Few singers have ever conquered all four of the world's major operatic citadels. Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, La Seala Milan and the Metropolitan. From the time she was four, practising under the watchful eye of her mezzo-soprano mother, Joan Sutherland dreamed and thought music until today she is la prima donna assoluta, admired as much for her remarkable personality as for her voice and her superlative technique. Braddon's portrait approaches doing her justice- something that cannot be said for many books about popular dives in recent years. He does not gloss over the realities of her extremely awkward youth, but he manages a certain tact and graceful handling that permits the reader to accept the ultimate transformation. His account of her Lucia is so faithful to the sensory experience that it will electrify readers who saw the performance. La Stupenda's husband, conductor Richard Bonyage, has more than the usual shadowy role in her life and so it is in the book; his farsighted guidance of her career is only one side of their unusual marriage. Braddon closes with her Metropolitan debut, but for now this is as definitive a biography as her admirers could wish. A list of her Covent Garden roles and a discography, already dated, are appended.