Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Beverly Sills (1929 - 2007)

American Opera lost our greatest diva yesterday. Beverly Sills, a non-smoker, lost her battle with lung cancer. As one of the most well-known and best loved opera sopranos, Sills graced the cover of Time magazine, was awarded the Medal of Freedom, represented the ideal American opera singer and even sang with The Muppets. She was 78.

I remember Beverly Sills, as a child (her appearance on The Muppet Show being my most vivid memory) her shock of red hair, her spunky personality (I think they may call it pluck) and her passion for the arts made her an approachable and engaging celebrity.

Even after retiring her beautiful lyric coloratura soprano voice in 1980, she went on to take the helm at the New York City Opera, the Lincoln Center and The Met. Her bubbly personality made her a favorite with Johnny Carson and other chat shows.

Beverly Sills was one of us. She grew up in Brooklyn. She worked her way up through the ranks and didn’t even sing overseas until she was 36. She was a wife and a dedicated mother to two special needs children. She was a “voice” in so many ways.

Beverly Sills has a strong connection to the birth of TBPAC. She was one of the luminaries who attended the opening Gala in 1987. I just spent some quality time in the archives to find the connection. Ms. Sills was here as General Manager of the New York City Opera who performed Act II of La Boheme in what is now known as Morsani Hall. According to society pages, Ms. Sills wore a “mauve gown with purple flowers and was followed by cameras and members of the press all evening.”

We were lucky to have her here. And the world was lucky to have her talent.

- Kari G.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, another one of the 65,000 INNOCENT Americans kills each year because of exposure to toxic tobacco smoke. Smoking must be banned everywhere and then tobacco must be banned.