Beverly Sills Biography (1929-)

Original name, Belle Miriam Silverman; born May 25, 1929, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Morris (an insurance broker) and Sonia (a musician; maiden name, Bahn) Silverman; married Peter Greenough (a newspaper publisher), November 17,1956; children: Meredith (Muffy), Peter, Jr. (Bucky); stepchildren: Lindley,Nancy, Diana. Career: Actress, opera singer, and administrator. Shubert Tours of Charles Wagner Opera Company, touring performer, 1950-51; New YorkCity Opera Company, coloratura soprano, 1955-80, director, 1980-88, board president, 1989-90; Tanglewood Festival, performer, 1968-69; National Endowmentfor the Arts, council member, 1970-76; March of Dimes Mothers' March on Birth Defects, national chair, 1972-; Warner Communications, Inc., director, 1982-; Metropolitan Opera, New York City, managing director, 1991-94; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City, chair, 1994-; appeared with several major opera houses in the United States, Europe, and Latin America; Carnegie Commission on the Future of Public Broadcasting, member; National Opera Institute, chair; member of the board of directors for the National Foundationfor the Arts, the Bagby Foundation, the Circle in the Square Theatre, and American Express. Sang commercial jingles. Also credited as Beverly Sills Greenough. Known to family and friends as Bubbles. Awards, Honors: Grammy Award nominations, best classical performance-vocal soloist, 1969, for Scenes and Arias from French Opera, and 1970, for Mozart and Strauss Arias; musician of the year, Musical America, 1970; Edison Award, 1972, for Manon; Mus.D., Temple University, 1972, New York University, 1973, New England Conservatory, 1973, and Harvard University, 1974; Hanel Medallion for artistic achievement, New York City, 1974; Emmy Award, outstanding classical music program, 1975, for Profile in Music: Beverly Sills, Festival '75;Grammy Award, best classical performance-vocal soloist, 1976, for (Herbert) Music of Victor Herbert; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding special-comedy/variety or music, 1977, for Sills and Burnett at the Met; Emmy Award, 1978, for Lifestyles with Beverly Sills; Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Harvard University, 1978; Pearl S. Buck Women's Award, 1979; Recording Industry Association of America Cultural Award,Recording Industry Association of America, 1979; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding classical program in the performing arts, 1980, for Beverly Sillsin Concert; Presidential Medal of Freedom, United States Executive Officeof the President, 1980; Golden Baton Award, American Symphony Orchestra League, 1980; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding classical program in the performing arts, 1981, for "A Lincoln Center Special: Beverly! Her Farewell Performance," Great Performances; Charles Evans Hughes Gold Medal Award, National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1984; Kennedy Center Honors, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 1985; Gold Medal, National Institute of Social Sciences, 1985; National Medal of Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, 1990; also received an honorary doctorate from the California Instituteof the Arts. Addresses: Contact: Edgar Vincent, 157 West 57th St., NewYork, NY 10019.

Actress, opera singer, administrator
Birth Details
May 25, 1929
Brooklyn, New York, United States

Famous Works

  • Stage Appearances
  • Micaela, Carmen, Philadelphia Civic Opera, Philadelphia, PA, 1941
  • Helen of Troy, Mefistofele, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco, CA, 1953
  • Rosalinda, Die Fledermaus, New York City Opera, New York City, 1955
  • Baby Doe, The Ballad of Baby Doe, New York City Opera, 1958
  • Intolleranza, 1960
  • Queen of the Night, Die Zauberfloete (also known as The Magic Flute), Opera Company of Boston, Boston, MA, 1964
  • The Tales of Hoffman, New Orleans Opera Company, New Orleans, LA,1964
  • Donna Anna, Don Giovanni, New York City Opera, 1964
  • Constanza, The Abduction from the Seraglio, 1964
  • Queen of the Night, Die Zauberfloete (also known as The Magic Flute), Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria, 1967
  • Title role, Manon, 1968-69
  • The Siege of Corinth, La Scala, Milan, Italy, 1969
  • Robin Hood Dell, Philadelphia, PA, 1969
  • Title role, Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden,England, 1970
  • Violetta, La Traviata, Deutsche Oper, West Berlin, West Germany (now Berlin, Germany), 1970
  • Pamira, Le siege de Corinthe (also known as The Siege of Corinth), Metropolitan Opera, New York City, 1975
  • Title role, Lucia di Lammermoor, Metropolitan Opera, 1976
  • Thaies, Metropolitan Opera, 1978
  • Juana, La loca, San Diego Opera, San Diego, CA, 1979
  • Also appeared in Tales of Hoffman, New York City Opera; as Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, New York City Opera, Lincoln Center; Queen Elizabeth I, Roberto Devereaux; Marie, Daughter of the Regiment; Rosina, The Barber of Seville; Anne Boleyn (title role), Anna Bolena;Mary Stuart (Mary, Queen of Scots, the Queen of England; title role), Maria Stuarda; title role, Norma; title role, Lucrezia Borgia;Madame Goldentrill, The Impresario; Prima Donna, Six Characters inSearch of an Author; Milly Theale, Wings of the Dove; Queen of Shemakha, Le coq d'or; and in Il trittico, I puritani, Suor angelica, Il tabarro, I Capuleti e I Montecchi, and Ariodante. Appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, 1971.
  • Major Tours
  • Micaela, Carmen, Charles L. Wagner Opera Company, U.S. cities, 1951-52
  • Violetta, La Traviata, Charles L. Wagner Opera Company, U.S. cities, 1951-52
  • Television Appearances
  • Specials
  • Profile in Music: Beverly Sills, Festival '75, PBS, 1975
  • Sills and Burnett at the Met, CBS, 1976
  • Rosina, "The Barber of Seville," Great Performances, PBS, 1976
  • "Manon" (also known as "New York City Opera: Manon" and "Live from Lincoln Center"), Great Performances, PBS, 1977
  • Beverly Sills in Concert, PBS, 1978
  • Interviewer, Skyline: Gordon Parks, PBS, 1979
  • "A Lincoln Center Special: Beverly! Her Farewell Performance," Great Performances, PBS, 1980
  • The Dean Martin Christmas Special, NBC, 1980
  • Norina, "Don Pasquale," Live from the Met, PBS, 1980
  • Walt Disney.One Man's Dream, CBS, 1981
  • John Denver: Music and the Mountains, ABC, 1981
  • Host, "The Preservation Hall Jazz Band," On Stage at Wolf Trap, PBS, 1985
  • Host, "The National Symphony Orchestra on Stage at Wolf Trap: Rostropovich Conducts Shostakovich," On Stage at Wolf Trap, PBS, 1985
  • The Kennedy Center Honors: A Celebration of the Performing Arts, 1985
  • We the People, CBS, 1986
  • Host, "The Night of Music: A Global Celebration," Great Performances, PBS, 1986
  • Host, "The New Sousa Band on Stage at Wolf Trap," On Stage at Wolf Trap, PBS, 1986
  • Host, "The Golden Boys of Bandstand," On Stage at Wolf Trap, PBS,1986
  • Host, Gala of Stars 1986, PBS, 1986
  • Host, "Candide" (also know as "Live from Lincoln Center"), Great Performances, PBS, 1986
  • Host, "Die Zauberfloete" (also known as "The Magic Flute"), Live fromLincoln Center, PBS, 1987
  • Host, The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Show, 1987
  • Host, "Rigoletto," Live from Lincoln Center, PBS, 1988
  • Host, Omnibus, ABC, 1988
  • Host, "The New Moon: The New City Opera at Wolf Trap," Great Performances, PBS, 1989
  • Host, "Bernstein at 70," Great Performances, PBS, 1989
  • Dinah Comes Home Again, 1990
  • Host, The 1990 Richard Tucker Gala, PBS, 1990
  • Host, Carnegie Hall: Live at 100! The Gala Celebration, PBS, 1991
  • Host, The Legacy of Richard Tucker, PBS, 1994
  • Great Moments in Opera, PBS, 1996
  • Host, "San Francisco Opera Gala Celebration," Great Performances,PBS, 1997
  • Host, "New York Philharmonic with Kurt Masur and Sarah Chung," Live from Lincoln Center, PBS, 1998
  • Host, "New York City Opera: Benjamin Britten's Paul Bunyan," Live fromLincoln Center, PBS, 1998
  • Also appeared in Lifestyles with Beverly Sills.
  • Television Work
  • Specials
  • Produced specials about music.
  • Television Appearances
  • Episodic
  • Evening at the Pops, PBS, 1970
  • A Conversation with Dinah, TNN, 1989
  • Burt Wolf/Eating Well, PBS, 1992
  • Also appeared in Stars of the Future, NBC.
  • Film Appearances
  • Music performer, The Money Pit, Universal, 1986
  • Also appeared in Uncle Sol Solves It.
  • Radio Appearances
  • (As Bubbles Silverman) Uncle Bob's Rainbow Hour, 1931-34
  • Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour (also known as the Major Bowes Capitol Family Hour), CBS, 1934-41
  • Also appeared in Our Gal Sunday and the Cresta Blanca CarnivalShow.
  • Albums
  • Scenes and Arias from French Opera, Westminster, 1968
  • Mozart and Strauss Arias, Audio Treasure, 1969
  • A Beverly Sills Concert, Angel, 1972
  • The Tales of Hoffman (also known as Contes d'Hoffman), Angel, 1972
  • Anna Bolena, Angel, 1973
  • I puritani, Angel, 1973
  • Lucia di Lammermoor, Angel, 1974
  • Manon, Angel, 1974
  • Norma, Angel, 1974
  • Bellini and Donizetti Heroines, Angel, 1974
  • Beverly Sills Sings Mozart and Strauss, Angel, 1974
  • Mad Scenes from "I puritani," "Lucia di Lammermoor," "Anna Bolena," and "Hamlet," Angel, 1974
  • The Three Queens: Excerpts from the Donizetti Trilogy, Angel, 1975
  • (Herbert) Music of Victor Herbert, Angel, 1976
  • Beverly Sills: A Farewell, Angel, 1980
  • Beverly Sills Sings Verdi, Angel, 1985
  • Maria Stuarda, ABC Records/Angel, 1985
  • The Art of Beverly Sills, EMI Angel, 1985
  • Welcome to Vienna, Angel, 1985
  • Also recorded other albums, including Great Scores (with Placido Domingo), and Beverly Sills in Concert.
  • Taped Readings
  • On My Own, Bantam Audio (New York City), 1987
  • Other Recordings
  • Spoke at the National Press Club, 1974, and at a luncheon for the Wolf Trap Farm Park, 1981, also interviewed in 1975 and twice in 1976, all recordedby the Voice of America, Voice of America Music Library Collection, the U.S.Library of Congress. Also appeared in Amateur Hour Collection, 1934-1948 (recordings of Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour), Amateur Hour Collection, Guide Record, U.S. Library of Congress Music Division.
  • Memoirs
  • Bubbles: A Self Portrait, Bobbs-Merrill (Indianapolis, IN), 1976
  • Beverly: An Autobiography, Bantam (New York City), 1987

Further Reference


    • New York Times, February 13, 1996, .*

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