American soprano Evelyn Lear, 86, who became an opera star in Europe singing some of the most difficult contemporary roles before returning to the United States, died Sunday at a nursing home in Sandy Spring, Md.
Her friend and collaborator John Edward Niles said she had been ailing for months after suffering a mild stroke.
She and her husband, Thomas Stewart, the acclaimed bass-baritone, retired in the Maryland suburbs near Washington after singing together for decades around the world. They wanted to be closer to their grandchildren and began working to foster new American voices in opera. Stewart died in 2006.