Joan Hammond lived an extraordinary life, as dramatic and deeply moving as any of the operatic roles for which she became famous Tosca, Mimi, Butterfly, Aida, Salome, Rusalka.No stranger to success, in her youth Joan was a golfing champion, excelling at most sports. But it was her voice that took her on a life-changing journey to Europe where the opulent pre-war theatres became her domain. Ever passionate, always generous, and never losing her Australian accent, Joan Hammond was an inspiring character; yet behind the scenes she faced many challenging twists of fortune. Joan's exhilarating performances introduced opera and classical song to millions of people, world-wide. She turned little-known arias into popular hits and pioneered the way for Australian artists on the world stage. When her own performing and recording days were over, she devoted herself to coaxing Australian opera into life not least through teaching young singers. Sara Hardy tells Joan's life story in all its glamour and complexity. Through interviews with family and old friends, she captures Joan's joie de vivre - that wonderful sparkle that never left her eyes.