Beverly Sills - From First note to last

Beverly Sills Services & Tributes

Oct 03, 2007 - The New York City Opera, where Beverly Sills first achieved international celebrity, and with which she was affiliated as prima donna, General Director, and board member for well over three decades, will officially launch its celebrations of her life and legacy on Saturday, October 27, at the opening matinee of its new production of Massenet's Cendrillon. The performance, dedicated to Ms. Sills' memory, will be followed by a brief musical tribute on stage after which the audience will be invited to a toast on the promenade of the New York State Theater. Mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle will moderate the memorial, which will include reminiscences from City Opera Chairman Susan L. Baker among other past and present City Opera company members.

Also available, starting on October 27, memorial inscription notebooks will be placed in the State Theater lobby for people to record memories of Ms. Sills to become part of the company's archives. These books will be available in the lobby for the duration of the fall season. It was at the City Opera premiere of Cendrillon in 1983 that Ms. Sills first introduced supertitles to American opera audiences. Saturday, October 27 also nearly marks the 52nd anniversary of her debut as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus (October 29, 1955). Tickets to the performance of Cendrillon are available at the New York State Theater Box Office (20 Lincoln Center, 63rd and Columbus), by calling CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500 or by visiting City Opera's website.

August 22, 2007 - Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Opera, and New York City Opera will present "A Tribute to Beverly Sills," a free public event dedicated to the memory of the great soprano, on September 16, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. at the Metropolitan Opera.

Ms. Sills, one of the most popular figures in the history of opera and a champion of the performing arts, died on July 2, 2007 at the age of 78.

Artists scheduled to perform at the event include sopranos Natalie Dessay and Anna Netrebko, along with baritone Nathan Gunn, winner of the first annual Beverly Sills Award. Met Music Director James Levine will play the piano.

Speakers at the event will include Susan Baker, Chairman of the Board of New York City Opera; Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Chairman of Lincoln Center; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; Carol Burnett; Plácido Domingo; Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera; Henry Kissinger; Nathan Leventhal, former President of Lincoln Center; Julius Rudel, conductor and former General Director of New York City Opera; Stanley Sills, brother of Ms. Sills; and Barbara Walters.

Tickets to "A Tribute to Beverly Sills" will be free of charge and available at the Metropolitan Opera box office on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 12 noon on September 16 (limit two tickets per person). The program will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius, the 24-hour satellite radio channel, and streamed live via RealNetworks at

August 04, 2007 - Beverly Sills' will was made public this week in Manhattan Surrogates Court. Sills left her five million dollar apartment in the Beresford on Central Park West and all her personal property to her daughter, Meredith ("Muffy") Holden Greenough, 47, who is deaf. Sills also asked that money from the sale of a 1.5 million dollar home in Patterson NY and the sale of her jewelry be placed into a trust for her 46 year-old autistic son, Peter ("Bucky") Greenough and her 55 year-old adopted stepdaughter, Diana Greenough, who is blind and deaf. Both live in institutions.

Lincoln Center Tributes:
On July 3rd, at 7:30 p.m., the thousands of dancers who gathered on Josie Robertson Plaza for Midsummer Night Swing was asked to observe a minute of silence.

At the same time, inside Avery Fisher Hall, the New York Philharmonic began its concert with a performance of Bernstein's Overture to Candide. In a tradition that began with the death of Bernstein, it was performed without a conductor. Zarin Mehta spoke from the stage. The Philharmonic chose the music because its celebratory nature matched Sills' zest for life. At the same time, the house lights at Avery Fisher Hall and at the New York State Theater wiere turned off for one minute.

The Metropolitan Opera on Sirius Satellite Radio (Channel 85) will broadcast tribute performances this week, beginning tonight (July 3) at 9 p.m. with a broadcast of Rossini's The Siege of Corinth from Sills' debut season (1975). Host Margaret Juntwait will give a special introduction about Sills. The tribute continues on Thursday night (July 5) at 9 p.m. with Sills' Met broadcast of Massenet's Thaïs, and again on Friday night (July 6) at 8 p.m. with a repeat of The Siege of Corinth.

The Museum of Television & Radio:
As a tribute to the beloved soprano, who died on July 2, 2007, The Paley Center for Media (formerly The Museum of Television & Radio) will be screening a long-lost 1962 WCBS television program featuring composer Douglas Moore (1893-1969), who talks about his opera The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Ms. Sills, who played Baby Doe Tabor in the legendary 1958 New York City Opera production of this work. Highlights include Sills' rendition of the "Willow Song" from The Ballad of Baby Doe and "When All is Still and Fair" from another Moore opera, Wings of the Dove. The host of the program is Earl Wrightson. (1962; 45 minutes) The schedule is: Thursday, July 5, at 6 p.m. and thereafter daily (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, etc) at 3:00 p.m.. through Sunday, July 15.

From July 17 through July 29 The Paley Center for Media will screen Sills and Burnett at the Met. The Paley Center will be screening this much-heralded musical special, taped at New York's Metropolitan Opera House and featuring Sills and comedian Carol Burnett. The program opens with a dialogue between Burnett and Sills, who then sing "Only an Octave Apart." Highlights include Burnett and Sills in an audition sketch, Sills performing Donizetti's "O Luce Di Quest' Anima," and the two women singing a medley of torch songs paired with arias that also express the blues. Directed by Dave Powers. (1976, 60 minutes)

The Paley Center is located at 25 West 52nd Street and admission is by suggested contribution. The Paley Center, Formerly The Museum of Television & Radio

July 2, 2007 - Beverly Sills dies of cancer in New York City