Made in America

DVD DGG 004400734299

A magnificent documentary which leaves one very unsatisfied at the end. The producers have gone a long way to collect all available Sills-footage and they make available some truly astounding documents. There is 11-year old Bev Sills in a movie singing lustily along. There are photos, documents and the sound track of the famous Major Bowes hour. There are some astonishing moments in black and white of young Sills in some of her best roles and in her best voice as well. There is Bubbles in her many interviews in many shows from the moment she had become America’s first soprano. There is the glorious and moving moment she sings the main aria of The Ballad of Baby Doe with composer Moore clearly enjoying every second of her fine singing. So, why do I grumble ? Because this is a fine DVD that whets your appetite so much that every time the viewer remains unsatisfied  to have had not more than a few measures here or half of an aria there. This issue should have consisted too of a documentary part illustrated with some musical examples and then there ought to have been a second record offering us the complete performances of the arias and duets. Well, what not is can still come and I hope someone will do us this service because in Europe Sills never got the credits due to her and the footage here reveals once more an astounding amount of dramatic credibility combined with assured technical proficiency. The DVD proves too for those who have forgotten or for those who never wanted to believe it that Sills’ success was not due to her Jewish heritage or Barnum publicity but came into being thanks to hard work, vocal charm, a lovely timbre and fireworks if necessary.

Jan Neckers, Opera Nostalgia