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Soprano Joan Sutherland hospitalized

July 7, 2008 11:27:13 AM PDT
Opera legend Joan Sutherland is recovering well after breaking both legs during a fall at her Swiss home, her agent said Monday.

"She had an accident while doing the gardening, and somehow managed to break both her legs," agent David Sigall said.

The 81-year-old soprano is now in a Swiss hospital undergoing rehabilitation, Sigall told The Associated Press by telephone from London.

"She has been moved to the rehabilitation section," he said, adding that Sutherland would likely remain there for up to eight weeks before being allowed to put any weight on her legs.

"All is well except I'm sure she's not pleased," said Sigall, who had not yet spoken to Sutherland himself.

The accident occurred June 24 while the Australian singer was picking flowers in the garden and lost her balance, an assistant reached at Sutherland's home near Montreux, told the AP.

The assistant, who asked not to be named, said Sutherland underwent successful surgery at a nearby hospital and was in good spirits.

Sutherland's husband, conductor Richard Bonynge, initially canceled a planned performance with Opera Australia later this month but was convinced by Sutherland to carry out the engagement, the assistant said.

"Mr. Bonynge has now gone to Australia" to conduct Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," Sigall said.

Sutherland's performance in the difficult title role in a 1959 Covent Garden revival widely is seen as her breakthrough in an international career that lasted until 1991.

Sigall said Sutherland had no previous accidents. "She's always been in pretty robust health."

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