Opera star, former Mannes President, and Bronx native Risë Stevens has died at 99. According to The New York Times, Stevens “practically owned the role of Carmen” at the Metroplitan Opera, with whom she performed for decades. After retiring from the stage in 1961, Stevens held high-profile arts administration positions, including her role leading Mannes College from 1975 to 1978.
“Although Rise Stevens’s tenure as president of Mannes was relatively short, she left an indelible mark through the hiring and upgrading of the performance faculty to include then current and future exemplars such as Semyon Bychkov, Judith Raskin, and Homer Mensch,” said Mannes dean Richard Kessler. “Stevens brought a string quartet in residence and created cutting edge programs including ‘Conversations on Great Careers in Music,’ where Isaac Stern, John Browning, Joan Sutherland, and other world renowned stars brought career advice to Mannes students.
Kessler continued, “In many ways the Mannes of today echoes the vision of Rise Stevens who worked to build a world class opera, orchestral, and chamber music program.”