Steber was one of the most important sopranos in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s, with a sweet, yet full voice and outstanding versatility. Her recitals were practically vocal pentathlons for their wide range of styles and vocal demands, and the day she sang Desdemona in Verdi's Otello for a Met matinee and Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte that evening is still legendary. She is perhaps most famous for her creation of the title role in Samuel Barber's Vanessa (actually as a substitute for Sena Jurinac), and for commissioning his Knoxville: Summer of 1915. In addition to opera and recitals, she was a frequent guest on The Voice of Firestone's television broadcasts. However, her career outlasted her voice, and most of her later appearances and recordings were gravely technically flawed.
Her mother was an accomplished ... Read Full Biography