It is perhaps inevitable that anything to do with Dame Joan Sutherland be a matter of eye-watering statistics – even a coffee table book about her home in Switzerland. Chalet Monet is a bicep-building 350 pages and the chatty text by maestro Richard Bonynge is further enlivened with some 1000 photographs, both from their archive and by photographer Dominique Bersier. The effect is overwhelming and demands much browsing.

Chalet Monet

The house is four stories of many rooms, a Gothic-style tower and overlooks Lac Leman from above Montreux. According to Bonynge, “Noël Coward is the reason we came to live in Les Avants. Joan and I had met Noël on a ship crossing the Atlantic on our way to New York in the sixties. At the time we were living between our London home and a lovely old villa on Lago Maggiore. Noël suggested that it would be far more convenient if we lived more centrally, nearer Geneva or Zürich airports, and said he would help us find a house…”

An hour and a bit to Geneva and more than two...