Risë Stevens dies

Rise Stevens dies at age 99, the New York City- born mezzo-soprano who reigned at the Metropolitan Opera in the 1940s and 1950s and injected sensuality and dramatic fire into her signature role in “Carmen,” .
She died yesterday at her home in Manhattan, the New York Times reported, citing her son, Nicolas Surovy.
Celebrated for her glamorous looks as well as her lush singing, Stevens delayed her debut at the Met to polish her skills in Europe, then dabbled in movies during her 23-year Met career. Lloyds of London insured her voice for $1 million in 1945.
Her specialties included playing male characters written to be performed by women, such as the title role in Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice.” She held “a near- monopoly” at the Met on the role of Octavian, the count who is a princess’s young lover in Richard Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier,” music critic Roland Gelatt wrote in 1959.
Still, it was the title role in Georges Bizet’s “Carmen,” the seductive and free-spirited female Gypsy, that defined Stevens’s career. She performed the role 124 times at the Met, including 10 for broadcast, according to Opera News Online.
“So far as America was concerned, during the 15 years following 1945, Rise Stevens and Carmen were virtually synonymous,” Clyde T. McCants wrote in “American Opera Singers and Their Recordings” (2004). “Stevens was Carmen in the opera house, on the concert stage, on recordings, on radio.”

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Risë Stevens dies