Stellar mezzo-soprano Rise Stevens marks her 99th birthday
Too often when I write about great singers of past days, it is to announce their deaths. So let me hasten to note the 99th birthday of Rise Stevens, the eminent American mezzo-soprano, born in New York June 11, 1913.
With a plush voice and an instantly engaging manner of phrasing, she became one of the most popular opera stars of the 1940s and '50s, especially acclaimed for her portrayal of Carmen and Dalila. No wonder her dynamic stage personality was also appreciated by Hollywood.
These vintage examples capture the Rise Stevens allure very well, I think: a TV performance of "Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix" from "Samson et Dalila" and a clip from her 1941 film with ...
Nelson Eddy, "The Chocolate Soldier" ("I Love Lucy" fans who, like me, know this aria only from Ethel's indelible version will kindly refrain from laughter):