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"