• Fort Worth Opera

FWO Archives (1963-1979): Soprano Beverly Sills - 'La Traviata' to 'The Barber of Seville.'

Beverly Sills launched many additions to her repertoire here in Fort Worth, including 'The Beautiful Galatea,' 1964.'

Beverly Sills as Constanza with John Alexander in Mozart's 'The Abduction from the Seraglio,' 1966. Courtesy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection, Special Collections, University of Texas-Arlington Libraries.

FWO Archives: Beverly Sills. In 1963, a young New York soprano made her debut appearance with Fort Worth Opera as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. Five years prior to this, she won over local critics, when she sang the title role in Lehár's The Merry Widow for the grand reopening of Casa Mañana, and caught the attention of FWO's General Director Rudolf Kruger.


"Rudy was building shows around me when other people weren't even asking me to sing," Ms. Sills said in 1976.


"Sills returned to Fort Worth in 1964 to sing Nedda in I Pagliacci. Over the next four seasons, she used local opera appearances to launch several additions to her personal repertoire: her debut as The Beautiful Galatea (1964) was followed in January 1966 by Constanza in The Abduction from the Seraglio.

1963 newspaper clip from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Later that same year came her triumphal appearance as Cleopatra in the New York City Opera production of Handel's Julius Caesar, but she returned to Fort Worth in April 1968 to make her house debut as Lucia di Lammermoor. Her much-anticipated coming-out as Donizetti's heroine "reduced the opening night audience to a howling mob." ... Fort Worth Star-Telegram music editor Leonard Eureka declared Sill's performance "one of the best I have ever seen."

By the mid-1970s, Sills' rise to the hegihts of operatic stardom was complete, following several triumphant seasons as the New York City Opera's prima donna and a 1975 Met debut. In 1979, as the diva prepare to retire from the stage, she returned to Fort Worth one last time as Rosina in The Barber of Seville.

- Renegades, Showmen, and Angels, Jan L. Jones (2006).


Visit our Historical Timeline for more info: https://www.fwopera.org/historical-timeline

In November of 1963, the late great soprano Beverly Sills made her debut with the Fort Worth Opera as Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata. Here she is with Met tenor Brian Sullivan, William Pickett, Eugene Conley, FWO founder Eloise MacDonald Snyder, and Melvin O. Dacus.

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