Saturday, February 11, 2017
Opera diva Leontyne Price turned 90 on February 10th!
The pride of Laurel, Mississippi. My mom's shero. My mother had a beautiful mezzo-soprano voice and always looked to Ms. Price as a role model even though the diva was a lirico spirito. She was a touchstone for the possible. My mom studied voice for a year with a private tutor in New York City back in the early '50s. She wanted so badly to achieve what this woman did but was not able to. In fact, her teacher (who I sup[pose thought she was doing my mom a favor) told my mom not to "try so hard. They already got one of you in training. It's gonna be a looooong time before they let in another."
Yikes! And that, that...creature got paid for that advice.
My mom persevered for a bit longer but finally stopped and came back home. She continued to sing in the chorus with the local opera company (you know. those background scenes where there is a crowd). Just glad to be singing. But her dream was dashed. But every time she'd see a mention of Ms. Price anywhere, she'd smile and say, "She's excellent. That could have been me. I was that good."
I have to admit. Mom sang a damn good Carmen. And this lady's Aida was a masterpiece. A triumph.
Anyhoo, Ms. Price is still with us and exhibited nothing but excellence and wonderful diva behavior at her height. Drama, skill, drive.
Happy Birthday, Ms. Price! Diva Extraordinaire!