Beverly Sills was better-known as Musetta; but she sang Mimì for her good friend Glynn Ross early on in her career (earning a grand total of $1,000, plus air fare, for three performances!) when Ross's plans to present Maria Callas in Seattle fell through for the fall of 1965.
In an August 12, 1964, letter Sills wrote to Ross from Palo Alto, California, where she was on tour with New York City Opera, she describes learning the role of Mimì:
“I have worked literally hours on Mimì and thought about her a great deal and at least in my mind have begun to identify—she also has begun to glow, and I love to sing “il primo sole è mio.”
What joy & exuberance and love of life! So, I’m making espresso! Also on “Io t’amo”
in the first act—Boy I like that one—I’ll write you more about her as I begin to despair into the 3rd
act…. Can’t wait. Love—hugs XXX Bev.”