One of my favorite redheads died today. One of the events of her life not noted in this story was that in 1979, while touring the south with the Metropolitan Opera, she was gracious enough to linger backstage after a performance to meet with two shy ninth-graders, one packing a few white roses from her mother's garden. To my embarrassment, I don't remember what she sang that night, but I do remember that she was genuinely kind and enthusiastic on meeting us.
Twenty-something odd years later, I understand what it must have been to have been like to be called away from backstage friends and patrons by the stage manager to meet two kids, who weren't even opera students, but merely volunteer ushers in the hall, and especially after the grueling demands of an operatic performance.
Beverly Sills was everything ever written about her, and probably much, much more. On top of that, she was kind to gawking adolescents. They just don't make 'em like her anymore.