Beverly Sills Index Page

Post-Singing Career Articles - Sills resigns Post for Health Reasons

The New York Sun, Jan 26, 2005

beverly Sills resigned as Metropolitan Opera chairwoman after more than two years in the volunteer post to take care of family health problems, the organization announced. The announcement, which takes effect immediately, follows close on the heels of the resignation of Lincoln Center's chairman, Bruce Crawford, earlier this month.

Joseph Volpe, the opera's general manager, said in a statement today that the poor health of Ms. Sills' husband, Peter Greenough, and her own recent fall that resulted in a fractured knee "made this decision necessary," according to Bloomberg News.

Ms. Sills, 75, retired from performing in 1980 to become general director of the New York City Opera Company.

She later served as chairwoman of Lincoln Center, a position she resigned from in 2002. In each of her positions, she showed an unmatched skill at fund-raising - which is why the Met asked her to become its chairman just a few months later.

One of the biggest challenges Ms. Sills faced during her tenure was the need to replace the Metropolitan's president, Joseph Volpe, who announced his resignation earlier this year. Peter Gelb, the former president of the Sony Classics music label, will assume that role in 2006.

Ms. Sills said she was "delighted" to have played a role in finding Mr. Gelb, according to Bloomberg.

The other major task was dealing with paying for the opera's Saturday afternoon broadcasts after ChevronTexaco withdrew its longtime funding. After raising the $7 million necessary to continue broadcasting this year, last March Ms. Sills set about pursuing the estimated $150 million needed to put it on a permanent footing. As of September, however, only $10.1 million had been raised, according to the New York Times.

"I know that I have achieved what I set out to do, having raised millions which were designated not only for new productions but also to save the Saturday afternoon broadcasts for the foreseeable future," Ms. Sills said in the press release.