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Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne in Concert, 1979

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Here is a complete tape of a historic, October concert from 1979 featuring opera greats, Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, with Sir Richard Bonynge conducting the New York Philharmonic.

Dame Joan, several years past her vocal prime in 1979, continued to astonish with the Bel Canto brilliance of her scales, trills, staccati, leaps and the kind of extended high notes (of enormous size, I might add!) that most sopranos of her age and voice type have abandoned if they had them at all. Perhaps things were a bit more difficult physically that evening than they had been 10 years earlier for Dame Joan; but the legendary soprano still could -- and did -- bring down the house in her own inimitable way.

Some years younger than Dame Joan, Marilyn Horne was still enjoying her prime vocal years in 1979. Miss Horne's singing in this concert reflects every part of that observation, I think, from brilliant Bel Canto acrobatics that rival note-for-note Dame Joan's to the melting lyricism of Dalilah's music or a simple Steven Foster song (perhaps the highlight of evening!). What a great thing it is to have this record of some of Miss Horne's finest singing.

As was the case where their now-legendary appearances together in opera, the various duets featuring Dame Joan and Miss Horne together represent a comprehensive integration of two distinct voices that has rarely been equalled on the concert stage let alone in the opera house.

This was truly a concert to remember and on so many levels.

Pour the wine, sit back and enjoy!

Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne in Concert (1979)

NOTE: there is a significant "bobble" after Miss Horne's singing of the Samson and Dalilah aria ("Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix") that cuts a sizeable portion of Dame Joan's superb rendition of an aria from Lucia ("Regnava nel silenzio"). A real shame, but not a deal-breaker for the concert as a whole.

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