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Classical 101

Mary Hoffman Archive: Beverly Sills

Mary Hoffman was long time Program Director and chatelaine of  WOSU into the 1980s. Recently, Mary "downsized" and gave me a box of reel to reel tapes of all the interviews she'd done on the air going back to the late 1960s. 

If you've followed these podcasts- and you should! -you've already heard Mary's conversations with Vladimir Horowitz, Thomas Schippers, and Maria Callas.

Here's Mary's 1971 conversation with Beverly Sills (1929-2007). This took placed "in a dressing room at the Ohio Theater with the windows open." Miss Sills was in Columbus to sing with the Columbus Symphony. Mary is joined by our own Rainer Steinhoff,  happily still on air with WOSU.

In 1979 Beverly Sills was the highest paid and highest profiled classical artist in the world. You can look it up. She was a favorite of Johnny Carson's on the Tonight Show. She was a regular on the TV chat show Mike Douglas-Merv Griffin circuit. She had recently made her debut at La Scala , Milan, and "next year I'm singing in Venice and in Rome."

There's some of the standard Sills interview here, but she also talks about 1971 popular culture-of which she was a a part-including  Hair, ​ Jesus Christ Superstar and O Calcutta!

...and before you go, here's Beverly Sills in fantastic full cry:  


Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.