NEA Opera Honors: Leontyne Price Tribute

There are very few singers with voices that are as instantly recognizable, and revered, as the rich, creamy lyric soprano of Leontyne Price. Price has made a long career in opera, concert and recital. Though she is best known as a Verdi and Puccini singer, she has always embraced the work of American composers, particularly Samuel Barber. She gave the premiere of his Hermit Songs at New York City's Town Hall in 1954, with the composer at the piano, and Barber went on to write many pieces for her.

In 1997, Price introduced children to one of opera's greatest heroines in her book Aida. Her scores of awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), the Kennedy Center Honors (1980), the National Medal of the Arts (1985), the National Association of Black Broadcasters Award (2002), the French Order of Arts and Letters, the Italian Order of Merit, 19 Grammys and three Emmys.