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LEONTYNE PRICE: Opera’s Greatest Soprano Turns 90 by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

Leontyne Price is considered one of the greatest operatic sopranos of all time; and indisputably the most accomplished black woman in opera history. This world renowned icon and legend turns 90 on February 10, 2017.

leontyne-price-new-york-november-6-1961-photo-by-irving-penn-for-vogue

Leontyne Price, New York, November 6, 1961. Photo by Irving Penn for VOGUE.

She was a majestic superstar at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and worldwide. We cannot begin to scratch the surface exploring her talents, accomplishments, and lustrous career. Below is a very brief biography geared toward the general public, not just opera fans, with retrospective photographs. To pay homage we chose #58 photographs for this article and #2 for our previous article (#60 total). Out of thousands of photographs it was extremely difficult to choose. We highlighted solo photographs, and some with colleagues, et cetera; intentionally all are not in chronological order, please enjoy our random variety of Ms. Leontyne Price through the years. To celebrate her 90th birthday, please take some time out to listen to THE GREATEST OPERA SOPRANO OF ALL TIME!

Celebrity Photojournalist Lisa Pacino is the Director of the Exclusive Worldwide Official Leontyne Price Fan Club.

Brief Bio:
Leontyne Price, born Mary Violet Leontyne Price on February 10, 1927 in Laurel, Mississippi is an operatic soprano, who made her début at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on January 27, 1961, following in the footsteps of Marian Anderson, who was the first black woman to sing at the Met on January 7, 1955. Ms. Price was the first black woman to become a season’s leading artist with the Metropolitan Opera. In 1959, after hearing her in Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore Met General Manager Rudolf Bing invited her to join the Met company in the 1960–61 season. Her 1961 Met début in Il Trovatore received a 42 minute standing ovation; Italian tenor Franco Corelli also made his Met début alongside Ms. Price that evening. On September 16, 1966, she was La Prima Donna for the newly constructed Metropolitan Opera House, making her the first women, black or white, to open the new Met at Lincoln Center. She played the role of “Cleopatra” in Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra; Puerto Rican bass-baritone Justino Díaz played “Antony.”
A graduate of New York’s Juilliard School, her first major role was as Alice Ford in a 1952 Juilliard Falstaff, a performance that directly led to her Broadway stage debut as St. Cecelia in the revival of Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts on April 16, 1952 (it closed April 27, 1952 after 15 performances); the vast cast included Arthur Mitchell, Betty Allen, Billie Allen, Gloria Davy, Martha Flowers, Inez Matthews, and Leontyne Price, to name a few. That same year she starred as Bess in the 1952 tour of Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin; the tour included the Stoll Theatre in London. She was praised for her role in the American opera. Her then husband bass-baritone William Warfield played Porgy. Porgy and Bess arrived on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre on March 10, 1953 and ran to November 28, 1953, after 305 performances. Ms. Price, now in great demand, was the first black woman to sing opera on television in the United States of America; it aired on NBC-TV Opera Theatre; she was paired with Italian-American tenor David Poleri in Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca on January 23, 1955, it was interracial, enraging many NBC-TV Southern state affiliates who refused to air the opera, cancelling Southern broadcasts; it was followed by the role of “Pamina” in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute/La Flauta Magica) with William Lewis, also interracial, on January 15, 1956. She returned for two more NBC Opera broadcasts as “Madame Lidoine” in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites on December 8, 1957, and “Donna Anna” in Mozart’s Don Giovanni on April 26, 1960. Throughout her career she refused to sing for segregated audiences in the South. On May 30, 1957 she was televised in a 35-minute live recital documentary, as herself, directly from Sydney Town Hall in Australia. She made numerous television appearances in programs such as What’s My Line?, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Bell Telephone Hour. Ms. Price is world renowned soprano who sang in every single major opera house in the world; from Milan, Italy’s Teatro alla Scala to London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; her countless festivals include Salzburg. Ms. Price sang for several US Presidents including President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson on January 20, 1965, LBJ’s funeral, President Jimmy Carter at the White House on October 8, 1978, and others.
After Ms. Price sang 204 performances with the Met, on January 3, 1985, the Metropolitan Opera billed the program as Leontyne Price’s Farewell to Opera in Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. It was her final professional opera performance; appropriately sung at the Met. In 2007, PBS viewers voted her farewell performance of the aria, “O patria mia”, as the No. 1 “Great Moment” from the Live from the Met telecasts. The aria ends with a graceful and emotional ovation. After 1985, she continued to give recitals, performances, and master classes. Leontyne Price has received countless awards and accolades including The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964; the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal in 1965; won two Emmy Awards out of her three nominations; the Kennedy Center Honors in 1980; the National Medal of Arts in 1985; Oprah Legend in 2005; received Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (French Order of Arts and Letters), received Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana (The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic), and on October 31, 2008, she was one of the recipients of the first Opera Honors given by the National Endowment for the Arts. She has earned 19 Grammy Awards, the most Grammy Awards by a Classical Music singer this includes a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Leontyne Price is undeniably the most accomplished black woman in opera history, and known as “The Voice of the Century.”
Leontyne Price has won 19 Grammy Awards, more than any other classical singer. 13 Grammy Awards for solo operatic and/or song recitals, 5 Grammys for full operas, and a special Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. Please note when an opera wins a Grammy Award, the principle artist is awarded as well.
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Leontyne Price, New York, 1961 promo photograph, autographed. This promo photo is most commonly known for gracing the album cover: Christmas With Leontyne Price; conductor Herbert von Karajan; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Decca Records, 1961.

USA. 1958. American opera singer Leontyne PRICE.

Leontyne Price by legendary photographer Eve Arnold, NYC, 1958.

Retrospective Photographs:

01-leontyne-price-hs-1943-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price at age 16, Oak Park Vocational High School, Laurel, Mississippi, 1943.

02-leontyne-price-by-carl-van-vechten-ny-december-11-1951-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, New York, December 11, 1951. Photographer Carl Van Vechten.

03-leontyne-price-by-carl-van-vechten-ny-may-19-1953-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, New York, May 19, 1953. Photographer Carl Van Vechten.

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Leontyne Price, New York, May 19, 1953. Photographer Carl Van Vechten.

05-leontyne-price-porgy-bess-promo-by-carl-van-vechten-ny-may-19-1953-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, studio photograph as “Bess”, New York, May 19, 1953. Photographer Carl Van Vechten. (Porgy & Bess opened at the Stoll Theatre, London, October 9, 1952 and on Broadway March 10, 1953).

pb-tour-july-1952-irving-barnes-leverne-hutcherson-william-warfield-price-dressing-room-of-nixon-theatre-duvet-copy

Irving Barnes, LeVerne Hutcherson, William Warfield, and Leontyne Price. Porgy and Bess Tour, dressing room of Nixon Theatre, Philadelphia, PA, July 1952, photographer unknown.

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Leontyne Price and William Warfield, 1953, Publicity photo from J. Walter Thompson Company.

06-leontyne-price-early-50s-portrait-ny-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, early 1950s portrait, photographer unknown.

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Leontyne Price, early 1950s portrait, photographer unknown.

06-leontyne-price-early-50s-promo-ny-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, early 1950s promo, photographer unknown.

07-leontyne-price-1950s-contact-sheet-1-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, 1950s contact sheet #1, photographer unknown.

08-leontyne-price-1950s-contact-sheet-2-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, 1950s contact sheet #2, photographer unknown.

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Leontyne Price, 1950s from contact sheet #1, photographer unknown.

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Leontyne Price, 1950s from contact sheet #1, photographer unknown.

09-leontyne-price-tosca-ny-1955-on-nbc-tv-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, Tosca, NBC television opera theatre, New York, January 23, 1955, courtesy NBC-TV.

10-leontyne-price-david-poleri-rehearsal-tosca-ny-1955-for-nbc-tv-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, Tosca reheasal with tenor David Poleri, NBC television opera theatre, New York, January 1955, courtesy NBC-TV.

11-leontyne-price-designer-robert-fletcher-at-a-costume-fitting-ny-nbc-tv-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, with designer Robert Fletcher, costume fitting, NBC television opera theatre, New York, 1955, courtesy NBC-TV.

12-leontyne-price-as-pamina-magic-flute-ny-1956-nbc-tv-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, as “Pamina”, The Magic Flute, NBC television opera theatre, New York, January 15, 1956, courtesy NBC-TV.

leontyne-price-and-david-poleri-nbc-opera-1955-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price and tenor David Poleri, Tosca, NBC television opera theatre, New York, January 23, 1955, courtesy NBC-TV.

Leontyne Price as "Pamina" and William Lewis, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, dress rehearsal, December 21, 1955, NBC television opera theatre, New York; aired on January 15, 1956, courtesy NBC-TV and Corbis.

Leontyne Price as “Pamina” and William Lewis, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, dress rehearsal, December 21, 1955, NBC television opera theatre, New York; aired on January 15, 1956, courtesy NBC-TV and Corbis.

13-leontyne-price-leonora-il-trovatore-met-opera-ny-debut-promo-louis-melancon-1961-duvet-2

Leontyne Price, promo photograph as “Leonora” for her Metropolitan Opera debut in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, New York, January 27, 1961. Photograph by Met photographer Louis Mélançon.

13-leontyne-price-leonora-il-trovatore-met-opera-ny-debut-promo-louis-melancon-1961-duvet

Leontyne Price, promo photograph as “Leonora” for her Metropolitan Opera debut in Verdi’s Il Trovatore, New York, January 27, 1961. Photograph by Met Photographer Louis Mélançon.

14-leontyne-price-tosca-ny-1962-by-louis-melancon-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, promo photograph as “Floria Tosca” for Tosca, Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 1962. Photograph by Met Photographer Louis Mélançon.

15-leontyne-price-aida-ny-1967-by-louis-melancon-color-photo-library-of-congress-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, promo photograph as “AIDA”, Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 1967. Photograph by Met Photographer Louis Mélançon.

16-leontyne-price-elvira-in-verdis-ernani-ny-date-unknown-by-louis-melancon-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, promo photograph as “Elvira”, Verdi’s Ernani, Metropolitan Opera House, New York, 1960s. Photograph by Met Photographer Louis Mélançon.

leontyne-price-giuseppe-taddei-herbert-von-karajan-vienna-1962-autographed-duvet-copy

Giuseppe Taddei, maestro Herbert von Karajan, and Leontyne Price, Tosca recording, Vienna, 1962, autographed, photographer unknown.

leontyne-price-and-anneliese-rothenberger-by-peter-basch-1962-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price and Anneliese Rothenberger, airport, 1962. Photograph by Peter Basch.

leontyne-price-and-zubin-mehta-recording-il-trovatore-1969-duvet-copy

Maestro Zubin Mehta and Leontyne Price, recording Il Trovatore, 1969, RCA Records.

leontyne-price-and-shirley-verrett-verdis-ballo-in-maschera-rca-recording-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price and Shirley Verrett, recording Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, 1960s, RCA Victor Records.

george-shirley-leontyne-price-cosi-60s-duvet-copy

Tenor George Shirley and Leontyne Price, Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, rehearsal, 1960s, RCA Victor Records.

christa-ludwig-and-leontyne-price-salzburg-1959-duvet-copy

Christa Ludwig and Leontyne Price, Salzburg, 1959, photographer unknown.

17-leontyne-price-dick-smith-makeup-artist-ny-date-photographer-unknown-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, make-up artist Dick Smith, date and photographer unknown.

18-leontyne-price-for-alitalia-date-photographer-unknown-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, Alitalia, date and photographer unknown.

19-leontyne-price-at-home-ny-1959-photographer-unknown-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, home in New York, 1959, photographer unknown.

leontyne-price-franco-corelli-salzburg-1962-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price and Italian tenor Franco Corelli, Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Salzburg, 1962, photographer unknown.

leontyne-price-cutting-the-old-met-opera-curtain-after-closing-1966-swatches-sold-in-rca-records-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price cutting the Old Met Opera Curtain, closed 1966. Promotional swatches were enclosed in the record “Opening Nights at the Met” and others, photograph RCA Victor.

20-leontyne-price-cleopatra-met-debut-ny-1966-by-louis-melancon-colorized-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, promo as “Cleopatra” for her Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York debut in Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, September 16, 1966. Colorized. Photograph by Met photographer Louis Mélançon.

21-leontyne-price-la-forza-del-destino-rca-italiana-records-1965-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, La forza del destino, RCA Italiana Records, 1965.

22-leontyne-price-with-louis-vuitton-bag-1973-photographer-unknown-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, with Louis Vuitton bag, 1973, photographer unknown.

sherrill-milnes-leontyne-price-gala-70s-duvet-copy

Baritone Sherrill Milnes and Leontyne Price, Gala, New York, 1970s, photographer unknown.

cyrus-vance-leontyne-price-and-ansel-adams-havard-1981-duvet-copy

Cyrus Vance with soprano Leontyne Price and photographer Ansel Adams after both received their Harvard Honorary Degree, 1981. Photograph Harvard University.

22-leontyne-price-polaroid-by-andy-warhol1972-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, autographed, Polaroid photograph by artist Andy Warhol, 1972.

23-price-pavarotti-fox-freni-chicago-1970

Leontyne Price, Luciano Pavarotti, Carol Fox- the general manager of Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Mirella Freni, 1970, photographer unknown.

24-price-and-pavarotti-80s-photographer-unknown-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price and Luciano Pavarotti, 1980s, photographer unknown.

nea-opera-award-honoree-leontyne-price-kissed-by-placido-domingo-dc-october-31-2008-duvet-copy

NEA Opera Award Honoree Leontyne Price kissed by Plácido Domingo, Washington, DC, October 31, 2008. Getty Images.

leontyne-price-with-general-george-price-arriving-at-the-kennedy-center-honors-1980-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price with her brother, Brigadier General George B. Price arriving at the 27th Annual Kennedy Center Honors, December 4, 2004 in Washington, D.C. Ms. Price’s brother became her manager in 1985 after her opera farewell at the Met. She continued to give recitals, concerts, and appearances. Photograph Getty Images.

26-leontyne-price-ny-1983-by-jack-mitchell-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, New York, 1983. Photograph by Jack Mitchell.

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Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, New York Mayor Ed Koch, and guests, New York, July 25, 1984. Photograph by Holland Wemple.

marian-anderson-with-leontyne-price-mayor-ed-koch-duvet-copy-2

Leontyne Price, Marian Anderson, New York Mayor Ed Koch, and guests, New York, July 25, 1984. Photograph by Holland Wemple.

leontyne-and-kathleen-battle-oprahs-legends-2005-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price and Kathleen Battle, Oprah’s Legends Weekend, 2005; aired on ABC-TV May 22, 2006, photographer unknown.

september-30-2001-concert-for-9-11-carnegie-hall-duvet

Maestro James Levine and Leontyne Price, Concert of Remembrance Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy of 9/11, Carnegie Hall, New York, September 30, 2001, photographer unknown.

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Leontyne Price and maestro Zubin Mehta, Live From Lincoln Center, New York, 1982. Photography by Jack Mitchell.

25-leontyne-price-ny-1981-by-jack-mitchell-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, New York, 1981. Photograph by Jack Mitchell.

28-leontyne-price-met-farewell-ny-january-3-1985-duvet-copy

Leontyne Price, as “AIDA”, Metropolitan Opera House, New York, farewell performance, January 3, 1985, photographer unknown.

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Leontyne Price, as “AIDA”, Metropolitan Opera House, New York, farewell performance, kneeling, January 3, 1985, photographer unknown.

Please visit our previous article with #2 photos— LEONTYNE PRICE: The Most Accomplished Black Woman in Opera History Turning 90:

https://undertheduvetproductions.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/leontyne-price-the-most-accomplished-black-woman-in-opera-history-turning-90-by-photojournalist-lisa-pacino/

Lisa Pacino and Under The Duvet Productions are based in New York. Photography services are available worldwide. If you wish to book photography services, receive information, and/or license images for commercial and/or promotional use please E-mail: UnderTheDuvetProductions@gmail.com

Please visit our On-Line Magazine with over 300 articles:
https://undertheduvetproductions.wordpress.com/

Website:

http://lisapacino.smugmug.com/

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5 comments on “LEONTYNE PRICE: Opera’s Greatest Soprano Turns 90 by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino

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  2. Pingback: Leontyne Price— A Concert of Remembrance: Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy of September 11th Carnegie Hall, New York by Lisa Pacino | Under The Duvet Productions

  3. Pingback: LEONTYNE PRICE: The Third Annual Kennedy Center Honors 1980 by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino | Under The Duvet Productions

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  5. Pingback: LEONTYNE PRICE: The History of the World in 100 Performances, Lincoln Center, New York with Renée Fleming and Julia Bullock by Lisa Pacino | Under The Duvet Productions

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This entry was posted on February 3, 2017 by in Awards, Backstage, Black Broadway, Black History, Black Tie Events, Broadway, Canon, Canon Camera, Celebrities, Celebrity Photojournalist, Concerts, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, History, Lisa Pacino, Music, New York, Opera, Photography, Red Carpet, Theatre, Tony Awards, Uncategorized, Under The Duvet Productions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .
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