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The Art Of Beverly Sills is the greatest compilation cd of her masterful arias and performances. It is a portrait of her most memorable roles, her vocal pyrotechnics and dramatic power. It is sad that no one has reviewed this album yet. I am honored to be the first. Beverly Sills. Her name is synonymous with opera. She is the American opera star with genuine soul, warmth, personality and electric acting ability. To those who remember her live performances in the 60's and 70's, they recall her ingratiating persona, her connection with the audience, her sense of humor, her beautiful coloratura and lyric qualities, as well as engaging dramatic flair. Equally as good an actress on the opera stage as Maria Callas, and surpassing the voice of Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills is my personal favorite soprano. I have reasons to declare her the greatest soprano of all time.
First of all, she did not come from the European elite, or the traditional foreign class. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and has worked with the New York City Opera and the Met exclusively. Her humble beginnings were in radio and television, as a child prodigy. She was educated in music, mainly piano, and was taught by the esteemed vocal coach Estelle Liebling. She was an operetta star long before she graced the bigger heroines of opera- singing as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus. On this cd, we are fortunate enough to hear an operetta aria which must have been nostalgic for her during recitals. We hear her in the roles that made her a star- Donizetti's Anna Bolena, whose aria "Copia Iniquia " is full of demanding higher notes, as Maria Stuarda in her coloratura/lyric aria "O Nube" and as the lovesick Queen Elizabeth I in Roberto Deveraux. We hear her as Massenet's romantic heroine Manon, "Adieu, notre petit table", showcasing off her French style to perfection. The same is said of Olympia's aria "Les Ouiseaux" from Offenbach's Tales Of Hoffman. Although Beverly excelled unrivaled in bel canto and coloratura, she could also take the risky leap into dramatic soprano. Perhaps her most challenging role was Bellini's Norma. But successfully, she won the world's attention when she appeared on Time magazine's cover as Elizabeth I in Robert Deveraux. This was her greatest moment.
This cd is a colorful, varied portrait of Beverly Sill's career. She has long retired from the opera stage (1979), but she has been active in the Met since the 80's and 90's. She is an inspiration to sopranos everywhere. With justice, she deserves the recognition as the greatest soprano of all time. For an unexplained reason, her recordings on LP were scarce, but now, thanks to digitally remastered reissues on cd, a new generation will hear her great performances. Available now are her performances in Lucia Di Lammermoor, Manon, Tales Of Hoffman, Barber Of Seville, I Puritani, La Traviata, Thais, and the box set featuring the three Donizetti Tudor Queens- Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and her master performance in Roberto Deveraux.