Leontyne Price

Leontyne Price (1927) - opera singer.
The soprano Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) is an African American opera singer. She was best known for her Verdi roles, above all Aida, a role to which she became more closely associated than any other singer of the postwar period.
Price was born Mary Violet Leontyne Price in a segregated black neighborhood of Laurel, Mississippi. Her father worked in a lumber mill and her mother as a midwife. They noticed Leontyne's talent early and traded in the family phonograph for a small piano, which Leontyne played from an early age. Her talent was noted by the Chisholms, an affluent white family in Laurel who encouraged Leontyne's studies and often asked her to sing at family events. Enrolling at Central State University , Wilberforce, Ohio, which had offered her a scholarship, Leontyne began as a music education major, aiming for a teaching career. But she completed her studies there in voice. With the assistance of Paul Robeson and the Chisholms, she obtained a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School.
While at Juilliard, Price sang Bess in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and during a European tour of the production, she met her husband William Warfield, who was singing Porgy (they were divorced in 1972).
In 1955, Price was engaged by NBC to sing the lead for a televised production of Puccini's Tosca. The announcement was met by objections and cancellations from local affiliates, but her performance in this historic broadcast was considered a critical success.
Price made her professional operatic stage debut in 1957 as Madame Lidoine in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites at the San Francisco Opera. In 1958, she was invited by Herbert von Karajan, who admired Price's talents, to make her European operatic debut as Aida at the Vienna State Opera. They continued to collaborate for the rest of her career, in the opera house (notably in 1962 Salzburg performances of "Il Trovatore"), concert hall, and on recordings ("Tosca," "Carmen," and one of the most popular of holiday albums, "A Christmas Offering").
On July 2, 1958, Price made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Her La Scala debut came two years later on May 21, 1960, again in Aida. Price was the first black singer to sing a major role in Milan.
On January 27, 1961, Price made a her now legendary debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Leonora in Verdi's Il Trovatore, for which she received a 42-minute ovation, one of the longest in the Met's history. Price subsequently appeared for many years regularly in New York. The New York Times critic Harold Schonberg wrote: "Her voice was dusky and rich in its lower tones, perfectly even in its transitions from one register to another, and flawlessly pure and velvety at the top." Price was not the first black singer to sing at the Met -- Marian Anderson broke the race barrier there on January 7, 1955 -- but Price was the first to become a major star. Her rise coincided with, and for many came to symbolize, the breakthroughs achieved by African Americans in the 1960s.
In 1966, Price returned to the Met to sing Cleopatra in the premiere of Samuel Barber's Anthony and Cleopatra, the production that inaugurated the Met's new opera house at Lincoln Center.
Price eventually took up a broad repertoire which covered Mozart, Puccini and Richard Strauss, but was best known for her Verdi. She also gave concert recitals, singing both operatic excerpts and songs.
Price made her last operatic appearance at the Met in 1985, as Aida. In September 2001, she came out of retirement to sing in a Carnegie Hall memorial concert for victims of the World Trade Center attacks. She lives in Greenwich Village in New York City.

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Leontyne Price - "Christmas with Leontyne Price" (DVD-NTSC)

Leontyne Price - "Christmas with Leontyne Price" (DVD-NTSC)

4302The beloved soprano in a program of Christmas favorites superbly supported by the Montreal Symph..

$29.99

LEONTYNE PRICE: THE ART OF (DVD-NTSC)

LEONTYNE PRICE: THE ART OF (DVD-NTSC)

A testement to the longevity of Price’s illustrious..

$34.99

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