Courtesy of Library of Congress

Beverly Sills 1929-2007

Soprano Beverly "Bubbles" Sills began her career as a child, singing for bar mitzvahs and on the radio. An icon of American opera, she made her debut in 1947 with the Philadelphia Civic Opera and went on to perform around the world in works such as The Barber of Seville and La Traviata. After retiring from the stage in 1980, Sills became general manager of the New York City Opera. In 1994 she became the first woman and first performer to serve as chairperson of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. From 2002 to 2005 she was chair of the Metropolitan Opera. Sills received three Grammy nominations, five Emmy nominations, and five major awards for her humanitarian and charitable work, notably for her efforts for the prevention and treatment of birth defects.