Rise Stevens

  • Source:  University Archives Yearbook Collection, 1943 (UA50-01-1943-165).
  • Staff Person:  Arthur Carlson
  • Description:  This image from the University Archives features famed opera singer Rise Stevens. Born Rise Steenberg, 11 June 1913 in New York City, she studied at the Julliard School before moving to Vienna, Austria to pursue a career in opera.  In 1938, she made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera where she caught the eye of Hollywood film executives who cast her in The Chocolate Soldier (1941) and Going My Way (1944).  For over two decades, Stevens performed as the Met’s leading mezzo-soprano, earning top billing on many successful productions.  Upon her retirement from the stage, she served as the General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera Company while also serving as a coach for aspiring opera singers.  This image was taken during her visit to East Carolina during World War II.  Her visit provided some distraction of glitz and glamour to a student body faced with the daily specters of global war in Europe and the Pacific and examinations here on the home front.