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Beverly Sills was Beverly Awesome

Today is the sixth anniversary of Beverly Sills's death. This doesn't really have to do with books, except she's the only opera singer I know of to have written TWO autobiographies, both of which I used to collect copies of.

this used to be my favorite picture of her

Beverly Sills was a major factor in me wanting to go into opera. I first wanted to be an opera singer when I was 13, and Beverly Sills became my Favorite Person I'd Never Met when I was 14. My life goals for the next eight years were:

1. Become an opera singer

2. Meet Beverly Sills
3. Have a family

When she died, I got more messages of condolence than when any of my actual grandparents died.

I'm doing this post because I mentioned to Doug this morning that it was the anniversary of her death, and he said "Who's Beverly Sills?" which at pretty much any other point in my life, no one would've asked me. Because I talked about her all. the. time.

She was hilarious. She was awesome. She was the best singer I've ever heard, and said kickass things like "The last thing you want to hear after screaming your lungs out for three hours is that it was 'nice.'"

she also sang with the Muppets

The closest I ever got to meeting her was at age 18, when I first came to New York City. She was the chairperson of Lincoln Center and had an office at the Met Opera. I was staying with a friend nearby and every damn day I was there, I went over to Lincoln Center and called her assistant, asking if I could come by and see her office. I basically assumed I couldn't meet her, but I thought this was the next best thing. After three days of calling and being told to call back the next day, they finally said okay and I got to see her office.

"Is it okay if I take pictures?" I asked the person put in charge of me, ignoring whatever she said and already taking them with my Kodak disposable.

there's a copy of The DaVinci Code on the left, but we ignore that

She grew up in Brooklyn and became one of the most acclaimed opera singers of her generation. Her Rosina in Barber of Seville is hilarious. Her Violetta in Traviata is the hands-down best I've ever heard and suspect I'll ever hear. She was known as "the fastest voice alive." Her laugh is my favorite of all laughs. She battled melanoma, ovarian cancer, took care of her quickly failing husband, and daughter with MS, and son with autism in her later years while chairing Lincoln Center and then the Met. She finally, on July 2nd, 2007, succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 78.

Beverly Sills is the best and I want you all to know that.

Here's her singing, in effect, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. But AWESOMELY.

If you want to see batshit insane virtuosity, go to 3:23. Do it. DO IT NOW. EXPLORE THE LIMITS OF HUMANITY'S ABILITIES. That is all.


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