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Beverly Sills: Made in America
Beverly Sills Made in America
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2006     1hr 23min

Documentary celebrating the career of Beverly Sills, America's Diva. Beverly Sills' greatness and recognition as a coloratura soprano and as a director of an opera company is the epitome of the American success story. ...  more »


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Movie Details

Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 11/21/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Fun AND Exquisite Singing
G P Padillo | Portland, ME United States | 11/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On reflection, I wish the program had been even longer, and had gone more in depth with her professional life, collaborations with other artists, etc. Those who know Sills's life will see where the obvious "drop outs" were. Nonetheless, I'm pleased the thing got made at all and it serves as a welcome calling card for many who'd no previous opportunities to (as Sills herself would say) "see what all the fuss was about."

It was fun to see all that gruesome almost glow-in-the-dark-by-numbers, 70's Sills Diva Fashion on the talk show circuits and some of those hair do's . . . mon Dieu! Loved also the still photos, such as the period when she was singing in the private after-hours club, looking all dark haired and sultry. Oh, Bev!

The Willow Song, the Cleopatra aria, the Manon scenes and her late career takes on Violetta and the Deveraux Elisabetta, perfectly captured the Sills commitment and excitement. Such impeccable musicianship in everything she did, wed to a formidable stage personality, it's no wonder she created so many sensational performances.

It was great getting to see clips of the talk shows I remember as a kid, and hearing her sing the popular numbers. I loved how, unlike so many who put on a show with histrionics in this type of material, Sills stood, stock still, and in "All the things you are" even had her hands demurely hooked into her front pockets, every bit of emotion coming purely through the voice and her smile. How special to find someone who trusts the material so much that she can sing it THAT passionately, feeling no need to add anything "extra."
It's always interesting to see the change of perspective coming back to a singer a decade or two after they've left the stage and studio. Sills, to my ears, was sounding threadbare and rough on many occassions, but that's because I was comparing her with herself. Critics could get harsh, for the same reasons. Now listening to some of her end-of-career material I'm actually surprised at how much voice was left when she retired.

With her love for musical theatre, I always thought Sills should make a final performance singing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" as the Mother Abbess in a revival of The Sound of Music. A friend of mine (who I pretty much turned on to Sills) interviewed her last year and asked her if it was true that she really never sang at all anymore. "not even a note to test the voice out? Not even in the shower?" "Not a note," was her reply, along with something along the lines of "that Beverly Sills was another person"

Interviews, music, and an insight into the life of a legenda
DodgyUSA | Jamaica Plain, MA United States | 11/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Beverly Sills: Made in America is an interesting retrospect of her international career. Filled with interviews from her television guest spots on the Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Dinah Shore, and Merv Griffin shows, Beverly gives us insights into her choice of roles, her views on portraying a historical character such as Elizabeth I, and her training and background. She also shares personal recollections of her family and of her two children-both who were born with handicaps.

Throughout, we are treated to vocal fireworks, shimmering cascading notes, and her impeccable phrasing in such roles as Cleopatra, Manon, Lucia, Violetta, and Zerbinetta. A particularly beautiful excerpt is her Willow Song, from The Ballad of Baby Doe. The composer, Douglas Moore, sits nearby and he introduces the piece, saying that she was his favorite Baby Doe.

We also get to see her in performances with such guest stars as Danny Kaye, Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, and even the Muppets !

An enjoyable program from start to finish, and a must for Beverly Sills Fans.
Ms. Sills, we're going to miss you!
C. ANZIULEWICZ | Spring Hill, WV USA | 06/29/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's almost spooky: As a long-time fan of Ms. Sills, I had borrowed and watched this DVD only about a week ago. And TODAY I find out she's been striken with lung cancer and isn't expected to survive. And it's bringing me to tears.

Back in the 1970s when boys my age idolized rock stars and professional athletes, MY idol was Beverly Sills. A coloratura soprano, Beverly Sills (or "Bubbles" as she was nicknamed) wasn't exactly a critical darling; from a purely technical point of view she wasn't up there with Maria Callas or Jessye Norman. But she did bring a certain populism to the stage, a warmth and enthusiasm that endeared her to audiences everywhere. I thought she was wonderful, and I even had an 8-track tape of hers that I would bravely sing along to (but only in the privacy of my old Mercury Bobcat). But doing that falsetto today, at the age of 48, simply is no longer possible, alas.

As for this DVD, it's a wonderful retrospective of her career as opera superstar: Not only performing in lush and glorious operas, but also guest starring on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson (back when that program still had class), "The Carol Burnett Show," even "The Muppet Show." Few people younger than 30 will even recognize the name; but for those of us who remember Beverly Sills so fondly, it is a sad time indeed. As an online friend of mine said, "When she passes, Opera will lose far more than a singer; the Arts as a whole will loose an invaluable spokesperson."
The Diva
Beth Hoekje | Texas | 11/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Beverly Sills was "the best" and Made In America shows off her amazing vocal abilities in spades. The producers include complete arias, not just snatches as is often done, and just enough dialogue and history to tie it all together. A marvelous performance!"