From Library Journal
If the test of an autobiography is whether the reader comes to know (and like) the subject, then Farrell succeeds admirably with this frank and charming account of her extraordinary career. She doesn't gloss over mistakes or weaknesses; nor does she quote endlessly from her reviews. In short, she appears genuinely modest while being honest about her abilities and successes. Her singing career was unique, with enormous success both in classical music and jazz. She worked with many famous singers and conductors of her time and doesn't hold back her blunt opinions of them. She explains the brevity of her career at the Metropolitan Opera, her controversial teaching career at Indiana University, and her rewarding experience with the Bach Aria Group. Many of her recordings have recently been reissued on compact disc, making this a perfect time for the first book about her career to appear. Recommended for academic and public library collections.AKate McCaffrey, Onondaga Cty. P.L., Syracuse, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Music buffs will love this spirited memoir from a world-renowned dramatic soprano who combined opera and pop in her controversial repertoire and shunned the role of prima donna in favor of Staten Island housewife. Born to a musical Irish Catholic family, Farrell had her own program on WCBS by the time she was 20. Her radio repertoire was largely arias and art songs, but she was also experimenting with popular music. After marriage to a New York City policemana pairing that triggered her image as a blue collar housewife with a voiceand the birth of her son, Farrell set out on the concert and recital circuit. She performed with most of the major conductors, and pulls no punches in commenting on her colleagues. Arthur Fiedler, for instance, was ``one of the world's worst. Thomas Schippers and Leonard Bernstein, on the other hand, were ``the two best singers' conductors I ever worked with.'' A stint in Hollywood to provide the voice in a film bio of Metropolitan opera star Margery Lawrence, and frequent radio and television appearances (Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett), kept her name before the general public, as did a blues album and two concurrent classical recordings. Once Farrell entered the classical pantheon with a concert version of Medea, her first full-length opera performance, the call finally came from Metropolitan Opera general manager Rudolph Bing. But after only five seasons at the Met, her relationship with Bing, wary to begin with, ``worked [its] way up to intense dislike.'' Post-Met, she taught, continued to concertize, and, after her husband died in 1986, cut a series of popular albums, the last issued in 1995. Now 79, Farrell no longer performs publicly but has some cogent comments on the current musical scene. An unpretentious story of carving out a memorable singing career sans substance abuse and tantrumsthough it certainly helps to have a magnificent voice. (b&w photos) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.