OP2201. GIULIO CESARE, recorded 1967, w.Rudel Cond. New York City Opera Ensemble; Beverly Sills, Norman Treigle, Maureen Forrester, Beverly Wolff, Spiro Malas, etc. 2-RCA 6182, Slipcase Edition, w.Libretto-Brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 078635618228
“In 1953, Treigle made his New York City Opera début as Colline in LA BOHEME. Three years later, the bass-baritone scored his first significant success, as the tormented Reverend Olin Blitch, in the New York premiere of Floyd's SUSANNAH. He made his European début in this same opera, at the Brussels World's Fair, in 1958.
In succeeding seasons, Treigle became the top bass-baritone of the Americas, and was acclaimed as one of the world's foremost singing-actors. He sang in many experimental productions and participated in several important premieres, in operas by Einem, Copland, Moore, Floyd, Orff, Dallapiccola and Ward (THE CRUCIBLE). Perhaps his greatest roles were in FAUST (Méphistophélès), CARMEN (Escamillo), SUSANNAH, IL PRIGIONIERO, LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN (the four Villains), King Dodon (LE COQ D'OR), BORIS GODUNOV, GIULIO CESARE and, especially, MEFISTOFELE.”
- Ned Ludd
“Some forty years ago, when I was Music and Dance Critic for Channel 7 News in New York, one of the events I covered was the opening night performance of JULIUS CAESAR by the New York City Opera. Soprano Beverly Sills sang the starring rôle of Cleopatra. I had heard Miss Sills in a variety of other rôles at the City Opera, as well as at Tanglewood in concert performances of operas conducted by Erich Leinsdorf. She was a singer of considerable accomplishment, but nothing had prepared me for the stunning performance she delivered that evening. Handel's Cleopatra is a rôle that demands near super-human technique, agility and flexibility - qualities that Miss Sills provided in extraordinary abundance. That JULIUS CAESAR run marked the entrance of Beverly Sills into the galaxy of opera immortals.”
- Martin Bookspan
“…when I began ‘Se pietà’, an absolute hush came over the audience. People were hanging on every note. I think ‘Se pietà’ was the single most extraordinary piece of singing I ever did. I know I had never heard myself sing that way before. It was very different from the usual coloratura fireworks – it was all control and pianissimo singing. When I finished the aria….[and when] the curtain began coming down very slowly, and the deathlike silence continued – and then a roar went through that house the likes of which I’d never heard. I was a little stunned by it: the audience wouldn’t stop applauding….They just sat there applauding and applauding as if it were the end of the opera….There was no question that my performance in JULIUS CAESAR was going to change my life.”
- Beverly Sills, BEVERLY, AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, pp.166-67
"Beverly Sills won the greatest reviews of her career [as Cleopatra in Handel’s GIULIO CESARE, 1966, New York City Opera]. Critics praised her adroit handling of the music’s florid fioratura, her perfect trills, her exquisite pianissimo singing and her rich sound….Suddenly she was an opera super-star."
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 4 July, 2007
“With her vibrant, cheery personality, soprano Beverly Sills always was a favorite of the general public, among the most effective spokespersons the arts have had in America. The child of immigrant parents, Sills (born Belle Miriam Silverman) discovered singing at an early age; at four she was on a morning radio program as ‘Bubbles’ Silverman, and by age seven she had sung in a movie. At 16 she joined a touring Gilbert and Sullivan company. Her most important vocal studies were with Estelle Liebling, who had been a favored soprano of John Philip Sousa. In 1947, she made her operatic début as Frasquita in CARMEN at Philadelphia. She toured North America during the 1951-1952 season with the Charles Wagner Opera Company, singing Violetta in LA TRAVIATA and Micaëla (CARMEN). After singing in Baltimore and San Francisco, she made her début at the New York City Opera, which was to become her artistic home for over two decades. She once again sang Violetta in that début, but soon expanded her repertoire to include a wide range of roles. Among the twentieth century operas in which she performed were Moore's THE BALLAD OF BABY DOE, Nono's INTOLLERANZA, and Weisgall's SIX CHARACTERS IN THREE ACTS. In 1966, she reached international fame with performances as Cleopatra in Handel's GIULIO CESARE. Her performances of Donizetti's ‘Tudor triology’ - ROBERTO DEVEREUX, MARIA STUARDA AND ANNA BOLENA, solidified her stature on the international scene. She made her La Scala début as Pamira in Rossini's THE SIEGE OF CORINTH in an edition prepared by conductor Thomas Schippers. In 1975, she made her début at the Metropolitan Opera in the same role; she had already sung Donna Anna in a concert performance there in 1966. Her Vienna début in 1967 as the Queen of the Night in Mozart's DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE was one of her few performances of this role. She regularly sang many other important roles in both Italian opera and in works from other countries.
She retired from performing at the age of 50, with an appearance in Menotti's LA LOCA, and accepted the position of General Manager of the New York City Opera. In 1991, she joined the board of the Metropolitan Opera, and four years later became head of New York's Lincoln Center. Sills sang regularly in concerts and recitals containing the arias from her famous roles. Her concert performance of the first version of Richard Strauss' ARIADNE AUF NAXOS is justly famous, since Zerbinetta's aria in this version is much more difficult than in the revised version.
Her basic voice was a light, high soprano with excellent technique and breath control. She was best heard in roles where fragility of character was paramount, such as Marie in Donizetti's LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT, Puccini's MANON LESCAUT, and VIOLETTA. By sheer power of character she held her own in operas normally best served by larger voices as well.
Her autobiography was published in 1976 with the title ‘BUBBLES: A SELF-PORTRAIT’ and was revised in 1981 as ‘BUBBLES: AN ENCORE’; another autobiography, ‘BEVERLY’, followed in 1987.”
- Richard LeSueur, allmusic.com