Leontyne Price


Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) in Laurel, Mississippi in the United States is one of America’s most beloved and widely recorded operatic sopranos. She was best known for the title role of Verdi’s Aida. Born in the segregated Deep South, she rose to international fame in the 1950s and 60s, and became the first African-American to open a season at the Metropolitan Opera.

Price’s voice is noted for its brilliant upper register, “smoky” middle and lower registers, flowing phrasing, and wide dynamic range. A lirico spinto (Italian for “pushed lyric”, or middleweight), she was well suited to the roles of Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini, as well as several in operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Her voice ranged from A flat below Middle C to the E above High C. (She said she reached high Fs “in the shower.”)

She is a witty woman whose many bons mots have entered opera lore. Once, when discussing plans to have her sing in Atlanta as Minnie, the cowgirl lead in Puccini’s La fanciulla del West, the Met’s general manager Rudolf Bing warned her she wouldn’t be able to stay in the same hotel with the companies. She said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Bing, I’m sure you can find a place for me and the horse.”

After her retirement from the opera stage in 1985, she gave recitals for another dozen years. Among her many honors are the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1965), the Kennedy Center Honors (1980), the National Medal of Arts (1985), numerous honorary degrees, and nineteen Grammy Awards, including a special Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, more than any other classical singer.



Leontyne Price Opera Superstar by Sylvia B. Williams

Leontyne Price: Highlights of a Prima Donna by Hugh Lee Lyon

Leontyne Price: Arias from Verdi and Puccini [ORIGINAL RECORDING REMASTERED]
Giuseppe Verdi (Composer), Giacomo Puccini (Composer), Leontyne Price (Performer)

Leontyne Price: The Ultimate Collection
Samuel Barber (Composer), Hector Berlioz (Composer), Georges Bizet (Composer), George Gershwin (Composer), Jules Massenet (Composer), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Composer), Giacomo Puccini (Composer), Henry Purcell (Composer), Richard Strauss (Composer), Giuseppe Verdi (Composer), Leontyne Price (Performer)

The Essential Leontyne Price: Spirituals, Hymns & Sacred Songs


The Art of Leontyne Price / Aida Act III, Bell Telephone Hour Arias, Concert with Charles Dutoit and Montreal Symphony Orchestra-DVD

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