Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Ryan Piurek

Last modified: Thursday, October 17, 2002

Legendary opera diva Beverly Sills to speak at IU

EDITORS: Beverly Sills will be available on a limited basis for advance telephone interviews prior to her visit to Bloomington. To arrange an interview or to attend the event, contact Ryan Piurek at 812-855-5393 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Beverly Sills, one of the 20th century's greatest sopranos and the newly appointed chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera, will deliver a public lecture at Indiana University Bloomington on Oct. 25.

Sills will speak at 3:30 p.m. in the IU School of Music's Auer Hall (capacity 352). A limited number of tickets to hear Sills' remarks are now available to the public in Room 120 of Merrill Hall, located on Third Street near Jordan Avenue. Those unable to secure a ticket will be able to view the lecture via live remote feed in Sweeney Hall. Both Auer and Sweeney halls are located in the Simon Music Center on the corner of Third and Jordan, next to the Musical Arts Center.

Sills' visit to Bloomington is sponsored by the IU Foundation in conjunction with the events surrounding the third annual Herman B Wells Visionaries Awards.

Later that evening, Sills will speak at the private dinner where the awards will be presented. The awards honor individuals who have demonstrated vision, entrepreneurial spirit, and a record of outstanding achievement. Previous speakers have included U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and former American Red Cross President Elizabeth Dole.

On Oct. 11, the board of directors at the Met announced the appointment of Sills as its new chairwoman. Sills had retired in May as chairwoman of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The Met is the world's largest opera company with an annual budget of $200 million. Sills has been a member of the Met's board since 1991 and served as general director of the New York City Opera from 1980 through 1990. She will begin her new role by the end of October.

Born Belle Miriam Silverman on May 25, 1929, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sills, nicknamed "Bubbles," quickly became one of the most dazzling vocal performers in operatic history. Her operatic repertory of more than 70 roles brought her international superstardom and attracted millions of fans. She has sung with the Met, the New York City Opera, La Scala and the major companies of almost every city on the globe.

Additionally, she has won a Grammy Award, Europe's Edison Award and two Emmy Awards, and earned national acclaim for her presentation of In Performance at the White House, Gala of Stars, and Skylines with Beverly Sills, all of which appeared on PBS. Her other accolades include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the New York City Handel Medallion, Kennedy Center Honors and honorary degrees from 14 leading academic institutions.

Earlier this month, Sills was among a select few artists, including Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Clive Davis, Marc Anthony and Dionne Warwick, to receive the 2002 New York Heroes Award, the highest honor bestowed by the New York Chapter of the Recording Academy. The awards honor individuals whose creative talents and accomplishments cross all musical boundaries and who are integral to the vitality of the music community.

Sills has earned a reputation as one of the leading spokespersons for the arts in America today. She is a presidential appointee to the President's Task Force on the Arts, a panelist of the National Endowment for the Arts, and a distinguished guest at almost every White House ceremony connected with the arts. Additionally, she serves as an advocate for other worthy causes. She is the chairwoman of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the retired national chairwoman for the March of Dimes Foundation, for which she helped raise upward of $80 million.

In her speeches, Sills uses her warmth and wit to inspire good will and promote the care of the nation's children. She speaks openly about her place in the spotlight as one of opera's legendary stars and the importance of art in all of our lives.

"Art," Sills has been quoted as saying, "is the signature of civilization."

The warmth, intelligence and humor that Sills brings to the lectern have earned her the distinction of being one of the world's greatest speakers.