Mary Violet Leontyne Price is an American soprano. Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, she rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was the first African American to become a leading performer at the Metropolitan Opera. Reviewing her televised farewell opera performance at the Met in 1985, as Aida, one critic described Price's voice as "vibrant," "soaring" and "a Price beyond pearls". Time magazine called her voice "Rich, supple and shining, it was in its prime capable of effortless soaring from a smoky mezzo to the pure soprano gold of a perfectly spun high C." A lirico spinto soprano, she was considered well suited to the heroines of Verdi's "middle period" operas: Aida, the Leonoras of Il trovatore, La forza del destino and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera. She also was noted for her interpretations of leading roles in operas by Giacomo Puccini and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
About Leontyne Price
Grammy Award-winning African American opera star who was honored with the 1980 Kennedy Center Honor and the National Medal of Arts in 1985.
Leontyne Price Before Fame
She was able to play piano after her family traded their phonograph for one. In high school she sang at various local functions, including funerals, to make money.
Achievement of Leontyne Price
A lirico spinto from the deep south, she was one of the first African Americans to lead at the Metropolitan Opera.
Leontyne Price Family Life
Associations of Leontyne Price
Lyndon B. Johnson awarded Price the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964.
Information related to Leontyne Price
- Central State University alumni
- African-American opera singers
- Spingarn Medal winners
- Delta Sigma Theta members
- Singers from Mississippi
- Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners
- Kennedy Center honorees
- United States National Medal of Arts recipients
- American operatic sopranos
- RCA Victor artists
- Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients