Realizing that Rise Stevens is now 89 makes me ever so aware of the passing of time!
Rise Stevens was one of the principal reasons for my interest in opera. I saw her at the Met in CARMEN quite a few times, and she certainly set a standard in this role that, for me, hasn't been surpassed!
But I also fondly remember her incomparable Octavian, her seductive Dalila, and her clever portrayal of Orlovsky. I also heard her in recital quite a few times, including one in which she sang "Vissi d'arte." (!!)
Just this week I received a copy (from Japan) of her RCA disc of extended scenes from SAMSON ET DALILA (with Mario del Monaco). What a shame RCA released this for the Japanese market but hasn't made it available here or in Europe! - Great sound, too!
I'm sure I wouldn't have become the opera buff I am had it not been for artists like Rise Stevens (plus Dorothy Kirsten, Zinka Milanov, James Melton, and Robert Merrill)!