Beverly Sills

Beverly Sills (born May 29, 1929) was perhaps America's foremost operatic celebrity in the 1960s and 1970s. She was dubbed "America’s Queen of Opera."

She was raised in a blue collar neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of first generation Americans. She was born Belle Miriam Silverman (Sills is the stage named she later adopted) to Shirley and Morris Silverman, of Russian-Jewish descent. When she was three years old, she won a "beautiful baby" contest after singing the song "The Wedding of Jack and Jill." As a child, she spoke Russian, Romanian and English.

1945 saw the start of her brilliant opera career as coloratura soprano when she joined a Gilbert & Sullivan touring company. In 1955, she made her debut as a member of the New York City Opera. In April, 1975, she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Pamira in Rossini's The Siege of Corinth, receiving an eighteen-minute ovation.

Ms. Sills is an ardent spokesperson for the prevention and treatment of birth defects. She has two biological children, Muffy and Peter. Muffy has severe hearing loss and Peter is mentally retarded. Initially, the great opera star left the stage to care for her children, but eventually, with encouragement from her husband, she resumed her singing career.

In 1980, she took on the role of general director of the New York City Opera, turning the ailing opera company into a financially viable community of artists. Beverly Sills (whose name, incidentally, is an acronym of Silvery Bells) is an American treasure.

Quotation: ""You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try". - Beverly Sills


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