Five years after Beverly Sills' death, she is still beloved as one of the all-time greatest American opera singers. Originally published July 2007 on Obit-Mag.com.
While Beverly Sills' prodigious technical talents and ease of expression won her the admiration of ardent opera fans around the world, it was her affable grace that helped her win the hearts of the American public. Sills was a boon to the promulgation of fine arts in America, a staunch advocate for the opera and a beloved, virtuosic performer. She died on July 2, 2007 at the age of 78.
Soprano Beverly Sills, a member of the New York City Opera since 1955, poses for a portrait in this 1969 file photo. Sills, the Brooklyn-born opera diva who was a global icon of can-do American culture with her dazzling voice, bubbly personality and management moxie in the arts world, died Monday July 2, 2007 of cancer, said her manager, Edgar Vincent. She was 78. (AP Photo/File)
Her life story - humble beginnings in Brooklyn, a pushy stage mother, struggles early in her operatic career, fairy tale marriage and finally a breakthrough role that brought her to the heights of opera diva-dom - was equally compelling. Her final years as an administrator at The New York City Opera, the company that gave Sills her big break, Lincoln Center and The Metropolitan Opera solidified her role as distinguished ambassador of the arts, a reputation that began with television appearances in the 1970s.
She guest hosted The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on numerous occasions and appeared with the Muppets. But above all else, Sills will be remembered for her agility and precision as a coloratura soprano. Even if you have never set foot in an opera house, Sills is a captivating figure. Enjoy.
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