Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rise Stevens: On Film with Bing and Nelson

Elizabeth and I found out last night that famous opera star, Rise Stevens, died on Wednesday. This didn't come as a "surprise", as she was 99 years old --- but it's like the passing of an era. She was the only singing star to appear in a movie with both of my favorite singers/actors. In 1941 she played Maria Lanyi, Nelson Eddy's wife in The Chocolate Soldier. Three years later, in 1944, she played Bing Crosby's long-time friend (and Metropolitan opera star), Genevieve Linden.

Not only was her voice fabulous, but she wasn't one of those opera stars that stood on the screen waiting to sing. You actually liked her as a character in the film when she wasn't singing.

The world is remembering her right now for her famous roles on the operatic stage. Carmen, Samson et Delilah, etc. But I'll always think of her singing Ave Maria in the church basement with Bing and the Robert Mitchell Boys Choir.

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