Beverly Sills - From First note to last

"Everything that can be said of her has been repeated many times. The mainspring of her career has been her belief that opera is drama, not a showcase for beautiful voices. Hers was among the most beautiful. Her range was enormous, all gold at the top and silver at the bottom, combining lightness of texture and lustrous shades of color with great strength. It has been a voice that can raise the roof or break your heart... Most of the time she seemed to sing with her back to the audience, or lying down, or in the middle of an exit. Dramatic expression was what she demanded." - "Newsweek, April 21, 1969" by Hubert Saal, music editor


Books Shortcut: Authors A - K . Authors L - P . Authors R - Z

Sills, Beverly

Bubbles - Beverly Sills


Macmillan, 1976, isbn 0672522682, hardcover
Warner Books, 1977, isbn 0446815209, softcover
Description -
Beverly 's autobiography, taking her life and career up through her debut at the Met in April 1975. Numerous photos, black and white as well as color, are placed throughout the 240 pages, which also include a useful index. There are no performance annals or discographies and Sills does not comment on many of her performances or recordings
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beverly autobiography

Beverly, An Autobiography

Bantam, 1987, isbn 0553051733, hardcover
Bantam, 1988, isbn 0553266470, softcover


Description -
Another life story by Sills covering much of the same ground as in Bubbles but with some different and additional stories. The book goes up through the first half of Sills' tenure as head of the New York City Opera ending with the 1986 season. The book has a number of black and white photos, most of which are not in Bubbles. The 347 pages are well indexed but again no performance annals or discographies and many performances and recordings are not mentioned.
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Bubbles - Encore Beverly Sills

Bubbles, An Encore

Grosset & Dunlap, 1981, isbn 0448120445, hardcover
Grosset & Dunlap, 1981, isbn 044812037, softcover
Description -
This is a reprint of Bubbles, with an additional chapter of 40 pages appended at the end. Written by Harvey E. Phillips, the chapter covers the rest of Sills' career through her retirement from singing. There are additional photos and there is a separate index for the new chapter.
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On My Own

On My Own

Bantam Audio Publishing 1987, isbn 0553457438, audiobook
Description -
Issued to complement "Beverly, An Autobiography" published in the same year, it is not a reading from her book, but an interview done exclusively for the audiobook. There is a narrator connecting the different sections of the interview and there are two live musical numbers: "Non disperar" from Handel" "Giulio Cesare" and the "Portuguese Folk Song" that her teacher, Estelle Liebling, prepared for Sills.
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Benedict, Helen

Portraits in print

Portraits in Print

Columbia Univ. Pr., 1991, isbn 0231072260, hardcover
Columbia Univ. Pr., 1991, isbn 0231072279, softcover
Description -
Experienced interviewer and journalist Helen Benedict profiles ten well-known figures in the arts (Beverly Sills, Susan Sontag, Joseph Brodsky, Paule Marshall, Bernard Malamud, Jessica Mitford, Robert Treuhaft, Leonard Michaels, Bertrand Bard, and Isaac Bashevis Singer), which were originally published in other newspapers and magazines. Benedict adds additional commentary before each profile and adds a postscript to each detailing how the interviews were arranged and any particularly interesting points about the interview itself.
The 14-page Sills profile, subtitled "Undaunted and Undefeated," was done in 1985 and emphasizes her family life, both her mother's influence while growing up and her attempts to have a "normal" family life with her husband and children, despite her career and the children's disabilities.
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Browne, Ray Broadus (editor)


Contemporary Heroes and
Heroines, Book III

Thomson Gale, 1998, isbn 078762215X, hardcover
This 699-page book is a library reference book geared for student use. Sills has an 8-page biographical sketch written in straightforward style. The information comes from previously published magazine and newspaper articles.
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Chapin, Schuyler


Sopranos, Mezzos, Tenors, Bassos, and Other Friends

Crown, 1995, isbn 0517588641, hardcover
Description -
Chapin, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera House from 1972-1975, has written personal essays about 30 singers and musicians he has worked with and/or known. The essays are short (5 to 10 pages) and are only impressions, not full career overviews. Each is accompanied by unusually dramatic photos by James-Daniel Radiches. The Sills essay covers 8 pages and has two contrasting photos of her.
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Davis, Peter G.

The American Opera Singer

The American Opera Singer: the lives and adventures of America's great singers in opera and concert from 1825 to the present

Doubleday, 1997, isbn 0385474954, hardcover
Anchor Books, 1999, isbn 0385421745, softcover
Description -
Peter G. Davis, the longtime music critic for New York magazine, fills nearly 600 pages with an overview of the American opera singer, from opera's arrival in America in the early 1800's to the end of the 20th century. The majority of the book is Davis's opinion about the strengths and weaknesses of a number of famous American singers, from Richard Tucker and Lawrence Tibbett to Eileen Farrell and Dorothy Kirsten. His strong opinions are often blunt and unflattering. Davis's portrayal of Beverly Sills is especially harsh, characterizing her as an overly ambitious, calculating performer, who sang beyond her abilities and took on roles unsuited for her. Her biggest fans probably will not agree with a lot of what Davis writes, but it is a good springboard for discussion about her art and an intriguing alternative viewpoint.
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Diamonstein, Barbaralee

open secrets

Open Secrets

Viking, 1972, isbn 0670527084, hardcover
Description -
The editor collected answers to questionnaires from 94 prominent women in all fields, publishing their responses to questions about women's issues. Sills responds to 56 questions about equality of the sexes, marriage, women's lib, the meaning of success, a woman's role in her family, and a woman's influence on her children.

Singular Voices

Singular Voices: Conversations with Americans who made a difference

Harry N. Abrams, 1997, isbn 0810926989, softcover
Description -
This 206-page book contains interviews with 17 leaders, pathfinders and prominent contributors to American life, who speak with candor about their professional and personal lives. Besides Beverly Sills, the list includes a wide range of personalities, such as Edward Albee, Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem and Elie Wiesel.
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Guy, Nancy

The Magic of Beverly Sills

The Magic of Beverly Sills

University of Illinois Press, 2015, isbn 978-0-252-03973-7, hardcover
Description -
Not a bigraphy but an overview of Sills' art and popularity. The book contains material from interviews of Sills' colleagues, family, friends and fans, all to get at what made Sills' career such a success. There are chapters on her audio and video recordings and an in-depth analysis of her "Anna Bolena" from live recordings as an example of her attention to detail and characterization.
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Hines, Jerome

great singers

Great Singers on Great Singing

Doubleday,1982, isbn 0385146388, hardcover
Limelight Editions, 1982, isbn 0879100257, softcover
Description -
Operatic basso Jerome Hines interviews 40 famous singers and two doctors about the technique of singing. Chapters are from 5 to 10 pages long and often include printed lines of music for examples of exercises. The Sills chapter is 10 pages, in which she addresses breathing, chest voice, mask, and scales.
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Jacobson, Robertson



Morrow, 1974, isbn 0688028756, hardcover
Vision Press, 1974, isbn 0854784535, hardcover (UK)
Morrow, 1976, isbn 0688078753, softcover
Description -
Robert Jacobson, former editor of Opera News, profiles 35 musicians active at the time of publication, including singers, pianists, and conductors. Profiles run 6 to 12 pages. The Sills interview (pp. 207-216) is a composite of two separate interviews, one from the winter of 1968 and one from early 1970, and goes into detail about the Giulio Cesare debut and the singing of all the Contes d'Hoffmann roles, as well as Callas's influence on her.
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Jacobson, Robertson & Steiner, Christian

opera people

Opera People

Vendome Press, 1982, isbn 0865650276, hardcover
Weidenfeld & Nihcolson Ltd., isbn 0297781731, hardcover (UK)
Penguin USA, 1983, isbn 0865650381, softcover
Book Sales, 1986, isbn 0865650276, hardcover reprint
Description -
Author Jacobson and photographer Steiner profile 38 well-known singers and conductors. Texts are one or two page overviews, each accompanied by several large photos, often full page. The Sills photo is a full-page color shot of the singer as Tha´s, and there is an additional double page photo of Sills and Sherrill Milnes in a Central Park carriage, the shot used for the duet record they made together.
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