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Born in 1913
Inducted in 2008
Born June 11, 1913, in New York City, Risë Stevens was the Metropolitan Opera’s leading mezzo-soprano from 1939 to 1961. She studied at the Juilliard School of Music and made her debut in Vienna in 1936. In 1939 she debuted with the Metropolitan Opera as Octavian in a Philadelphia tour of Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier. Other roles she sang in her twenty-one years with the company include the title role in Bizet's Carmen (which she both performed and recorded several times) and Dalila in Saint-Saens's Samson et Dalila. Risë Stevens also enjoyed a film and television career, appearing in such films as The Chocolate Soldier with Nelson Eddy and Going My Way with Bing Crosby. Upon her retirement in 1961, Stevens became the Director of the Metropolitan Opera’s National Company, a newly formed touring company dedicated to giving young artists some of their first professional experience. She also served as president of the Mannes College of Music (1975-1978). She went on to direct The Met’s National Council Auditions (1980-1988), and was a long-time official of the Metropolitan Opera Guild. In 1977 Stevens was awarded the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit, and in 1982 she was honored by the National Opera Institute.