Cecilla Braxton

Written by Cecilla Braxton

Modified & Updated: 31 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Nytimes.com

Leontyne Price is an iconic figure in the world of opera, renowned for her extraordinary vocal talents and trailblazing achievements. Born on February 10, 1927 in Laurel, Mississippi, Price quickly rose to prominence as one of the most celebrated sopranos of the 20th century. Throughout her illustrious career, she graced the stages of prestigious opera houses around the world, captivating audiences with her powerful and mesmerizing performances.

But there is much more to Leontyne Price than just her incredible voice. In this article, we will delve into 11 astonishing facts about this legendary opera singer. From breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings to receiving numerous accolades and leaving a lasting impact on the world of classical music, Leontyne Price’s story is a testament to her indomitable spirit and undeniable talent.

Key Takeaways:

  • Leontyne Price, a legendary opera singer, broke racial barriers, won 19 Grammy Awards, and continues to inspire audiences with her timeless voice and remarkable legacy.
  • From her historic debut at the Metropolitan Opera to performing at President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration, Leontyne Price’s impact on the world of opera is truly astonishing.
Table of Contents

Leontyne Price was born on February 10, 1927, in Laurel, Mississippi.

Leontyne Price, one of the most celebrated opera singers of the 20th century, came into this world on a cold winter day in Laurel, Mississippi.

She made her operatic debut as Bess in George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”

Leontyne Price began her operatic career in 1952 with her breakout performance as Bess in the groundbreaking American opera “Porgy and Bess.

Leontyne Price became the first African American to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera.

In 1961, Price made history as the first African American to perform a leading role at the prestigious Metropolitan Opera in New York City, captivating audiences with her exceptional talent.

Her portrayal of Aida became legendary.

One of Leontyne Price’s most iconic roles was the Ethiopian princess Aida, which she performed with unmatched grace and power, earning her well-deserved acclaim and adoration.

Leontyne Price received 19 Grammy Awards in her career.

Throughout her illustrious career, Leontyne Price received 19 Grammy Awards, cementing her status as one of the greatest operatic voices of all time.

She retired from the Metropolitan Opera in 1985.

After captivating audiences for over three decades, Leontyne Price bid farewell to the Metropolitan Opera in 1985, leaving behind a legacy that still resonates today.

Leontyne Price was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson honored Leontyne Price with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, recognizing her immense contributions to the arts and cultural diplomacy.

She received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1980.

In 1980, Leontyne Price was bestowed with the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, celebrating her outstanding achievements and impact in the world of opera.

Leontyne Price broke barriers for African American opera singers.

As one of the first African American opera singers to achieve international recognition, Price paved the way for future generations and shattered racial barriers in the classical music industry.

She performed at the inauguration ceremony of President Jimmy Carter.

In 1977, Leontyne Price had the honor of performing at the inauguration ceremony of President Jimmy Carter, showcasing her exceptional talent on a national stage.

Leontyne Price’s voice continues to inspire and captivate audiences today.

Even though she officially retired from the stage, Leontyne Price’s extraordinary voice and legacy live on, touching the hearts of music lovers around the world.

Leontyne Price’s remarkable journey and groundbreaking achievements make her an inspiring figure in the world of opera. Her powerful voice, charismatic presence, and relentless determination continue to mesmerize audiences to this day. From her historic performances at the Metropolitan Opera to her numerous Grammy Awards, Price’s impact has transcended boundaries and opened doors for future generations of African American opera singers. Her unwavering dedication to her craft and the timeless beauty of her voice make her a true legend in the world of classical music.

In conclusion, the 11 astonishing facts about Leontyne Price provide a glimpse into the extraordinary life and career of this trailblazing opera singer. From her humble beginnings in Mississippi to her groundbreaking accomplishments on the stage, Price’s talent and determination have left an indelible mark on the world of opera. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations of artists and music lovers for years to come.


Leontyne Price is an iconic figure in the world of opera, and these astonishing facts highlight her immense talent and groundbreaking achievements. From her trailblazing role as the first African-American soprano to perform at the Metropolitan Opera to her countless accolades and Grammy-winning recordings, Price’s impact on the opera world is unparalleled. Her powerful and captivating voice, combined with her elegance and stage presence, have made her a beloved and celebrated artist. Whether you are a fan of opera or simply a lover of incredible talent, Leontyne Price’s legacy is one that will continue to inspire and awe audiences for generations to come.


1. What are some of Leontyne Price’s most notable accomplishments?

Leontyne Price’s notable accomplishments include being the first African-American soprano to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, receiving numerous Grammy Awards for her recordings, and being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others.

2. What is Leontyne Price’s vocal range?

Leontyne Price had a remarkable vocal range that spanned from soprano to mezzo-soprano, allowing her to perform a wide range of roles in various operas.

3. Did Leontyne Price retire from performing?

Leontyne Price officially retired from the opera stage in 1985 but continued to make occasional concert appearances and recordings.

4. Are there any notable recordings of Leontyne Price’s performances?

Yes, there are many notable recordings of Leontyne Price’s performances, including her interpretations of “Aida,” “La Bohème,” and “Tosca.

5. Has Leontyne Price received any awards or honors?

Yes, Leontyne Price has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, including the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and being inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Leontyne Price's extraordinary career paved the way for future generations of talented performers. Her legacy continues to inspire those who appreciate the beauty and power of the human voice, from the emotional depths of Puccini's operas to the soaring heights achieved by today's opera singers. Price's remarkable achievements also serve as a reminder that, with dedication and passion, one can overcome even the most daunting challenges and leave an indelible mark on the world, much like the iconic characters in The Sopranos.

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