A Day in History – Leontyne Price

Leontyne Price (Photo by Jack Mitchell/Getty Images 


To any female African American kid aspiring to become a classical singer, soprano Leontyne Price was the idol!  She commanded the stage with grace, honor and sophistication…her demeanor reeked royalty.  No one, black or white matched that!  Ms. Price may not realize the number of little black girls, particularly in the heart of the south, who saw her as a role model—a pathway to liberation, dignity and respect.

Leontyne Price was born in Laurel, Mississippi, on February 10, 1927 and from an early age, loved music—played the piano and sang in the church choir, but achieving classical success for a black person in a segregated America, could be viewed as a “pipe dream.”  However, in 1936 at the tender age of nine, when she saw African American Marian Anderson in concert in Jackson, Mississippi, she knew it was possible.

In 1961, Leontyne Price made her appearance on the world stage at the Metropolitan Opera, as Leonara in the Verdi’s opera, Il Trovatore, retired from the opera stage in 1985 and left singing publicly altogether in 1997.


At the age of 90, she again assumes the role of prima donna, in the documentary, Opera House, by Susan Froemke.  For more information on one of the world’s greatest sopranos…click here.