American opera star Rise Stevens has passed away just three months before her 100th birthday.

The celebrated mezzo-soprano died at her home in New York on Wednesday (20Mar13). She was due to become a centenarian on 11 June.

The singer started her career in Prague, Czech Republic in 1936, before returning to the U.S. to make her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she performed for 20 years.

During her stint with opera company, she was most famous for playing the title role in Georges Bizet's Carmen.

Stevens also broke into the world of film, appearing alongside Bing Crosby in Going My Way and The Chocolate Soldier.

After her retirement from opera, Stevens acted as as General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera National Company until 1966.

She was married to Austrian actor Walter Surovy until his death in 2001, and is survived by their son, Nicholas Surovy.