- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Soprano mourned

Beverly Sills was remembered Sunday at Lincoln Center in New York as a larger-than-life personality whose success on the opera stage was matched by her skills as an administrator and a fundraiser for causes including the arts and multiple sclerosis research.

The event, “A Tribute to Beverly Sills,” was presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera.

Performers included soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Placido Domingo. Speakers included Henry Kissinger and Carol Burnett, who appeared with Miss Sills in a 1976 CBS special, a clip of which was shown at the tribute.

“Oh, God, we laughed,” Miss Burnett recalled. “She was a brilliant comedian. She had the timing of Jack Benny. She was just fabulous.”

The Brooklyn-born Miss Sills, who died of lung cancer on July 2 at age 78, helped put Americans on the map of opera stars, singing at such famed opera houses as Milan’s La Scala and the Royal Opera in London. She served as chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera for many years and also appeared frequently on “The Tonight Show” and “The Muppet Show.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire and well-known philanthropist, attended the tribute and called Miss Sills “a great woman and a great friend.”

Rosty’s treasures

A 450-piece collection of Russian art amassed by exiled cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, Galina Vishnevskaya has been sold privately and will return to Russia, a London auction house said yesterday.

The collection of pre-revolutionary works, including paintings, porcelain figures, plates, vases, ivory and glass, had been due to go to auction today and tomorrow with a price tag of up to $40 million.

However, Sotheby’s auction house said it had been acquired for a “substantially higher” sum by a private person who intended to take it to Russia.

A spokeswoman declined to name the buyer but said the identity was expected to be revealed at a news conference in Moscow today.

“We are delighted that the collection is being acquired in its entirety. It is especially meaningful for our family that the new owner will bring it to Russia,” Ms. Vishnevskaya’s family said in a statement issued by Sotheby’s.

The renowned cellist and his operatic soprano wife assembled the collection over 30 years after they left Russia in 1974 with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Mr. Rostropovich died earlier this year.

Coltrane legacy

The Dix Hills, Long Island, home of jazz musical greats John and Alice Coltrane has been added to both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places. John Coltrane, a renowned saxophonist and composer who died in 1967, wrote the best-selling jazz album “A Love Supreme” in the house.

The historic designation is seen as a key step in the complete preservation of the site as well as its planned future conversion to an education center, museum and archive of important jazz and music material.

“It was my Mom, Alice’s, express vision to help use this home to provide inspiration about music as an incredibly positive force,” the Coltranes’ son, musician Ravi Coltrane, said. “This is a great step toward that vision.” Alice Coltrane, harpist and pianist, died in January. Her husband died in 1967.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from staff and wire reports.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide