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Rise Stevens
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    (June 11, 1913-March 20, 2013)
    Born in The Bronx, New York
    Birth name was Rise Steenberg
    First name pronounced Ree-za
    Member of the Metropolitan Opera (1938-61)
    Signature roles included Carmen in Bizet's 'Carmen,' Delilah in Saint-Saens' 'Samson et Dalila' and Octavian in Strauss' 'Der Rosenklavier'
    Appeared in the films 'The Chocolate Solider' (1941) and 'Going My Way' (1944)
    Her middle name was Gus. (In honor of an aunt Augusta.)
    In their first article about her, the New York Times called her 'Rose' Stevens.
    She insured her voice for a million dollars.
    She did ads for both Chesterfield and Camel cigarettes.
    She was married to actor Walter Surovy for 62 years until his death.
    She rarely exhibited diva behavior, with 'Opera News' calling her 'one of the sanest big opera stars of her time.'
    During a performance of 'Der Rosenklavier' she caught a splinter of glass in the eye from a dropped wineglass, but finished the opera after a doctor removed the shard (1951).
    She sang an evening performance at La Scala in Milan, caught a plane to New York, and did a matinee at the Met (1954).
    She personally persuaded President Kennedy to intervene when a labor dispute threatened to cancel an entire Met opera season (1961).
    She retired when she still had a great voice, commenting 'It always bothered me, these great singers when I heard them again and again, remembering how magnificent they sounded once and no more.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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