The US mezzo-soprano and Kennedy Center Honor winner Rise Stevens has passed away aged 99 years old. She was only three months shy of her 100th birthday.

She sang with the Metropolitan Opera for more than 20 years, including her perhaps most celebrated role as Carmen in the 1950’s, for which she sang for 124 performances. However, she also diversified from opera singing and enjoyed a brief Hollywood film career in the 1940's, starring in Oscar-winning Bing Crosby film Going My Way.

According to the BBC, the singer made her professional opera debut in Prague, which is where she first flourished in her famous role of Carmen, before going on to join the Met in 1938 on tour in Mignon. Her first substantial movie role meanwhile was in the Oscar-nominated 1941 film The Chocolate Soldier which was a precursor to her getting the nod for Going My Way – a seven-time Oscar winner. Many feel she could’ve gone to greater things as an actress, but it was as an opera singer where her passions truly lay and so she returned to the opera, eventually retiring from performing in 1961. After that she spent three years as director of the Met's touring company and was also a managing director of the Met, board member of the Metropolitan Opera Guild and president of the Mannes College of Music from 1975 to 1978. She received the Kennedy Center Honor in 1990.