The world-renowned soprano Joan Sutherland left her Sydney home for London in 1952, with the ultimate aim of singing Wagner. Contracted to Covent Garden, she felt her future lay in heavy, dramatic roles; and her early assignments there included Amelia in Verdis Un ballo in maschera and the title role in Aida. Soon her breathtaking agility, crystalline staccatos and unique stratospheric purity became evident not least as Jenifer in Tippetts The Midsummer Marriage, followed swiftly by the doll Olympia in Offenbachs Les contes dHoffmann (both 1955). Although increasingly identified with the bel canto repertoire, until her 1959 Covent Garden triumph in Donizettis Lucia di Lammermoor she kept her options open. The title role in Webers Euryanthe was one of several German, lyric roles added to her repertoire during the mid-1950s, alongside Pamina in Mozarts Die Zauberflöte and Eva in Wagners Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. She was also to remain a staunch Handelian throughout her career, recording the title role in Athalia under Christopher Hogwood (Decca) as late as 1986.