Beverly Sills

The Great Recordings

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Exactly as the title implies, Beverly Sills: The Great Recordings is a well-produced document of one of America's most famous sopranos, and most vibrant musical personalities. It is beautifully mastered and nicely packaged, and it captures Sills at the top of her game, as she was in the late '60s and '70s. Anchored by excerpts from her two best-loved roles, Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata and Massenet's Manon, but unfortunately only including one excerpt from her famous Donizetti "Three Queens" series (arguably her best achievement), this two-disc collection covers an impressive range of selections: staple works by Mozart, Bellini, Rossini, and Meyerbeer, some lighter selections from Offenbach and Lehár, and Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe. The last was one of Sills' signatures, and will probably always be identified with her. The visceral energy that made her coloratura voice sound bigger than it was, the improbably sparkling high notes, and the go-for-broke musicality that characterized her best singing take center stage in nearly every selection, and provide a convincing argument for Sills as one of the last century's great singers.

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