballet, theatre and antiques. For Craftsman House Press he has written four books – The Joan Sutherland Album (with Dame Joan Sutherland) ,1986, Joan Sutherland, Designs for a Prima Donna ,1985, A Collector’s Guide to Theatrical Postcards, 1988 and Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge with The Australian Opera, 1990.
For Opera Australia he has conducted more than fifty operas – several of them in different productions in many seasons. He has made video/DVD recordings of Australian performances of The Magic Flute, Norma, La Fille du Régiment, Lucrezia Borgia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il Trovatore, Les Huguenots, Lakmé, Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, The Gipsy Princess, Adriana Lecouvreur and The Dialogues of the Carmelites, together with two Gala Concerts recorded in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House with the Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra and soloists Dame Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne and Luciano Pavarotti.
In recent seasons Richard Bonynge has conducted Norma, I Capuleti e I Montecchi, La Scala di Seta, Il Signor Bruschino, Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakmé and Roméo et Juliette in Australia; Norma, La Sonnambula, Lucia di Lammermoor and Faust in the United States; Norma in Canada; I Capuleti e I Montecchi and Roberto Devereux in Great Britain; La traviata in Greece, Meyerbeer’s Semiramide in Germany; I Lombardi in Argentina and La Favorite in Spain.
During 2010 Richard Bonynge’s 80th Birthday was celebrated in Gala Concerts in London in June and Sydney in July. He currently lives in Switzerland and is still making recordings, giving masterclasses and judging major competitions.
In 1974 while on a holiday in London, Lynne Redknap, a nursing sister from Sydney’s Concord Hospital, attended a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Joan Sutherland sang with her husband Richard Bonynge conducting the orchestra in the presence of the Duchess of Kent.
Lynne was amazed at the affection displayed to this very Australian artist by the 7,000 fans sitting and standing in the packed Hall.
Sometime after her return to Sydney, a meeting was arranged with Richard Bonynge in the Green Room of the Sydney Opera House by Russell Braddon, author of the 1962 biography “ Joan Sutherland”.
The result was the establishment in 1978 of the Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney by a group of devoted opera patrons wanting to raise funds to provide financial assistance for young, aspiring opera singers. Out of that vision was born the Joan Sutherland Society Scholarship for 17-22 year olds, valued at $200 and an Encouragement Award as part of the City of Sydney Eisteddfod. Since those first small beginnings the Society has grown considerably with a focus on providing performance opportunities and increased funding for our emerging artists.
The first Scholarships were awarded in 1979 for both a male and female singer until 1987 when the Scholarship changed to the best singer, male or female.
JSS dinner, 1980.
Winning the Joan Sutherland Society Vocal Scholarship became recognised as the “First step” to an operatic career and many Scholarship winners have become distinguished on the international scene. Those who have succeeded include Stuart Skelton, Joanna Cole, Fiona Janes, Daniel Sumegi, Catherine Carby, Dominica Matthews, Lucinda-Mirikata Deacon, Katherine Tier, David Hansen, James Homann, Emma Moore, Naomi Johns, Hadleigh Adams and many more.
It is encouraging to realise that many of our past winners have gone on to have national and international singing careers performing with some of the most important opera companies in the world whilst others have become highly sought-after teachers passing on their wealth of knowledge to our next generation of young artists.
In 1979 , Queen Elizabeth ll bestowed an Honour on the Diva and she became Dame Joan Sutherland, joining Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Joan Hammond ,the only other two Australian opera singers so honoured.
The Society has had only five presidents in a little over three decades. Lynne Redknap , the first President, resigned in 1980 and was followed by Regina Jones for four years and Arthur Haddad for a record sixteen years, Doug Cremer responsibility between 2000 – 2010 and the last President was Duncan Kinnon from 2011-2013.
In its early days, Joan Sutherland, Richard Bonynge and Margreta Elkins were appointed Life Members of the Society, with its activities mainly centred around the visits of the Bonynge’s and their performances in Sydney, where they introduced operas that had never been performed or rarely heard before here in Australia.
Dame Joan retired from the operatic stage in 1990 but continued to visit family and friends during the opera company’s Winter Season whenever Richard was conducting.
In 2007 the Scholarship was renamed the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Vocal Scholarship, the age limit increased to 25 years and a first prize of $5000.00 was awarded.
In 2008, to honour our late Patron and close friend of Dame Joan and Richard, the Rosina Raisbeck Award was established, valued at $2500.00 and sponsored by Alan Jones AO, in conjunction with the existing Marja Baudish Encouragement Award of $1500.00.
In 2008, Dame Joan and Richard honoured the Society by giving their blessing for “ The Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation” to be established. Sadly on October 10, 2010 the world said a final farewell to Dame Joan Sutherland before that Foundation could be established. In the weeks following her passing the Australian Government presented a State Memorial Service in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall and established the Foundation, ensuring the Sutherland/Bonynge legacy will live on for generations to come. This also means all donations to the Foundation are now tax deductible.
Each year we present a number of fund-raising concerts and events to highlight the achievements of past winners, young artists and many of our country’s professional operatic stars. The proceeds from these events help to fund the scholarship and study grants we provide to singers for voice training, coaching and language courses in Australia and overseas. Dame Joan and Richard Bonynge have regularly encouraged and supported these yearly activities, attending many of our concerts with their famous Afternoon Tea as well as the Annual Members’ Dinner.
Recent concerts of note have been, Richard Bonynge’s 80th Birthday Concert in 2010 and the Australian professional premiere performance of Handel’s Rodelinda (2012) both at the City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney, the Lauris Elms 80th Birthday Concert (2011) and the Rev. John Kohler Memorial Concert and Wagner to Vienna Concerts in Mosman and Bowral in 2013.
In 2011, we decided to increase our productivity by providing greater assistance and support for the artists of Australia and created the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award. This award will assist six young singers with the winner also gaining a place in the prestigious Georg Solti Accademia in Tuscany Italy. Now in its third year the award has grown attracting singers from all over Australia and New Zealand as well as many major corporate sponsors.
As of June 2013, the Society and Foundation combined have financially assisted over 120 singers awarding over $250,000 in scholarships and study grants. Many have gone on to have successful national and international careers whilst some have become teachers, passing on their knowledge to the next generation.
Because of the Bonynge’s commitment to helping young singers, it is vital we ensure the continued growth of the Foundation for our next generation. Dame Joan and Richard have contributed phenomenally to the opera world, inspiring and supporting artists nationally and internationally. We believe it is now time and our duty to ensure the legacy of these two iconic Australian performers is everlasting.
By helping to support the Foundation you will be assisting in the preservation of that legacy, as well as knowing that you too, are helping the future of opera in Australia and the discovery of our next great operatic voices.
We would like to personally thank Dame Joan and Richard Bonynge for contributing extensively to this website by providing material and never before seen photographs taken from their own personal archives. They have tirelessly and willingly given of their time to the young singers of Australia and for that the Foundation and many Australians will be eternally grateful.
While Dame Joan Sutherland may no longer be with us, her spirit and legacy will always remain.
1978 - The Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney Inc. is formed.
1979 - The first Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney Vocal Scholarship is awarded as part of the Sydney Eisteddfod to the value of $200.
1990 - Dame Joan Sutherland retires from the operatic stage after a forty year international career.
2002 - The first study grant is awarded to scholarship winner, Fiona Janes.
2007 - The vocal scholarship is renamed the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Vocal Scholarship.
2009 - Dame Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge give the Society their permission to create a Foundation in their name.
2010 - The Society presents Richard Bonynge’s 80th Birthday concert in July at the City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney with 1000 people paying tribute to the Maestro.
2010 - Dame Joan Sutherland dies on 10 October. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, presents a State Memorial Service in Dame Joan’s honour in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall. In November, the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Opera Foundation is established and charitable status obtained.
2011 - The last Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Vocal Scholarship is held in the Sydney Eisteddfod, sponsored by Burwood Council - value $5,000.
2011 - The inaugural Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award is established with a first prize of $30,000. The winner is tenor John Longmuir.
2012 - Richard Bonynge is awarded the Commander of the Order of Australia (AC) in the Australia Day Honours, making Richard Bonynge and Dame Joan only one of four couples to both hold the honour.
2012 - The Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, announces the Opera Theatre in the Sydney Opera House is to be renamed the Joan Sutherland Theatre.
2012 - Richard Bonynge celebrates 50 years of conducting. The Foundation presents the Australian professional premiere performance of Handel’s opera Rodelinda in concert, conducted by Richard Bonynge at the City Recital Hall Angel Place, Sydney. The Governor-General, Governor of N.S.W. and Premier of N.S.W. are all in attendance.
2012 – Winner of the 2nd JSRB Bel Canto Award is tenor Darren Pene Pati from New Zealand.
2013 - The Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney is deregistered.
2013 - The Bel Canto Award financially assists ten young singers, making it the only competition of its kind in Australia.
2013 – Winner of the 3rd JSRB Bel Canto Award is soprano Naomi Johns.
2014 - The Inaugural Elizabeth Connell Prize for dramatic sopranos is established by the Foundation to be held in conjunction with the Bel Canto Award. Australia’s first international singing competition. The winner of the $25,000 first prize is Anna Patrys from Poland.
2014 – Winner of the 4th JSRB Bel Canto Award is soprano Marlena Devoe from New Zealand.
2014 - DECCA offer a $5,000 prize, the Tait Memorial Trust in London offer a concert in London and the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival offer a place in their Bel Canto summer school, each for one Bel Canto Finalist.
2014 - The Foundation presents its first concert in Melbourne, Handel’s Rodelinda, to coincide with the release of its first commercial recording. Selected Arias from the live performance of Rodelinda in 2012, conducted by Richard Bonynge, is released on the ABC Classics label.
2014 - Former Society President Doug Cremer and Treasurer Annamaria Kinnon are awarded an OAM for their contribution to the organisation.
2015 - The Foundation celebrates Richard Bonynge’s 85th Birthday with a Members’ Lunch at the Royal Automobile Club and a special presentation trophy at the Finals Concert.
2015 – Winner of the 5th JSRB Bel Canto Award is soprano Isabella Moore from New Zealand.
2015 – Winner of the 2nd Elizabeth Connell Prize is Julie Adams from the USA.
2016 - The Foundation marks the 90th birthday anniversary of Dame Joan Sutherland by producing the 90th book featuring the history of the organisation with photos and quotes from scholarships winners.
2016 - To commemorate Dame Joan’s 90th, the Bel Canto Award prizes are increased, with a record first prize of $50,000 donated by the Walker Corporation Pty Limited, who pledge to sponsor the prize for the next three years. A grand total of $110,000 in scholarships and opportunities is offered.
2016 – Winner of the 6th JSRB Bel Canto Award is tenor Alasdair Kent.
2016 – Winner of the 3rd Elizabeth Connell Prize is Kseniia Muslanova from the Russian Federation.
2017 – Winner of the 7th JSRB Bel Canto Award is mezzo soprano Bronwyn Douglass.
2017 – Winner of the 4th Elizabeth Connell Prize is Katie Lowe from England.
2018 – Winner of the 8th JSRB Bel Canto Award is baritone Benson Wilson from New Zealand.
2018 – Winner of the 5th Elizabeth Connell Prize is Claire de Monteil from France.
2019 – Winner of the 9th JSRB Bel Canto Award is Kiandra Howarth.
2019 – Winner of the 6th Elizabeth Connell Prize is Hannakaisa Nyrönen from Finland.
2020 – The first international Bel Canto Award is planned but cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
2020 – Richard Bonynge celebrates his 90th birthday
2020 – 10th anniversary of Dame Joan Sutherland’s death on 10 October.
2020 – Chalet Monet Book Project. Richard Bonynge and the Foundation produce a coffee table book celebrating Bonynge’s 90th entitled “Chalet Monet – Inside the home of Dame Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge.” All proceeds from the book go to Foundation’s scholarship fund. Published by Melbourne Books.
2020 – The Foundation financially supports Decca in producing an album of Joan Sutherland’s favourite recordings called ‘My Favourites’.