She Shook Up The Opera World With Her Powerful Voice

Leontyne Price
Briona Lomback
September 10, 2021

Leontyne Price came from humble, but promising beginnings. She’d been surrounded by music since her mother’s stroller lullabies in her hometown of Laurel, Mississippi. By age five, she’d already begun musical training – but somehow many still doubted her greatness.

After a field trip to see singer and civil rights activist Marian Anderson perform, a teenage Price knew she had to carry the baton. Jim Crow segregation was at its peak, and she was a Black woman in the white-washed opera world, so it wouldn’t be easy.

She had to sing for segregated audiences, but refused to compromise who she was. When she sang spirituals, it was always in her Southern accent. Price once explained that her Blackness gave her a natural flavor and something unique that no one else had.

When she took the Metropolitan Opera stage in 1961, she brought down the house with velvety vocals. Her debut night was a success. She helped shatter the remaining racial barriers in opera and received a 40-minute standing ovation!

The Opera world never expected a Black woman would come and shake things up. Like Price, when navigating white spaces, we must never shrink ourselves to appease them. We can remain true to our Blackness and still come out on top!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: