Situated in a dress circle position on the slopes of the village of Les Avants, overlooking Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Chalet Monet is the magnificent home of Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE and her husband, Maestro Richard Bonynge AC CBE.
In his charming, eloquent, conversational style, Richard Bonynge takes us inside the home and life he has shared with Dame Joan, and in so doing provides rare insight into two of the greatest international cultural icons in opera of all time.
The Chalet was introduced to Dame Joan and Richard by their close friend Noel Coward who resided in the neighbouring property. The opulence of each of the distinctive rooms over the four floors and vistas from the Chalet is artfully captured in stunning photography. Paintings and objets d'art line the walls and fill the cabinets, each with their own provenance; presented by royalty or celebrities, embroided by Dame Joan or collected by Richard. Through the stories of these artefacts, told by Richard in eloquent conversational style, we learn about the life and times of two of the most formidable figures associated with opera in the 20th Century.
For those fortunate enough to have discovered and experienced the thrill of opera and all the larger than life characters associated with it, to enter Chalet Monet is somewhat of a fairy tale experience that could be taken right out of a Cinderella story ... Chalet Monet is a house with a thousand stories. It is living history, theatrical, a beautiful home with enormous spirit like its owners. It radiates grandeur yet intimacy with places to sit and contemplate, views to linger over, books to be read, paintings to admire and music to listen to. It is a treasure trove for the senses where many a story has been told or begun. Only its walls and its owners remember the decades of music making here and possibly the odd neighbour and the cows on the grassy slopes ...
Thank you, Richard for allowing us to enter your private and colourful world.
From the Preface by Fiona Janes Artistic Director | General Manager Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Foundation