Author Topic: A loss in the opera world  (Read 2235 times)

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Offline Ripley

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A loss in the opera world
« on: July 07, 2007, 08:09:30 PM »
America, and the opera world lost a very talented individual when Beverly Sills died of lung cancer (a non-smoker) at 78 on July 2.

There are many complete tributes and discussions online to be found concerning her life and her singing career.  However, since she retired from performing stage work in 1980, I would like to point out some other activities of hers that might not be widely known if you don't follow opera.

I can't find it now, but when she retired, I remember reading a Time magazine article that printed she was the highest paid opera singer in the world.
For the next 10 yrs she was the General Director of the New York City Opera.
In 1994 she became the Chair of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, also located in NYC. 
The Lincoln Center for Performing Arts is the largest (serves as home to 12 arts organizations), most versatile performing arts center in the world IMO...it can encompass any form/aspect of the performing arts...

She was the first woman and first artist ever to lead that prestigious arts institution...which includes
the New York Philharmonic,
the Metropolitan Opera, and the
New York Ballet, to name a few.

In 2002 she then moved on to become the Chair of the Metropolitan Opera (The Met).

So in addition to being a coloratura soprano that could pull off a trill with amazing control across decades, she also was a force in support of her craft.  And for being an opera diva...quite "down to earth", with unpretentious sense of humor.
She had stated in the latter years of her life, "I wanted to leave when people were saying it's too soon, not when they were saying when is that woman ever going to stop."
A few other memorable quotes of hers...
"My family, my husband was never in love with my high notes.  He would attend my opera opening, and never come again." :lol:

"I really do believe I can accomplish a great deal with a big grin, I know some people find that disconcerting, but that doesn't matter."

"In youth we run into difficulties. In old age difficulties run into us."

"There is a growing strength in women, but it's in the forehead, not in the forearm."

"I lived through the garbage. I might as well dine on the caviar."

She had known personal challenges, with her daughter born hearing-impaired, her son born developmentally disabled, (She carried two watches, one set to her son's schedule in the time zone where he lived, so that she could always know what he was doing), underwent successful surgery for cancer in 1974, and lost her husband last yr after a long illness.

An American treasure was lost with her passing.  Rest in peace Madame Sills.

Offline Ripley

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Re: A loss in the opera world
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2007, 08:21:18 PM »
Most of my life, opera was the only music I didn't like.  I would literally have to run out of a room, when it was playing, esp. with a coloratura soprano shrieking out high notes like fingernails on a chalkbrd.  With time and study, it is now my fav genre.

Whilst I could point out many roles, opera names, and videos that portray Beverly Sill's operatic achievements, there is one video that can be appreciated by opera buffs, as well as those who find it less satisfying, or downright irritating.

"Bubbles" sings together with Danny Kaye in a hilarious opera parody back in 1975.   :hysterical:

I kid you not, I had tears streaming down my face I laughed so hard when I saw it! 

I watched it again when I had time this AM, and the tears streamed again, for an additional reason.  The video only shows a fraction of her vocal ability, but also her deadpan comic timing which she brought to many of her operatic stage roles.

Tis a bit long for dialup 7:55 but if ya get time...watch the looks on their faces as they observe each other sing.  :lol:

Danny Kaye says, "She promised me when she came out we could sing a TOOet together."
Ms Sills responds, "I would be enCHAUNted."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZEzVbGzbNg 7:55