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Happy Birthday to Leontyne Price!

This opera singer extraordinaire celebrates her 97th birthday today. Born Mary Violet Leontyne Price in Laural Mississippi on today's date in 1927. She might be one of the last of her generation still with us.

Please feel free to share a favorite photograph or aria with us.

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by Anonymousreply 17February 11, 2024 3:54 PM

"Io son l'umile ancella". This is one of my favorite arias. From Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilea.

She plays the 18th century French actress and sings this aria "I am the humble handmaid", to express her devotion to the words of the playwriter.

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by Anonymousreply 1February 10, 2024 2:10 PM

I think she is the only remaining great singer from the last golden age of opera. Some people might include Domingo but he was god awful. Why did he ruin so many recordings I would have loved? Oh let me include the still living Teresa Stratas and Jose Carreras.

by Anonymousreply 2February 10, 2024 2:15 PM

A true diva!

by Anonymousreply 3February 10, 2024 2:30 PM

Stratas and Carreras were more on the cusp of modern opera singers, and they didn’t last long. Leontyne is most definitely one of the final connections to what was left of the golden age in the late fifties, and sadly she’ll be gone soon.

As much as I love her, Leontyne was always technically inproficient. She never developed her chest voice, the middle was airy, husky, and frequently would go awry tonally, and the top voice while her best attribute, could sound far too girlish. Despite singing Verdi most of her life, she never really understood or could make the great Italian sound of the golden age.

That being said, she recorded and made some of the most beautiful sounds known to man in her upper register, and I would direct anyone who doesn’t really know her to listen to the Blue album, and her Christmas album which has some absolutely preternaturally gorgeous singing on it. I would say that her recording of the climax of the corny “O, Holy Night” is probably some of the most stunning singing ever recorded.

by Anonymousreply 4February 10, 2024 2:49 PM

I was shocked to find out she's related to Whitney Houston.

by Anonymousreply 5February 10, 2024 2:53 PM

Currently mentioned on Broadway every night in "Merrily We Roll Along."

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by Anonymousreply 6February 10, 2024 2:55 PM

Couldn’t disagree with you more R4. Never developed her chest voice?

by Anonymousreply 7February 10, 2024 3:21 PM

"I'll get Leontyne Price to sing her Medley from "Meistersinger".

Hah! Thanks for sharing R6.

by Anonymousreply 8February 10, 2024 3:43 PM

You can now get your Leontyne Price merch as well as CDs. Only $21.76. Today only!

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by Anonymousreply 9February 10, 2024 5:14 PM

A legend

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by Anonymousreply 10February 10, 2024 5:31 PM

Dame Gwyneth Jones is still among us, as is Dame Kiri, R2.

by Anonymousreply 11February 10, 2024 5:45 PM

There a great video from 1967 conducted by Karajan of the Verdi Requiem with Price, Cossotto, Pavarotti, and Mr. Mirella Freni. Leontyne sounds and looks glorious.

by Anonymousreply 12February 11, 2024 2:44 AM

I was surprised she was still alive

by Anonymousreply 13February 11, 2024 3:33 AM

I was surprised she was still alive

by Anonymousreply 14February 11, 2024 3:33 AM

Yes, R7, her chest voice was underdeveloped. In fact it was mostly ignored, and it always was a problem for her that can clearly be heard in both live and recorded performances.

by Anonymousreply 15February 11, 2024 1:41 PM

She should return to Laurel and let Ben and Erin find and renovate a house for her next year for Black History Month (is there an Opera History Month? If so, that'd be cool, too).

DL's collective heads would ASPLODE.

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by Anonymousreply 16February 11, 2024 3:36 PM

Still disagree- she had one of the most powerful, rich and even tones of her day- for me the richest. Her power came from the chest and was solid as a rock. As she aged her timbre in her lower register produced a crack particularly as she went for fortissimo But that is common in an aging voice.

Renee Fleming disagrees with you too. She published a short book some years ago describing the development of her sound and voice which included a pretty thorough discussion of Prices voice.

by Anonymousreply 17February 11, 2024 3:54 PM
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