Rise Stevens, Looking Wonderful at 98!

Rise Stevens as Carmen around 1950. Still wowin' 'em today at age 98.(Photo: CBS)
Rise Stevens as Carmen around 1950. Still wowin' 'em today at age 98.(Photo: CBS)

I first Met Rise Stevens in New York nearly thirty years ago. She was then quite young, only in her seventies, and deep in her second or third career in opera administration as Director of Young Artist Development  at the Metropolitan.

Her first career was on the opera stage.  Her debut was in 1936, in Prague. She came home to New York (born Rise Steernberg in the Bronx in 1913) for a Met debut as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. From then until she retired from opera in 1961, (she continued to record and appear in musicals) Rise Sevens “made it possible for mezzos to be stars”.  She had a leading soprano’s clout and a leading soprano’s public. She owned Bizet’s Carmen, with 124 performances of the gypsy girl in New York alone.

And then there’s Bing Crosby. Rise Seven’s was der bingle‘s leading lady in Paramount’s 1945 Goin’ My Way-which won the Oscar for Best Picture


Earlier this year Rise Stevens was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts.  Here she is at ninety-eight:

It’s a comfort to know that this lady, artist, administrator and mentor is, as the song  says,  “Still Here!”


  • CARL


    • Ron

      — amen,,,,   Rise Stevens is one of our gifts from God Almighty !   

      Ron in Houston

  • Jorgensen Dan

    Wonderful interview.  Discovered Rise last night on TCM in the Choachlate Soldier.
    She is an extraordinary talent and clearly a person of depth and character.


  • Bhilton1123

    I saw this fantastic lady in person in 1944 at Douglas Aircraft…along with Lorraine Day. I was 16 and a riveter…she was there to christen a C-47 …a noontime bond drive…World War 2…I will never forget that day!

  • Tim Lewis

    oh,  thank you for this wonderful reminiscence.  I am awed at her still-poise, beauty and charm.  thank you

  • Runnicles

    Great interview, wonderfuol lady and great singer.

    • Sandy Price

      I am listening to a tape from the N.Y,. Metropolitican Opera archives where Rise Stevrens is singing her perfect role of Delilah!  Vinay is her Samson.    I do r emembert when she visited Douglas Aircraft and the first light of C47 DC3. 

      She did Carmen at the Hollywood Bowl and few other Carmen’s had a chance after that. 

  • Nancy

    I often surf the Internet to see what has become of entertainers or artists whom I have admired over the past 65+ years  I thought I’d look up Rise Stevens whom I heard when I was a freshman at Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA) in 1957.  I recall being astonished at the size and depth of her voice.  It was my first introduction to a real opera singer.  Imagine my surprise to find she is still living! And such an articulate, gracious and attractive person, as I watched the interview you provided.  Thank you for a moving experience

  • Diane Potter

    As a faithful listener to Saturday Afternoon at the Met, I was introduced to many operas and artists, but my favorite was Carmen and Rise Stevens.  My first experience seeing live opera was Carmen in Boston with Rise Stevens!  To top off the experience, I had drawn a picture of her as Carmen and had the opportunity to meet her at a Boston Music store where she signed my picture!  That was over sixty years ago and the picture still has a place of honor on my wall,  What a thrill to see this interview.  Thank you for the memories!  

  • C Kennedy

    I used to listen to the Met every Saturday…. 60 years ago. This week I was watching  the hit movie, Going My Way. When, zzzaappp! I was stung in the heartstrings by Rise Stevens. It was breathtaking. All week long I could hear her aria  Habanero. I suffer a terrible case of tinitus but her voice seems to spread the waters.  Thank you Rise.

    • Breezy32696

      I just this minute finished watching “Going My Way”.  You perfectly expressed my very thoughts.  How wonderful she is; Rise Stevens.

      Thank you, Rise!

  • Lindastevens53

    How I loved the tremendous expression in her eyes in ‘Going My Way’.  They smiled even more than her mouth – her effervescent personality came through without saying a word – and her voice!!!

  • Petrides, Ron

    Please correct the spelling: The name of the school is Mannes not Manus. From the edit I can discern if  Rise Stevens was a student or faculty there. 

  • Ccchristie464

    “Going My Way” was on TCM last week (February, 2013), and today just as a lark, I thought I would Google the wonderful female lead, Rise Stevens.  How wonderful to find this article!  Ms. Stevens, you are wonderful, and your presence in “Going My Way” is delightful.  from A Boomer Fan in Cleveland

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.bernard.3701 Anna Bernard

    My father always said Rise was my cousin i wish i knew the truth i never met anyone related to me on my dads side he was born im new york in 1890 BEN Waller. I cannot find out anything about him?????????