Opera Singer with the Metropolitan Opera in New York
July 17, 1914 - October 3, 1990
When Eleanor Steber sang for the 1940 Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air, a star was born.
Her triumph in the auditions launched a glorious career in Grand Opera. She became one of the first totally American-trained singers to become a headliner at The Met.
The Wheeling soprano made her Metropolitan debut as Sophie in "Der Rosenkavalier" and went on to sing more than 50 leading roles at the world famous opera company in New York. In fact, she holds the honor of having sung more premieres at The Metropolitan than anyone else.
Before her rise to stardom, The Metropolitan had never mounted such operas as "The Abduction from the Seraglio", "Arabella", "Vanessa", and "Wozzeck".
Miss Steber enjoyed a wide international following, in addition to having a multitude of American fans. She made cultural tours in behalf of the U.S. State Department and appeared in 15 Asian countries and has been heard in Europe at such music centers as Bayreuth, Edinburg, Salzburg, Vienna, Belgrade, and Brussels.Under the labels of RCA, Columbia, and Odyssey, she has made numerous recordings, which have been widely acclaimed.
Born in Wheeling on July 17, 1914, Eleanor studied piano as a child in Wheeling and also studied voice with her mother, Mrs. William Steber. After graduation from Warwood High School, she attended and was graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She studied under the tutelage of the late William L. Whitney.
For 10 years, Miss Steber starred on "The Voice of Firestone" radio and television shows. She was a soloist for the program's first telecast. She was a frequent guest on television shows.
Among her accomplishments was the singing of three such diverse operas as "La Traviata", "Lohengrin", and "The Girl of the Golden West" on three consecutive nights. She made front-page news when she sang Desdemona in "Othello" and Fiordiligi in "Cosi Fan Tutte" in one day at The Met.
In 1980, the year she celebrated the 40th anniversary of her Metropolitan debut, Miss Steber was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame. Miss Steber has also been honored with election to the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame and honorary degrees from West Virginia University, Bethany College, Florida Southern, Ithaca, Temple, and the New England Conservatory of Music. She taught at the Juilliard School of Music at Lincoln Center and held classes at her Ansonia Hotel apartment in Manhattan and at her estate on Long Island.
The Eleanor Steber Music Foundation has been established to provide financial assistance to young singers.
Miss Steber passed away October 3, 1990, in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. She is buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Wheeling.
OCPL appreciates the generosity and thoughtfulness of its many patrons in donating books, historical materials, and other library materials to the Library. Because of the overwhelming number of items donated, the limited amount of staff time to handle these donations, and limited space to house the donated materials, OCPL must restrict the donations accepted. We welcome donations of books, historical materials, and other materials of value. Please read more about our Donation Policies: