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Rise Stevens

(singer, born June 11, 1913–March 20, 2013, New York, New York) Mezzo-soprano Rise Stevens saved not only the day at more of than one performance of the Metropolitan Opera--in 1961 she saved the entire season. After the company had canceled its entire 1961-62 schedule due to stalled labor negotiations, a persuasive telegram from Rise Stevens convinced President Kennedy to intervene, and he ordered the Secretary of Labor to arbitrate the dispute. Just three weeks later, the entire season was reinstated on schedule. President Kennedy and the nation had been devoted fans of the Met's reigning mezzo for almost a quarter of a century. A pupil of Anna Schoen-Rane at the Julliard School, Stevens showed her famous independence and good judgement early on when she tuned down a tempting contract offer from the Met in the mid-30s in favor of developing her artistry in Europe.