May 25, 1929; her mother, Shirley Bahn was a musician and her father, Morris Silverman, was an insurance broker.
Brooklyn, New York
July 2, 2007
Also Known As:
Her full name was Belle Miriam Silverman; she is referred to as "America's Queen of Opera." She was an opera singer known for her roles as coloratura soprano in the 1960s and 70s. She was married to Peter Greenough and they have 2 children. Aside from her numerous stage performances, she was also a talk show host (Lifestyles with Beverly Sills), appeared on several tv shows and on the cover of reputable magazines such as Newsweek and Time; she also made several recordings.
Beverly started her career very early at the age of 3 when she sang "The Wedding of Jack and Jill" and won a "Miss Beautiful Baby" contest. This was soon followed by performances on a radio program called "Rainbow House" where she performed as "Bubbles" Silverman. At age 7, she took singing lessons under Estelle Liebling; a vocal coach. Later Bubbles adopted the stage name Beverly Sills.
Highlights of Early Career:
Other accomplishments early in her career are:
- Singing for a short film titled "Uncle Sol Solves It."
- Auditioned and won on CBS Radio's Major Bowes' Amateur Hour when she was 10.
- Recurring appearance on a weekly show called Capital Family Hour.
- At 16, Beverly made her professional stage debut touring with the Gilbert and Sullivan company.
- At 18, she made her operatic stage debut playing the role of Frasquita in Bizet's "Carmen."
Other Roles Played:
Her other singing roles include Violetta in "La Traviata" (1951), Micaëla in "Carmen" (1952), Helen of Troy in Boito's "Mefistofele" (953), Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni" (1953), Rosalinde in Strauss's "Die Fledermaus" (1955), title role in Douglas Stuart Moore's "The Ballad of Baby Do" (1958) and title role in Massenet's "Manon" (1962).
Becoming More Famous:
In 1966, she played the role of Cleopatra in Handel's "Giulio Cesare," a role which made her more widely known. Highlights of her career during this time include:
- The role of Queen of Shemakha in Rimsky-Korsakov's "Le Coq d'Or."
- The title role in "Manon."
- Played the role in Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor."
- Played the three lead roles in Puccini's trilogy "Il Trittico."
- Played the role of Zerbinetta in Richard Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos." (1969)
- The role of Pamira in Rossini's "The Siege of Corinth."
- She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in "The Siege of Corinth" in April 1975.
Beverly retired on October 27, 1980; after which she became general manager of the New York City Opera until 1989. She served as chairman of Lincoln Center from 1994 to 2002. She also became chairman of the Metropolitan Opera from 2002 to 2005. Beverly supported many charitable causes such as the March of Dimes. On June 28, 2007 Beverly was admitted to a hospital due to lung cancer from which she succumbed on July 2, 2007.
Watch Beverly Sills' farewell performance as she sings "Tell Me Why"