In Ms. Stevens’s 351 regular appearances at the Met, her professionalism was perhaps never more apparent than it was in one of her many productions of “Samson et Dalila.” Playing the temptress Delilah, Ms. Stevens reclined on a chaise longue to sing the aria “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix,” among the most famous seductions in opera. One night, overcome with theatrical passion, Samson flung himself onto her mid-aria.
Samson did not know his own strength. Under his considerable force, the chaise longue, on casters, began to move. Ms. Stevens sailed offstage and into the wings, still singing.
He wasn’t always socially adept, and it didn’t really bother him. His preferred lullaby to sing his kids to sleep was “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” He might sign greeting cards to his family with the rather formal “Regards, Allan.”
But he had a wickedly deadpan sense of humor that kept them in stitches.
Once, Tatiana presented him with a Valentine’s Day card that mentioned those “three little words.”
“Breakfast served anytime,” he intoned in his deep professorial voice.
When he used a label maker to make little signs for objects around their home, he added one that was quirkily endearing.
He placed a label above the cat’s bowl, at feline eye level.
It read: “It is essential in this life that you be your own cat.”
(H/T to Joan Lufrano!)