Thursday, July 17th, 2014...9:30 am

Remembering Eleanor Steber

Jump to Comments

Eleanor Steber (1914-1990) was a leading soprano at the Metropolitan Opera for over two decades. Today is her 100th birthday.

Over the past weeks this blog has featured items drawn from Steber’s papers in the Harvard Theatre Collection that document two significant collaborations with American composer Samuel Barber: Vanessa (1958) and Knoxville: Summer of 1915 (1948). To read more about the collection and Steber’s career, follow the links below. A selection of working scores and photographs will be on display in the Chaucer Case on the ground floor of Houghton Library through September.

Eleanor Steber at 100Steber and Vanessa Steber and Knoxville

Eleanor Steber, n.d. 2006MT-18The B&O “Steber Special” at the depot in Steber’s native Wheeling, W.Va. after she won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. Photograph by Cress-Wheeling, [1 May 1940]. 2006MT-18
Conductor Eugene Ormandy, Tenor Set Svanholm, Eleanor Steber, and Met Manager Rudolf Bing in Vienna, [1953]. 2006MT-18Eleanor Steber and Wolfgang Windgassen in Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Bayreuth Festival. Steber was the first American to sing Elsa there since 1894. She gave a “deeply eloquent” performance which was subsequently recorded. Photograph by Sedge LeBlang, [1953]. 2006MT-18Eleanor Steber with Fran Allison and puppet Madame Oglepuss, a retired opera diva, from the children’s television program Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Photograph by Ellingsen, n.d. 2006MT-18Eleanor Steber and George London in the American premiere of Strauss’ Arabella at the Met. Photograph by Sedge LeBlang, [1955]. 2006MT-18Composer Samuel Barber with Eleanor Steber during Vanessa rehearsals, [ca. 1958]. 2006MT-18Eleanor Steber as Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin. Photograph by Sedge LeBlang, [1953]. 2006MT-18

This post is the last in a series on the Eleanor Steber collection to mark the centenary of her birth.

Dale Stinchcomb, Curatorial Assistant in the Harvard Theatre Collection, contributed this post.

Comments are closed.