From the Vaults: George Jellinek with Beverly Sills

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

To some, she was Bubbles. Others knew her as "the diva next door." But to most of the world, the Brooklyn-born coloratura soprano Beverly Sills was America’s first prima donna. Sills, who died in 2007, was a particularly memorable guest on WQXR's The Vocal Scene with George Jellinek.

Sills was more than a soprano. She helped reshape the cultural map of New York City through her leadership of the New York City Opera and Lincoln Center. With her plain-spoken manner and telegenic charisma, she 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 also left behind the memories of many great performances, some documented on recordings. On this 1992 edition of The Vocal Scene we hear her performances of Massenet's Manon, Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare, and the title role in Donizetti's Anna Bolena, among others.

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Comments [3]

Paul Manzon from Somerset, NJ

Thank you for this wonderful interview. The memory of "Bubbles" will live on forever. What a wonderful person and performer.

Oct. 28 2010 01:53 PM
Alison Ames from NYC UWS

Thank you for posting this wonderful interview, preceded by Sills's remarkable 'V'adoro, pupille', with which she seduced not only the great Giulio Cesare but a new generation of opera fans. I remember hearing this interview live back when. Losing Ms. Sills and Mr. Jellinek was a double-loss to New York music lovers. Evviva WQXR (and WNYC for 'saving' it)!

Oct. 27 2010 06:41 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Beverly Sills, a force of nature in the sense that she was spectacular as a singer and actress, so charismatic that she could charm the TODAY TV show viewers and that Johnny Carson could choose her as his guest host, and ALSO have the managerial talent to lead the New York City Opera with aplomb and achieve no mean accomplishments to add to her cachet and to add to her famous bracelets, detailing her projects and roles that she sang, as "add-ons." Extraordinary talents reveal themselves extraordinarily.

Oct. 26 2010 05:38 PM

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