Rise Stevens, Looking Wonderful at 98!
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!”