PE0079. LADY IN THE DARK (Weill), w.Lehman Engel Cond. Risë Stevens, Adolph Green, John Reardon, etc.; DANNY KAYE, w.Abravanel Cond.: LADY IN THE DARK - selections, recorded 1941, Liederkranz Hall, New York. Sony MHK 62869, recorded 1963. Gatefold Jacket has Brochure, w.archival photos; Discs feature original Columbia LP labels. Very long Out of Print, Final Sealed Copy! - 074646286920
"Columbia's 1963 original studio recording of Weill's brilliant Lady in the Dark has made a triumphant and most welcome return on [Sony's] 'Masterworks Heritage'. Although not at all like the inimitably stylish performance of Gertrude Lawrence, Risë Stevens' Liza Elliott is a superbly acted piece of theatre, and with far superior vocalism. Surpassing the original performance of Danny Kaye as Beekman and the Ringmaster is the legendary Adolph Green. His 'Tschaikowsky' is a highlight of the album."
- James Camner, FANFARE, Nov./Dec., 1997
“This studio album of Weill and Gershwin's LADY IN THE DARK features the lovely Risë Stevens making the role of Liza Elliott her own, with Adolph Green in the role that made Danny Kaye a star in the original production. This sumptuous reissue on the Columbia 'Masterworks Heritage' label presents the recording in creamy stereo, with the orchestra under the baton of Lehman Engel. Risë Stevens is perhaps the best singer to have played Liza on any recording of LADY IN THE DARK. The trained opera singer lets her hair down for the manic ‘Saga of Jenny’, and yields glowing versions of ‘My Ship’ and ‘One Life to Live’. Also featured among the cast are John Reardon and Stephanie Augustine.”
- Byron Kolln, 4 Aug., 2004
“By the time Risë Stevens was 18, she was appearing regularly, sometimes in leading roles, with the Little Theater Opera Company, a Brooklyn troupe. (The company was later known as the New York Opéra-Comique). In the audience one night was Anna Schön-René, a well-known voice teacher on the faculty of the Juilliard School. She began teaching Ms. Stevens privately, and arranged for her to attend Juilliard on a scholarship, starting in the fall of 1933. Ms. Stevens spent two and a half years at Juilliard, where she continued her studies with Schön-René. Though Ms. Stevens had been considered a contralto, Schön-René discerned her true vocal register and helped lighten her voice for mezzo roles. In 1935, financed by Schön-René, Ms. Stevens spent the summer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, where her teachers included the distinguished soprano Marie Gutheil-Schöder.
Ms. Stevens returned to Europe, making her formal operatic début in Prague, as Mignon, in 1936. Joining the Met in 1938, she made her first appearance with the company on 22 Nov., singing Octavian out of town in Philadelphia. On 17 Dec., she performed for the first time on the Metropolitan Opera stage in New York, singing Mignon.
In Ms. Stevens’ 351 regular appearances at the Met, her professionalism was perhaps never more apparent than it was in one of her many productions of SAMSON ET DALILA. Playing the temptress Dalila, Ms. Stevens reclined on a chaise longue to sing the aria ‘Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix’, among the most famous seductions in opera. One night, overcome with theatrical passion, Samson flung himself onto her mid-aria. Samson did not know his own strength. Under his considerable force, the chaise longue, on casters, began to move. Ms. Stevens sailed offstage and into the wings, still singing."
- Margalit Fox, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 March, 2013