- Category : Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 2
- Birth Year: 1929
- Birthday: 25. May
- Birthplace: Albany, USA - New York
- Category: Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Profile: 4-6
- Type: Pure Manifesting Generator
- Inc.Cross: The Sleeping Phoenix 2
- Definition: Single
- Variables: BLL-MRL
- 2343 Structuring
- 2145 The Money Line
- 1034 Exploration
- 2034 Charisma
- 1020 Awakening
- 4253 Maturation
American singer, a soaring lyric operatic soprano and later arts administrator for the City Opera and the prestigious Metropolitan Opera House in New York. A solidly trained child prodigy with enduring appeal, she was endowed with a superb voice, technical facility, and lively stage presence.
Sills was the third child and only daughter born to an insurance salesman and his wife, both of whom had immigrated to the United States. Her mother nicknamed her Bubbles when the infant emerged from the womb with bubbles in her mouth. With encouragement from her stage-struck mother, Sills sang on the radio for the first time at age four and became a regular on the children’s show “Uncle Bob’s Rainbow House.” By the time she was seven she could tap dance and could sing the 23 arias she had memorized from listening to her mother’s opera records. Both skills were useful for her ongoing role on “Major Bowes Capital Family Hour.” After a 36-episode gig on a radio soap opera as a “nightingirl of the mountains,” she left show business to concentrate on her studies. Bubbles had not even reached her teens!
After graduation from the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan where she studied voice, she began singing with touring opera companies, making her debut at age 17 in "Carmen." She would later comment: “I had my first high heels, my first updo hair style, my first strapless dress, and I didn’t know what to hold up first.”
Sills joined the New York City Opera in 1955 and met her husband Peter Greenough, a newspaperman, while she was on tour. After their marriage on November 17, 1956, Sills took over as stepmother for his three daughters over whom he had custody. Their family grew with the birth of the couple’s daughter Meredith, nicknamed Muffy, on August 4, 1959, and their son, Peter Bulkeley Greenough, Jr., nicknamed Bucky, on June 29, 1961. When their son was six months old, Sills and her husband received two sucker-punch diagnoses. First they learned that their daughter was deaf. Just six weeks later they were told that their son was severely mentally challenged and autistic. They eventually made the heart-rending decision to institutionalize their boy.
Sills returned to work some months after learning of her children’s disabilities, a better artist and a stronger individual. In the late 1960s, her husband became quite wealthy after the family newspaper was sold. At about the same time, Sills met Sarah Caldwell, an influential conductor and stage director in the world of opera. Caldwell cast Sills in many productions, bringing the soprano wider acclaim. In 1966 Sills landed her breakthrough role singing Cleopatra in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare.” The effusive praise of critics cast her firmly as a superstar with an exquisite voice, commanding and versatile singing technique, and a stage presence that brought complex roles to life. She made an acclaimed La Scala debut in April 1969 followed by an equally stunning debut at London’s Covent Garden in December 1970. In 1975 she appeared for the first time at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. Her career was everything she had wanted, and the following year she wrote an autobiography entitled "Bubbles.” In 1978, when she felt that her voice was losing some of its best qualities, she announced her retirement. At the same time, she was appointed co-director of the City Opera and later became director. Under her guidance, the debt-laden company enjoyed increased funding, a renovated building, new and revitalized productions, and larger ticket sales.
Sills co-authored her second autobiography, "Beverly," in 1987. Two years later, when she decided to step down from her post, the City Opera’s financial picture, previously in significant shortfall, was now in healthy surplus. She continued working as a consultant, fund-raiser and spokesperson for the Lincoln Center organization and as a tireless supporter of charities, particularly the March of Dimes. In 2002 she announced her retirement from arts administration but was persuaded to become the chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera House. She stepped down in 2005 ostensibly because of her husband’s declining health.
Her beloved husband died at age 89 on September 6, 2006. Ten months later, on the evening of July 2, 2007, Sills died of lung cancer at her home in Manhattan, NY.