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Portrait of Leontyne Price as Bess in Porgy and Bess, 1953
Leontyne Price as Bess in Porgy and Bess

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Leontyne Price Was Born
February 10, 1927

Price caught the performance bug when her parents bought her a toy piano. "I was center stage from the time I received that toy piano . . . I had the disease then . . ."

Price attended the Julliard School of Music and sang the role of Bess in the American opera Porgy and Bess in New York City from 1952 to 1954. She was the first African American to sing opera on television, but she still had to fight racial prejudice. Despite the praise of European critics and her enormous popularity at home, Price did not appear at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City until 1961. One of her many awards is the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Price came a long way from that day she heard Marian Anderson sing.

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