Reputations: Leontyne Price, every inch the prima donna

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One of America's leading sopranos for over three decades, and a favourite with conductors from Karajan to Levine, Alan Blyth pays tribute.

I was present in 1952 at the Stoll Theatre in London when Leontyne Price made her London debut, virtually unknown, in a legendary tour of Porgy and Bess. I cannot say I recall much about the occasion, but I certainly have a strong recollection of her next appearance in London when she returned, now with a burgeoning career, to sing the title-role in Aida, at Covent Garden in 1958.

Leontyne Price (photo: Sony/Dave Hecht)

She felt and sang it with the instinctive rightness that comes of thorough training and innate musicality. Soon the role became her calling-card, including her La Scala debut in 1960 and her first appearance at the Metropolitan in 1961.

By then Price had established herself as the first .....

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