Leontyne Price, a lyric soprano, is one of the world´s leading lyric sopranos. Her career in concerts and opera has brought her the praise of public and critics alike.
Miss Price was born in Laurel, Mississippi on February 10, 1927, and received her B.A. in 1948 from the College of Educational and Industrial Arts (now Central State College) in Wilberforce, Ohio. She later accepted a scholarship to Juilliard where she studied with Florence Page Kimball. After seeing her in the student production of Verdi’s Falstaff, Virgil Thompson, the noted critic selected her to sing in the revival of his Four Saints in Three Acts which was performed on Broadway for two weeks in 1952.
She then played the role of Bess in the 1952 revival of Porgy and Bess, and continued in the part on a tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department. During the run of Porgy and Bess, she introduced works by Stravinsky, Henri Saguet, John La Montaine and others at such places as the Metropolitan Museum in New York and Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.. In 1954, she gave a successful Town Hall recital and, the following year, sang Tosca for the NBC-TV Opera Company. She later appeared on this network in The Magic Flute (1956); Dialogue of the Carmelites (1957), and Don Giovanni (1960).
Miss Price made her Metropolitan debut in Il Trovatore on January 27, 1961. Since then, she has made numerous recordings of operas and operatic arias. She is married to the noted black bass baritone, William Warfield. Just one season after she had made her Met debut as Leonora in Verdi´s Il Trovatore, Miss Price had her first Met opening in 1961 in the title role of Puccini´s The Girl of the Golden West. Since then, she has made numerous recordings of operas and operatic arias. In September of 1966. Miss Price opened the Metropolitan Opera season in the role of Cleopatra. The opera (Anthony and Cleopatra) was said to have been written by composer Samuel Barber with her in mind. In the world of opera, Miss Price ranks alongside Birgit Nilsson, Joan Sutherland and Renata Tebaldi as one of the most esteemed and celebrated sopranos of the contemporary era. Her voice is said to be the perfect Verdi voice; her Aida is often regarded as the paragon against which all others should be measured.
Source: Classic Black