NEW YORK -- Mezzo-soprano opera star Rise Stevens, who sang with the Metropolitan Opera for more than 20 years spanning the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 99.Ms. Stevens died Wednesday night at her Manhattan home, her son, Nicolas Surovy, said.Ms. Stevens started singing with the Met in 1938, on tour in Philadelphia. Among her greatest roles was the title character in the opera Carmen, which she sang for 124 performances.The Met called her "a consummate artist, treasured colleague, and devoted supporter of the company for 75 years."Ms. Stevens knew that opera, with its soaring notes and huge themes, "was her medium," Surovy said. "She knew it, felt it, lived it."Always one to chart her own way, Ms. Stevens turned down an early chance to sing at New York's Metropolitan Opera when she felt she needed more study in Europe. She turned her back on Hollywood in the 1940s after roles in two successful films because she loved opera so. And in 1961, she retired from performing opera, saying she wanted to bow out when she still had a great voice. She remained active as an administrator and educator.