Toasting A Legend Of the Opera

stevens_rise_small.jpgBy FRED KIRSHNIT [NY Sun, 11 January 2006]
In the 1940s and ’50s there were several great Carmens, but none as saucy as Rise Stevens.Those fortunate enough to own an original 1951 Victor recording of the Bizet masterpiece, conducted by Fritz Reiner and featuring the dream cast of Jan Peerce, Robert Merrill, and Licia Albanese, know that the album cover, a serpentine Ms. Stevens practically lunging off of the cardboard, is as lurid as any east of the corner of Haight and Ashbury. On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Opera Guild and Opera News magazine paid tribute to Ms. Stevens at the Rose Theater.