Beverly Sills: An Appreciation

Beverly Sills made her 1975 metropolitan Opera debut in Rossini's "The Siege of Corinth"—almost a decade later than she should have. The audience went wild.

Remembering Beverly Sills

The late Beverly Sills, a peerless soprano, did everything she could—and there wasn't much she couldn't do—to make people fall in love with opera


"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song," Goethe once said. During summer in Europe, it's hard not to, and at this year's music festivals you're almost bound to hear at least one piece--a little song, perhaps--inspired by Goethe.

A Hot Trio Of Gumshoes

IN A LONG LINE OF droll and deftly written crime novels, Elmore Leonard does for the music business what he did for the movies in ""Get Shorty.'' That is, he unleashes Chili Palmer.

Tweety And Sylvester, Meet Mozart And Eigar

SO YOU THINK YOU HAVE WORK-ANX-iety dreams? Try this nightmare, which Gil Shaham had a year ago and is recounting at an Indian restaurant in New York. In the dream he realizes that he has to play a concert in 15 minutes.

A League Of Her Own

WHEN DEAD PEOPLE TALK TO Patricia Cornwell, she doesn't just listen, she takes notes. It's not Eleanor Roosevelt she communes with, it's anonymous stiffs, especially ones who met a particularly ghastly end.

Gambling On A Career? Say It Ain't So, Luciano.

ON A NARROW ROAD in the Connecticut woods, where the ice lay thick as a Neanderthal skull, a long line of cars snaked toward the Foxwoods Resort Casino. Inside, the audience began filling the cavernous bingo hall, made over for the evening as a concert space at the country's most profitable gambling joint.

Leaving The Country Behind

MICHAEL REID IS NOT a freak. But judging from the hoopla surrounding his first opera, the aptly named ""Different Fields,'' you might think so. In this crossover era, it should be no surprise if a Grammy-winning songwriter with a string of country hits (Bonnie Raitt's ""I Can't Make You Love Me,'' Wynonna's brand-new ""To Be Loved by You'') bolts from the stable to compose a classical piece.

D-Major Disney

The classical-record industry has developed a small but noble niche: pastiche. There's Joshua Rifkin's inspired "Baroque Beatles Book" (regrettably out of print) and the Hampton String Quartet's antidote to holiday goop, "What If Mozart Wrote 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas'." Now there's another smart and loving parody, "Heigh-Ho!

To See, Or Not To See?

Fox took five years to make the latest "Die Hard," while Bruce Willis's image faltered. Now he's cleansed himself in the purifying waters of "Pulp Fiction" and "Nobody's Fool." One eleventh-hour ending was believed too soft, another thought too explosive after Oklahoma City.

The Bartoli Express

It was just a little patch of grass, not even a park, in downtown Pasadena. But when Cecilia Bartoli reached the edge of it, she stopped, whisked off her shoes and began to run around. "Excuse me," said the mezzosoprano, who was in town to give a sold-out recital, "but it's very important for me to feel the ground under my feet." At 28, an age when most singers are barely past toddlerhood, she is the hottest Italian export since risotto.

Star-Driven To The Box Office

In hollywood, practice sometimes actually can make perfect. Harrison Ford has made a career of playing the same guys, but giving them a variety of textures.

Other People's Money

Seen many good new American musicals lately? If you've been looking on Broadway, probably not. You should try an opera house. The energy and inventiveness that once fueled that native theatrical form is now combustion for American opera.

It's A Boy! Oops, A Girl!

Believe it or not, her parents didn't name her Eve. But Sara Kobitz is something out of Ripley's: on her father's side, she's the first female in at least eight generations.

The Election Connection

In 1990, Arizonans approved a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, by a 3-to-1 margin. This is not a misprint. The catch: the ballots didn't count. The people casting them, all participants in the Kids Voting program, were under 18.

Santa Maria And Spaceships

During an early rehearsal of Philip Glass's "The Voyage" at the Metropolitan Opera, one orchestra member asked conductor Bruce Ferden how long the first act would run. " Forty-five minutes," the maestro replied. "Oh," said the musician. "So if we played it without repeats it would last five?" Commissioned for the quincentenary of Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, "The Voyage" sailed into the Met right on schedule last week, exactly 500 years after the famous landing.

The Books Of Summer

It used to be easy to hype each summer's novels. A TAN-FASTIC FUN-IN-THE-SUN FICTION FIESTA. Or, HAVE A BALL WITH THIS BEACH-BAG BOOK BONANZA. This year, as the ozone layer melts away like a TV addict's attention span, all we can responsibly say is: here are some new books which you must under no circumstances take outdoors for more than five minutes without a hat and sunblock.

Domesticated Bliss

Lee Ryan and Robin Leonard have lived together for eight years. Last July they went to city hall in San Francisco and made it legal. While a friend took photographs, Ryan hummed wedding marches in Leonard's ear.

Dancing In The Dark

Will you serve the nuts-I mean, would you serve the guests the nuts? --MYRNA Loy in "The Thin Man" (1934)Asta as a main event? That was just one clue that the show was, if not a dog, certainly in trouble.

The New Oral Tradition

If you log endless hours behind the wheel of a car or on a stationary bicycle, you've probably heard a lot of good books lately. The audio-book business is thriving, with annual sales approaching $1 billion.

Just The Way Walt Made 'Em

Studios used to have traditions, and pride in them. MGM had its musicals, and now it's tuneless and hobbling. Warner Bros., once famous for its gangster movies, has become an impersonal corporate giant.

And Donor Makes Three

When Karen James* was pregnant, she wondered what her baby would look like. Unlike most expectant mothers, she was positive it wouldn't take after her side of the family, not "my sister, my father, my mother.

The Making Of An Ensemble

One evening in 1988, Raymond Gniewek took time off from his job and got a ticket to Debussy's "Pelleas and Melisande" at the Metropolitan Opera. "I was floored," he says. "I was transfixed.

Last Rights

Marie was dying. Her 69-year-old body, wasted by incurable emphysema and inoperable lung cancer, could no longer function on its own. As her family stood by her hospital bedside on a hot summer morning, the doctor suggested hooking her up to life-sustaining equipment.