Soprano Leontyne Price was born Mary Violet Leontine Price in Laurel, Mississippi, on February 10, 1927, the daughter of James and Katherine Price. Leontine was a very musical child and became a local success at an early age, singing at local weddings and funerals. After receiving local training, she sang in her first recital on December 17, 1943.
After studying at Wilberforve College (now Central State University) in Ohio, Leontine enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York. She began studying with Florence Page Kimball and, shortly after changing the spelling of her name to “Leontyne”, she was accepted into the Juilliard Opera Workshop. Much of Leontyne’s musical education was supported by a wealthy family from Laurel, Alexander and Elizabeth Chisolm.
At Juilliard, she appeared in 1952 as Nella inÂ Gianni SchicchiÂ and and, later that year, as Mistress Ford inÂ Falstaff. Also in 1952, she was invited by composer Virgil Thompson to appear as Saint Cecilia in a revival of hisÂ Four Saints in Three ActsÂ in New York and Paris.Â
Leontyne Price scored a major success when, in 1952, she appeared as Bess inÂ Porgy and BessÂ in Dallas, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. In the production, Porgy was sung by William Warfield. After the final performance in Washington, Leontyne and William were married on August 31, 1952 (they separated in 1959). The following year,Â Porgy and BessÂ appeared in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and then at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York.
In January 1955, Price appeared in a telecast inÂ ToscaÂ with the NBC Opera Theatre. The performance was such a success that she was invited back for subsequent telecasts ofÂ The Magic Flute,Â Dialogues of the Carmelites, andÂ Don Giovanni.
Leontyne Price made her debut with the San Francisco Opera in 1957 as Madame Lidoine inÂ Dialogues of the Carmelites. During one performance, she was informed that Antonietta Stella had pulled out of performances ofÂ AÃ¯daÂ due to an emergency appendectomy. Price was invited to take her place, so she made her first performance on September 29, 1957. She was invited back to San Francisco for subsequent seasons as Leonora inÂ Il TrovatoreÂ (1958) and as Donna Elvira inÂ Don GiovanniÂ (1959). On September 11, 1959, she opened the new season as AÃ¯da (with Jon Vickers and Irene Dalis). Less than a month later, she appeared in San Francisco as the title character in the world premiere of Carl Orff’sÂ The Wise Maiden.
In 1958, Price made her debut as AÃ¯da at the Vienna Staatsoper and, on July 2 of the same year, she made her debut at London’s Royal Opera House as AÃ¯da (with Regina Resnik as Amneris). In 1959, she made her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as LiÃ¹ inÂ TurandotÂ and returned later that season as the title character in Massenet’sThaÃ¯s. When the San Francisco Opera went on tour in Los Angeles in 1961, she appeared inÂ Madama ButterflyÂ (she sang her first Cio-Cio-San in Vienna in 1960).
After making her La Scala debut as AÃ¯da on 21 May 1960, Price made her debut at the old Metropolitan Opera House as Leonora inÂ Il TrovatoreÂ on January 27, 1961. Her debut was a phenominal success and, within the first nine weeks of her debut season, she had also appeared as AÃ¯da, Donna Anna inÂ Don Giovanni, Cio-Cio-San, and LiÃ¹. In October 1961, she opened the new Met season as Minnie inÂ La Fanciulla del West. She returned to the Met during the 1963-64 season as Tatyana inÂ Eugene OneginÂ and as Pamina inÂ The Magic Flute. Her final new role at the “old Met” was that of Fiordiligi inÂ Cosi fan tutte, which she performed for the first time on January 29, 1965 (the cast included Richard Tucker and Roberta Peters).
When the Metropolitan Opera moved to Lincoln Center in 1966, Price christened the new house as Cleopatra in the world premiere of Samuel Barber’sÂ Antony and Cleopatra. The following year, she celebrated 10 years with the San Francisco Opera with a performance ofÂ Un Ballo in Maschera. On February 2, 1968, Price made her debut at the Paris Opera as AÃ¯da. Maria Callas, who attended one of the performances, was so impressed that she invited Leontyne for dinner. She returned to San Francisco to open the new opera season on September 13, 1968, as Elvira inÂ Ernani.
Price opened the 1969-70 season at the Metropolitan Opera as AÃ¯da and, in 1974, she opened the San Francisco opera season in her role debut as Manon inÂ Manon Lescaut. She repeated the role of Manon at the Met the following year.
During the 1970’s, Leontyne Price appeared in several memorable productions, including performances ofÂ La Forza del DestinoÂ at the Met with Carlo Bergonzi in 1972, andIl TrovatoreÂ in Vienna with Luciano Pavarotti in 1977. On January 3, 1985, Leontyne Price made her farewell to opera with a performance ofÂ AÃ¯daÂ at the Metropolitan Opera.
Price continued to appear in recitals and concerts until early-2000, when she gave notice to her management that she now considered herself completely retired. During her illustrious career she was awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has also taken part in many recordings, which ensure her continued popularity among opera-lovers for years to come.
George L. Brown
William Court Basie
Medical School at Howard University
Charles L. Reason
The Vesey Revolt – Denmark Vesey & Peter Poyas
Bishop William H. Miles
‘Black’ Harry Hosier
Ernest J. Jamieson
Judge Anthony M. Mariani recused himself. [...]
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — As rivers swollen to record levels started to recede Thursday in North Carolina, officials tried to head off potential environmental disasters and prepared for more record floo [...]
WASHINGTON (AP) — Christine Blasey Ford may testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after all, her attorney said Thursday, breathing new life into the prospect of a dramatic Senate showd [...]
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Clapping and raising their hands to the sky, hundreds of people clad in white gathered at an 18th-century fort in the Puerto Rican capital on Thursday to remember the th [...]
An attorney says Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, "Doesn't make any sense legally." [...]
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Only two years out of the NBA, Elton Brand is set to return to the league as a 39-year-old general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. For a franchise that underwent the painful “Pr [...]
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Averting a murder trial that had been nearly four years in coming, former rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight pleaded no contest Thursday to voluntary manslaughter for running over and [...]
Andrea Washington, a mother of three, was found dead on Monday. [...]
STUART, Fla. (AP) — Being in touch with nature is one thing. But gardening au naturel is quite another for some neighbors of a Florida man who’s been doing yard work in the nude. The miffed residents [...]
FORT MORGAN, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado meatpacker is recalling more than 132,000 pounds (60,000 kilograms) of ground beef after an E. coli outbreak killed one person and sickened 17. The U.S. Department [...]
The Moody High School principal is just as outraged as the public over a photo that shows six of his white students standing on a Black male student, who’s lying face down on the floor with the captio [...]
ABERDEEN, Md. (AP) — Three people were killed Thursday morning in a shooting at a Rite Aid distribution center in northeast Maryland, officials said. A law enforcement official with knowledge of the s [...]
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas man whose 1992 murder conviction was overturned with the help of the Midwest Innocence Project was freed from prison Wednesday, describing the moment as “surreal” [...]
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The relaxed new dress code at public schools in the small city of Alameda, across the bay from San Francisco, is intentionally specific: Midriff-baring shirts are acceptable att [...]
Iowa's supreme court heard oral arguments about driving while Black. [...]
DALLAS (AP) — The owner of a Texas company that makes untraceable 3D-printed guns is wanted on an arrest warrant tied to an accusation that he had sex with an underage girl and paid her $500 afterward [...]
It is unclear what laws prohibit Police Chief Renee Hall from firing Amber Guyger. [...]
WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Exhaustion and frustration are building in the Carolinas as thousands of people wait to go home days after Hurricane Florence unleashed epic floods blamed for at least 37 death [...]
DRAPER, Utah (AP) — A woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart and stood by as the Utah girl was sexually assaulted was released from prison Wednesday amid concerns that she remains a threat 15 years a [...]
New details in the police shooting of Martavious Banks raises concerns of a possible cover-up. [...]