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Subject: Re: Remembering Beverly Sills on 10th Death Anniversary
From: Peter Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Mon, 3 Jul 2017 21:55:09 -0400
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Once again I prove the wisdom of the two-posts limit. I rarely post here, but when I do I tend to get on a roll. I will use my second post of the day to provide a working link to the Baby Doe excerpt from the beverlysillsonline.com web site:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqEe4ib1LDg


This is from 1962, when Sills was already a well established and respected singer but before she had become a superstar and well before she had overtaxed her voice in fulfilling her superstar destiny. I can't say enough good about her: a musical virtuoso of course -- in fact a direct pedagogical descendant of Manuel Garcia via Blanche Marchesi and Estelle Liebling -- but also a sensitive vocal artist. On top of that, an intelligent and well-rounded person, a talented arts administrator, a generous patron and fund-raiser for various charities, and a warm human being. I saw her in performance many times in opera and recital and her talent and warmth were unmistakable. I met her once in person, just briefly, and the warmth of her smile -- just for me, in that moment -- is a precious memory I carry to this day.




Peter



-----Original Message-----
From: pchflj <[log in to unmask]>
To: jongoldberg <[log in to unmask]>; OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Mon, Jul 3, 2017 4:06 pm
Subject: Re: Remembering Beverly Sills on 10th Death Anniversary



One of the frustrating things about this board is that many interesting posts are sent privately, perhaps because of the two-posts-per-day limit, and the general audience only sees them later if at all when someone replies to the whole board. I won't quibble about that now, because I've done my own private messaging for that very reason. I was very happy to catch this thread at any point. If there is anyone out there who is what I call a "Sills-denier" and who is not familiar with the wonderful curated collection at beverlysillsonline.com, please check it out. In doing so just now I see that there's a software update glitch problem, but in any case, I recommend the selections identified as "Ten Best for Beginners" at http://www.beverlysillsonline.com/tenbest.htm#player. They are the ten best for anyone, and the short commentary accompanying each selection is spot-on.


The tenth of these ten selections is the Willow Song from The Ballad of Baby Doe. This piece is the best Sills gateway drug. I heard her do the opera in Los Angeles before I had been bitten by the opera bug, but I still remember coming out of the performance saying, "I really liked that willow song."




Peter



-----Original Message-----
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
To: OPERA-L <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Mon, Jul 3, 2017 3:36 pm
Subject: Re: Remembering Beverly Sills on 10th Death Anniversary

Beautiful rendition. Also, notice how she avoids any stock gesticulating - which takes a 
good deal of poise and self-awareness and control. Many other singers would more easily 
do all sorts of meaningless hand gestures. ;-)

Not to digress from Bubbles, but as long as we're on this song - one of the very greatest 
songs in the Great American Songbook, IMO - anyone who has not heard the original 
arrangement from the actual show, Kern's "Very Warm For May" (as unearthed by the 
late great John McGlinn in the 1990's), really should. It's quite the operatic experience, 
lol. After a lovely soft intro by the strings, we hear a long, extended multi-section verse 
(just as in "You Are Love" from Showboat, but much longer and grander), then the 
familiar melody sung by a soprano with a beautiful baritone counterpoint underneath, 
and then a repeat of the refrain sung by a richly-arranged chorus and 4 soloists, 
including a soprano descant that rises to a bravura high D at the end of the bridge, 
holding over into the final A section. (That part gives me wonderful chills every time...)

Stunning. (And I literally was stunned when I first heard this. It was already one of my 
favorite songs - this just sealed the deal, lol.) And for anyone who thinks they don't like 
musicals, and who doesn't come away from this simply in love with this arrangement - 
well, I dare you. ;-)

Studio version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUNQy0uHUvs

Live version in concert 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kf80ntbCLCc


Had this version been rediscovered before Sills had retired from singing, it would have 
been heaven to hear her do it. 



On Mon, 3 Jul 2017 14:29:41 -0400, Art McManus <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>A wonderful tribute, Jerry.  To your list of YouTubes, I would add my own
>favorite:  "All the Things You Are," from one of her many Tonight Show
>appearances. A classy rendition with judicious portamento (no pseudo jazz
>slurs and slides) and the sensitive diction you talk about: 
>
>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yTeixRxPBg
>
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