National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Ms. Sayre Sheldon
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Born Laurel, Mississippi
Soprano Leontyne Price trained at Juilliard and first scored a major success in 1952, appearing as Bess in a touring production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. In 1955 she appeared in an NBC telecast of Tosca and was subsequently in high demand by opera houses in London, Vienna, and Milan. It was not until 1961 that she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera—as Leonora in Il Trovatore—and she quickly became a Met favorite until her farewell performance there in 1985. Especially associated with the work of Verdi and Samuel Barber, Price sang the title role in Cleopatra—which Barber created for her—at the opening of the Met’s new home at Lincoln Center. Price was also a tireless performer on the recital circuit and won fifteen Grammys for her recordings. She received a Kennedy Center Honors award in 1980.
The artist; his sister Sheldon Sayre, Cambridge, Mass.; gift 1991 NPG