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Rise Stevens papers

Identifier: SSC-MS-00154

Scope and Contents

The Risë Stevens Papers include correspondence, speeches, interviews, articles, legal papers and contracts, scripts, fan mail, photographs, music notebooks, concert scores, memorabilia, clippings, and artwork. The collection primarily documents Stevens's administrative roles in the Metropolitan Opera Company and in the National Endowment for the Arts. Items of particular interest include correspondence to and from opera colleagues and friends regarding Metropolitan Opera National Company trials and triumphs, such as a labor dispute in 1969; addresses and an interview with former Metropolitan Opera Broadcast announcer, Milton Cross (1966); and a script for General Manager Rudolph Bing's "gala" in 1972.

Dates of Materials

  • 1962-1975


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection may be governed by copyright. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Risë Stevens was born in New York City on June 11, 1913. She studied at Julliard and Mozarteum, Salzburg, working with Anna Schoen-Rane and Vera Schwartz. She had her debut in Prague and returned to the US for her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera in 1938. She married Walter Surovy in 1939 and had one son, Nicholas. Until her retirement in 1961, "she virtually owned many of the great mezzo[-soprano] roles" in classic opera. During World War II, she traveled with the Hollywood Victory Caravan. She was a regular performer on both radio and television and recorded for both Columbia and RCA Victor. After her 1961 retirement from performing, Stevens continued her involvement in opera as director of the Met's National Company, "dedicating to taking opera to hundreds of American cities where opera was not available." She later served as president of Mannes College of Music (1975- 78) and returned to the Met as director of its National Council Auditions (1980-88). She established the Risë Stevens scholarship at Adelphi College. Risë Stevens has been honored many times over her long career including honorary degrees from Russell Sage (H.H. D.), Hobart, and Smith Colleges (Mus. D.). Stevens passed away on March 20, 2013.


2.418 linear feet (7 containers)


Opera singer and Director, Metropolitan Opera National Company. Collection primarily documents Stevens's administrative roles in the Metropolitan Opera Company and in the National Endowment for the Arts and includes correspondence, speeches, interviews, scripts, fan mail, photographs, music notebooks, concert scores, memorabilia, and artwork.

Related Material

Additional papers at Boston University.

Rise Stevens papers
Finding Aid
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:15-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063