|Date of Birth||25 May 1929, Brooklyn, New York, USA|
|Date of Death||2 July 2007, New York City, New York, USA (lung cancer)|
|Birth Name||Belle Miriam Silverman|
|Height||5' 8" (1.73 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
This vibrant, fine-humored coloratura was able to accomplish what most others of her ilk could or would not do -- she humanized opera and made it approachable to the masses. There were no diva-like traits in this star and the public absolutely adored her for it. Dubbed "America's Queen of Opera" in 1971 by Time magazine, Beverly Sills, the lovely blonde with the toothy smile and fireplace-warm personality, also gained notice for her rise to stardom without benefit of European training, eventually paving the way for other American-trained singers to succeed without the accustomed "Met certification". During her career she recorded 18 full-length operas as well as numerous recital discs. A Victor Herbert album she recorded won a Grammy Award in 1978. If not one of its most distinctive and charismatic voices, she certainly became opera's most accessible figurehead and with it enticed a surprisingly wide audience who would have typically turned away from the long-haired art form.
Brooklyn-born Belle Miriam Silverman arrived on May 25, 1929, to Russian-Jewish émigrés and the good humor already started at birth when she was nicknamed "Bubbles" due to bubbles emanating from her mouth as she arrived. At age 3 she made her debut on a kiddie show and won a Brooklyn "beautiful baby" contest as well. Her singing gifts were detected early on and she began to study at age 7. Performing increasingly on various radio shows well into her teen years, she made her operatic debut at age 18 singing the role of Frasquita in "Carmen" with the Philadelphia Civic Opera.
In the early 1950s Beverly toured with the Charles L. Wagner Opera Company and established herself in the roles of Violetta in "La Traviata" and Micaela in "Carmen". The highlight during this time came with her role as Helen of Troy in "Mephistopheles" with the San Francisco Opera in 1953. She met future husband Peter Greenough, an associate editor, while touring with the New York City Opera in 1955 (she had auditioned unsuccessfully for the company for nearly 4 years). The couple married a year later and went on to have two children: Meredith and Peter Jr. Despite her sunny, optimistic demeanor, Beverly had her fair share of misfortune. Her daughter was born deaf and son born autistic. For the remainder of her life she became an avid spokesperson for children with particular needs.
Her buildup on the opera scene was surprisingly gradual. Over the years she developed a strong repertoire of leading roles in the works of Mozart, Handel, Offenbach, Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi. Stardom came with the role of Cleopatra in Handel's "Julius Caesar" in 1966 at Lincoln Center, and she confirmed it with subsequent roles in "Le Coq d'Or, "Mamon", "Lucia di Lammermoor" "The Siege of Corinth" and "Il Trittico".
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s she made herself available to the public in lighter forums at such open venues as the Hollywood Bowl. She willingly shared both the stage and small screen with such unlikely co-stars as Carol Burnett ("Sills and Burnett at the Met"), Danny Kaye, John Denver, Tony Bennett, Johnny Carson and even the Muppets. She won four Emmys for her interview show "Lifestyles with Beverly Sills" in the late 70s. On the operatic side, some of her televised performances included that of "The Barber of Seville", "La Traviata" and "Manon".
Beverly's lyric soprano began to falter at around age 50 in the late 1970s. She bid her audiences adieu in a 1980 performance of "Die Fledermaus" with Joan Sutherland for the San Diego Opera. Later that decade she was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980 and was paid tribute at the 1985 Kennedy Center Honors for her lifetime of contribution to the arts.
In later years Beverly worked behind the scenes after taking over the mismanaged City Opera Company and turning things around as its general director. She retired successfully from that leadership post in 1989 and five years later became chairman of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Retiring in 2002, she took over the chair for the Metropoliatan Opera itself until 2005 due to family obligations and health issues. Her husband Peter died in September of 2006; ten months later Beverly would follow.
(Obviously) a non-smoker all her life, Beverly nevertheless developed lung cancer. Her father had died of the same disease back in 1947. She died on July 2, 2007 at her Manhattan residence. Her two children and one grandchild survive.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / firstname.lastname@example.org
|Peter Greenough||(17 November 1956 - 6 September 2006) (his death) (2 children)|