This Cameo Classics release is a treasure trove of Joan Sutherland’s early live performances, covering the years 1957 through to 1960. Sourced from BBC radio recordings, listeners gain a glimpse of Sutherland on the precipice of fame and glory, tackling the bel canto roles that she would leave such an indelible mark upon. That inimitable voice is daisy fresh and limpid, the consonants firmer than at her absolute peak, and there’s an artlessness to her approach that’s entirely winning.

Joan Sutherland

The recording opens with the famous 1957 broadcast of Donizetti’s Emilia di Liverpool , which had previously languished in obscurity until Sutherland and co. presented it in its eponymous city. Sutherland has the right lightness of touch, dramatic thrust, and elegance of phrase as the heroine of this comedy of manners, the obvious standout in the cast. Up next is the Mad Scene from Lucia di Lammermoor , taken from the storied 1959 Covent Garden broadcast. While she doesn’t live the drama of...