Beverly Sills - From First note to last

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clarification of Beverly Sillsí official operatic debut

In Beverly Sills’ obituaries, the soprano’s operatic debut is regularly listed among her significant career events. The debut is also included in most reference books about her, in her own autobiographies, and in hundreds of media interviews and performance previews.

References to her operatic debut began to appear in print in the early 1950’s. The details would vary and sometimes were contradictory, but the key elements were that it took place in Philadelphia in a production of  “Carmen” when Sills was 17. Sometimes the year 1947 was specifically mentioned, sometimes the organization was noted as the “Philadelphia Civic Opera Company” and sometimes the role was listed as “Frasquita.”

At BeverlySillsOnline.Com, we have documented more than 1300 different performances by Sills, confirming them in pre-performance publicity, performance reviews, performance programs and performance photos. However, there is no evidence of a performance of “Carmen” with Sills in 1947 (or any year in the late 1940’s).

However, what can be verified is a performance by Sills as Frasquita in a production of “Carmen” in Philadelphia on February 14, 1951, presented by the Philadelphia Civic Grand Opera Company. Through wide-ranging and thorough research, the accumulated evidence now points to this 1951 “Carmen” performance as Sills’ actual operatic debut.

Click here for the detailed explanation that makes this case.