Diva's old gowns going for a song
Monday 06 February 1995
The sale will include more than 80 costumes, stage jewellery, headdresses, opera glasses and parasols worn by the singer during her 40-year career.
Dame Joan became a star overnight for her performance of Lucia di Lammamor at Covent Garden in 1959. She retired in 1990 and lives with her husband, the conductor Richard Bonynge, in Switzerland, where her costumes have gathered dust in the attic. "I just couldn't keep them in the house. They took up the whole loft and I couldn't bear to think of them being hidden away," she said yesterday at a reception at Sotheby's.
The costumes start at size 14 - at the outset of her career - and go upwards, although Sotheby's would not say where they finished. They include the bloodstained nightgown that Dame Joan wore in the Mad Scene in Act III in the 1959 production of Lucia, designed by Franco Zeffirelli, and which it is estimated may fetch £1,500 to £2,500.
Another Zeffirelli costume, an 1840s-style burgundy velvet gown, studded with paste rubies, worn by the diva when she played Violetta in La Traviata in 1960, is estimated at £1,000 to £1,500.
- 1 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 2 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 3 UK weather: Britain braced for snow as arctic air mass moves in
- 4 Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
- 5 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...