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Subject: Rarest Sills clips from the PBS program
From: "Roy D." <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Roy D.
Date:Tue, 21 Nov 2006 12:34:44 -0500

text/plain (104 lines)

I encourage all Sills admirers to watch the 
upcoming WNET/PBS 90-minute program "Beverly 
Sills: Made in America" Thursday night for the 
opportunity to see her at her best in some very 
rare clips from the 1950s and 1960s. While there 
are, of course, many familiar clips from the 
1970's PBS broadcasts (Manon,Devereux, Traviata, 
Barber, Pasquale) there also are a handful of 
clips to treasure from her prime years.

I know this because I have had the privilege of 
seeing an advance copy of the program (flagrant 
self-promotion note: I am listed as one of the 
consultants in the credits crawl of the program, 
as I helped the producers locate some of these 
rare items). Gerald Waldman has already posted 
the full list of musical numbers from the 
program, but here are the details about the 
rarest items:

1955 - Opera Cameo (Dumont TV network) excerpt 
from La Traviata - the end of the Act II 
Alfredo/Violetta duet, including the "Amami 
Alfredo" (with tenor Paul Knowles) : although in 
black and white and a kinescope, this live clip 
gives a hint of how Sills looked and sounded 
around the time of her first years with NYCO.

1962 - CBS American Musical Theatre: Profile of 
Douglas Moore -  Sills sings the complete Willow 
Song from the Ballad of Baby Doe -black and white 
- Sills sings one of her signature pieces with 
endearing purity and simplicity (some may have 
seen this at the Museum of Television and Radio, 
but it has not been otherwise seen since 1962.)

1966 - Canadian Broadcasting Company - Magic 
Flute - from a black and white complete studio 
production in English, Sills as Queen of the 
NIght sings the complete "Hölle Rache" to 
stunning effect - the only known video of her in 
the role.

1969 -Dick Cavett show- Je suis Titania/Mignon  - 
color - the aria is performed complete with 
delightful bounce and fresh exuberance.

1969 -Camera Three: Da Tempeste/Guilio Cesare - 
This is the best of the lot as far as I'm 
concerned. Sills sings the complete aria in her 
original costume from the NYCO production -a 
great souvenir of her breakout role.

1971 - BBC profile - the full second half of the 
Lucia mad scene - although this has been floating 
around on non-commercial video in a bad copy, it 
is thrilling to see and hear this in first rate 
picture and sound.

There are other, lighter numbers as well, mostly 
sung complete, from various talk shows and 
variety shows, the most unfamiliar being a 
soft-shoe song and dance with Lily Tomlin.

The program, by Emmy-award winning producer John 
Walker, is a model of its kind. The 90 minutes 
are packed with solid singing and pertinent 
interview clips (all from previously recorded 
material - no new interviews have been done for 
this program). There is no narrator (Barbara 
Walters only introduces the program briefly). 
Instead John Walker has cleverly excerpted Sills' 
story from all the many interviews she gave over 
the years, so the narration is actually by Sills 
in chronological order of her career.

There is a very good web companion site for the 
program with lots of information and links at

And finally, those who won't get a chance to see 
the program on Thanksgiving night (or whenever 
other PBS stations may be scheduling it or 
repeats), don't despair, the whole program is 
available on DVD from DG (release date is 
actually today) - it's already listed on Amazon 
and other DVD suppliers' websites.  The DVD 
boasts the bonus of the complete half-hour of the 
1955 Opera Cameo La Traviata highlights.



Roy C. Dicks
Raleigh, NC
[log in to unmask]

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