1992: Beverly Sills on The Vocal Scene

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

In 1992, the Brooklyn-born soprano Beverly Sills was a guest on The Vocal Scene, a show hosted by the late George Jellinek that ran on WQXR for 36 years. This was recorded several years after her retirement from singing, at age 63.

At this point in her life, Sills was operatic royalty. She had long since retired from the stage, but played an active role in managerial positions at New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. With her plain-spoken manner and telegenic charisma, "Bubbles," as she was known, frequently sat in for Johnny Carson as host of "The Tonight Show," and even did a stint co-hosting "The View" late in her life (she passed away in 2007).

In the course of this hour-long show, Sills shares her recordings of Massenet's Manon, Handel's Giulio Cesare and Donizetti's Anna Bolena, among others. We also hear what happened when she heard herself singing on the radio while getting her hair done in the beauty parlor.

Below: See what our expert panel thinks of this interview and share your own thoughts in the comments section.


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Comments [5]

Bobby Benjamin Grafvon Rosenberg from East Brunswick

"Thanx!"so very much for a short"snippet" of Brooklyn's first QUEEN of OPERA, MS BEVERLY SILLS! She introduced opera to the public via "The Johnny Carson Show," where she sang with clarity,expression,emotion,& personality! Her diction & enunciation were impeccable, besides Ms Sills' colorful flourishes & rich coloratura soprano voice, she made it fun & okay to appreciate & enjoy opera. What she once she retired from singing is also phenomenal! It was "Bubbles" who looked for a new sponsor when the Saturdays' Metropolitan Opera broadcasts were due for cancellation! Loved her as Violetta in La Traviata!!!!! 8>)

May. 14 2012 09:47 AM
Renee Tiesler from NYC

Thank you for a wonderful interview with a wonderful unforgettable artist. It brought back many great memories.

Nov. 24 2011 12:01 AM
James Walberg from Hudson Valley, NY

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this seminal interview from a legend. I missed it when it first aired. I saw her in Lucia and was mesmerized.

Nov. 18 2011 11:20 PM
James Berry from New York City

What a great interview. I was lucky to have seen Ms. Sills in all the Tudor Queen operas and will never forget those evenings. Thanks, WQXR!

Nov. 10 2011 01:29 PM
Paul Dunphy from Bogota, NJ

The world is a poorer place without her! We miss you Beverly!

Nov. 09 2011 08:18 PM

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