BUBBLES: A Self-Portrait by Beverly Sills

BUBBLES: A Self-Portrait

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The irrepressible optimism and vivacity familiar from personal interviews come through here in Beverly Sills' upbeat recollections of her family, training, and hundreds of performances. Brooklyn's Belle Miriam Silverman, a/k/a Bubbles, stumbled into opera: she mimicked her mother's Galli-Curci records in abominable Italian. She studied with an apprehensive Estelle Liebling (15 minute lessons), was inspired by Lily Pons' authentic costuming and dramatic flair. Repeatedly turned down by the New York City Opera (""a phenomenal voice hut no personality"") until she lifted her hemline, Sills joined the company in 1955, also traveled frequently to Europe and to Sarah Caldwell's Boston. Helped to this day by an enthusiastic, attendant mother, she found both happiness and ironic misfortune at home: a supportive husband and two children--one deaf, one retarded. Following this double revelation she arranged special schooling for them (""to live as normal and constructive lives as possible"") and, reconciled but unembittered, resumed her career. Known for her theatrics on stage (belly-dancing in Le Coq d'Or, simulating fits in Norma), Sills marks the 1966 Julius Caesar, opening the New York State Theater, as the turning point in her career. Finally--on page 210--there's the Met debut and, characteristically, only generous words for the Bing who kept her out for all those years. Now nearly 48, she shows no signs of retiring--she's booked through 1980--and seems to be broadening her interests. Beverly has the gift of gab and a gusty sense of humor which, along with the pictures from age three (many in full color), make this a come-on for more than opera fans.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1976
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill