Glad To Be The First Review- Beverly Sills Treasury Of Arias
Rudy Avila | 04/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At last EMI's "The Very Best Of" series has issued some of the finer recorded documented arias of the incomparable soprano Beverly Sills. Fans of this down-to-earth, warm patron of music and the most unique lyric-coloratura-dramatic soprano, will be in Heaven. Sure, this is only some of the arias in only a small number of the many operas Sills performed. To be truthful, this is not what I'd personally regard as the best of Beverly Sills. Other albums of hers do use greater vocal masterpieces she sang- the best being "The Singers" Series, and another EMI edition called The Art of Beverly Sills Volume 2 and then there's the rare and brilliant "Sillsiana". Nevertheless, this album has its charm and appeal. Beverly Sills sings arias from Rossini's Barber of Seville, Verdi's Rigoletto and Traviata. This recording seems to highlight mostly her mastership of the bel canto repertoire and Verdi. Gilda and Violetta were roles she sang with supreme dramatic integrity and sweetness and purity of vocal line. Yet, it is hardly "the best of". Where are scenes from the masterful interpretations of Donizetti, truly Sills strongest suit- Lucia Di Lammermoor, Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereaux, where is Sills' Manon, which even she hails as her best ? And when will her recorded Norma ever see the light of day ? Sills also excelled in the French repertoire- Faust, Thais, La Fille Du Regiment, The Tales of Hoffman and she was an incredible Queen Shemakha in Korsakov's Coq D'Or. True, Sills had a light, girlish, delicate voice, bright and small, but this worked in her favor in tragic roles. Dramatically, she could get into character as passionately and convincingly as Maria Callas. When she could darken her voice and use her chest voice for dramatic effect it was often thrilling. This is the latest recording in a number of recordings that are coming out, further promoting a great singer of the past. Beverly Sills. She was the working man's soprano. She worked hard to get to the top. She was the reigning singer of the NYC Opera where she starred in such great operas as Handel's Giulio Ceare Sills as Cleopatra (also not on this recording) and Tales of Hoffman singing opposite the great but underrated bass Norman Treigle. Sills is a wonderful human being and she has a beautiful voice that I cannot get out of my mind. She will always be the greatest to me. She got me hooked into opera."
EMI Does It Again: Beverly Sills - A Tribute
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 07/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"EMI's "Very Best Of" series are perfect introductions to operatic singers of the 20th century. Once you hear these artist tribute albums (much like The Singers series) you will get hooked on the singer and seek out their full-length studio recordings. Beverly Sills was the first truly famous American opera star. One may argue that she was not, that she was merely a continued tradition of American divas such as Mary Garden and Lily Pons and which still continues today with Renee Fleming, Elizabeth Futral and Susan Graham. Beverly was raised in New York City, which is still her home, and which is the home of the New York City Opera and the Met, opera houses which rocketed her to fame. Her first success (not featured in this recording...UH WHY ?) was Cleopatra of Handel's Julius Caesar, a performance she sang opposite the illustrious baritone Norman Treigle. Those performances were legendary because coincidentally at the same time the Met was opening its new theatre and season with what became a disastrous Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra starring Leontyne Price in an overblown, big-budget, epic fiasco. The great roles that followed the 1965 Cleopatra were Manon, Queen Elizabeth I in Roberto Deveraux, Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena in the Donizetti Tudor Queen operas, Pamira in The Siege of Corinth (which were Sill's La Scala and belated Met debut. None of the Queens are featured in this recording, though its supposedly the Very Best Of. An aria from Rossini's Siege of Corinth is featured here however. What we are treated to however are fine lyric roles- Beverly Sills shone brightly and acted convincingly as Gilda in Rigoletto (the final scene is featured here) as Violetta in La Traviata, Thais, The Merry Widow (the beautiful Vilja is featured here)and the ingenue role of Norina in Don Pasquale is also showcased here. To each of these roles, Beverly Sills delivered an authenticity and dramatic interpretation, not ot mention beautiful, sweet tone. I love her pianissimos, her high notes, her chest register. It was the voice of Beverly Sills who first hooked me into opera. For a recording that should showcase her best work, Manon is not featured nor any of her prized French heroines- Marie in The Daughter of the Regiment and the heroines in Tales of Hoffman. Also not in here is the role that was her first success- the Broadway opera Ballad of Baby Doe. Even as such, the arias here are gorgeous. The Barber of Seville is in here and as Rosina she is playful and charming. Sills was a modern singer, with a voice that was beautiful but willing to sacrifice beauty for the sake of dramatic content. When Sills was once asked what she thought of the supposed rivalry with Joan Sutherland (which was never real and only gossip from partisan fans) Beverly said something to this effect -Joan and I are apples and oranges in our take on opera, we are Picasso and Monet. She would do anything for the effect of beauty and tone, I'd sacrifice beauty for the sake of dramatic text. Even as such, I see no ugliness to any of the roles here. All of them are beautiful to hear, full of rich floating celestial tones. It would have been nice to hear the roles that did call for Sills to step up the tense drama - Norma, will her recording ever be reissued by EMI ? Also, few people know that Beverly Sills sung role most would consider dangerous for her voice (though she sang them long before her career even took off)- Aida and Carmen!!"
THE 2005 OPERA CD OF THE YEAR
Carlos James Woodward | São Paulo, Brazil | 08/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"THIS CD WAS THE BEST OPERA CD ISSUED LAST YEAR, AND HAS CAUGHT THE WORLD'S EAR IN NO TIME. I WAS BUSY WRITING IN SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL, WHILE THE STATEOWNED FM RADIOSTATION, DEDICATED TO CULTURE, WAS SOFTLY PLAYING OPERA ARIAS IN THE BACKGROUND. SUDDENLY I HEARD THE MOST FANTASTIC RENDERING OF "SEMPRE LIBERA" FROM "LA TRAVIATA". I GOT UP, SAT BY THE RADIO AND WAITED TO KNOW WHO WAS SINGING... THEN GOT BACK TO THE COMPUTER TO ORDER THIS CD FROM AMAZON! INCREDIBLE: ONLY 17 BUCKS FOR THIS, WHILE QUITE A BIT OF TRASH IS SOLD FOR 30.40 AND MORE... A LADY FRIEND ONCE TOLD ME SHE COULD NOT LISTEN TO THE DUET IN "MADAMA BUTTERFLY" WITH MIRELLA FRENI AND LUCIANO PAVAROTTI (RECORDED IN 1974, BY VON KARAJAN) WITHOUT CRYING. WELL, YOU CANNOT LISTEN TO SILLS IN "LA TRAVIATA" DRY-EYED, NO MATTER WHO THE TENOR IS. SHE PROJECTS THE SAME DRAMATIC FEELING OF "LA DIVINA" CALLAS WITHOUT THOSE SHRIEKED HIGHNOTES; SHE OFFERS THE SAME COLORATURA VOCAL GYMNASTICS AS "LA STUPENDA" SUTHERLAND BUT WITH WARMTH... WHEN BEVERLY SANG, AS IN EVERYTHING ELSE SHE DID, SHE ALWAYS GAVE HER UTMOST. SHE WAS "LA GENEROSA" TO BE SURE. DON'T JUST SIT THERE READING WHAT OTHERS THINK. ORDER THIS CD NOW AND MARVEL AT HOW THIS GREAT AMERICAN LADY, IN SO MANY OTHER WAYS, ALSO COULD SING!"
Beverly Sills' highs are breathtaking!
Elise J. Lancrain | Los Angeles, CA | 09/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Adio del Passato is incredible! Beverly's high, floating coloratura is no less than ethereal which takes you to another world. Her voice has given me so much joy that it is hard to say one recording is better than another because I love her Mozart album equally with her Bellini/Donizetti. It is so wonderful to have these recordings captured on CD! Enjoy!"
Sublime voice - unique collection
PETER VADASZ | Flagstaff, AZ, USA | 09/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A sublime voice in an outstanding collection. This is a unique collection of Beverly Sills's arias and moving performances. Even if you are not a Beverly Sills fan this CD is a must in any opera lover's collection."