February 10, 1927
Leontyne Price has achieved heights in the music world that many aspire to but that very few reach. As a singer she became famous all around the world.
Mary Leontyne Price was born in Laurel, Mississippi, on February 10, 1927. As a youth, she sang in church choirs. Later, she attended Central State College in Wilberforce, Ohio, where she received encouragement and specialized vocal training. Through the financial assistance of people from her hometown and the great Paul Robeson, she was able to continue her training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
Price first attracted widespread attention while she was at Juilliard. Her fame in the United States led to her being selected to play of Bess in a European tour of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. That triumphal tour brought her worldwide fame. After the tour, she went on to sing the part of Aida in Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Yugoslavia. She was so popular in Europe that she signed to a contract to record songs in most of the major European languages.
Back in the United States, her popularity continued to grow. In 1961, Price debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, singing the part of Leonora in Giuseppe Verdi's II Trovatore. For her performance, she received a standing ovation that lasted forty-two minutes.
At the peak of her popularity, Leontyne Price retired from active operatic singing. Her retirement from the stage left a gap that has yet to be filled.