|Donovan Singletary and Leontyne Price (from the National Portrait Gallery)|
Leontyne Price, who became one of the first African Americans to perform in a lead at the Metropolitan Opera, is one of opera's most beloved and acclaimed singers in recent times. A lirico spinto soprano, she was considered especially well suited to the roles of Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Wolfgang Mozart and premiered Samuel Barber's Antony & Cleopatra at the newly built Met. After her retirement from the opera stage in 1985, she continued to appear in recitals and orchestral concerts until 1997. Price, who won 19 Grammy Awards, is also a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Leontyne Price sings Ritorna vincitor! from Verdi's Aida:
Other African-Americans had preceded Price in leading roles at the Met. However, Price was the first African American to build a star career on both sides of the Atlantic, the first to return to the Met in multiple leading roles, and the first to earn the Met's top fee. In 1964, according to the Met archives, Leontyne Price was paid $2,750 per performance, on par with Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi. At the time, Birgit Nilsson, who was unique in singing Italian and Wagnerian roles, earned the Met's highest fee, $3,000 a performance. Price was briefly married to bass-baritone William Warfield.
Price had a long relationship with the International House, having lived and worked there in the 1950s, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees for more than 30 years. She gave a benefit concert at the International House in 1992 to support resident programs. Donovan Singletary was also a recent resident of the International House.
Singletary will be joined by current International House residents in program that will include selections from “Porgy and Bess” and “Aida,” as well as such personal favorites as the spiritual “I Will Overcome,” “The Boy Next Door” from “Meet Me in St. Louis” (which Price enjoyed performing at resident recitals), and Samuel Barber’s “Sure on This Shining Light.” Tickets for the concert are available HERE.
Singletary has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in Macbeth, Don Carlo, Salome, Pelleas and Melisande and The Bartered Bride. He recently performed as Zuniga in Carmen and Jake in Porgy and Bess with the Seattle Opera and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro and Achilla in Giulio Cesare with Fort Worth Opera. Donovan is also a Certified Personal Trainer, a recently signed fitness model, and a health and fitness enthusiast with more than 15 years of sports, fitness, and wellness experience under his belt. He received his NCCA-accredited personal training certification from the National Academy of Science and Medicine and will be a new addition on the SMART Model Management roster.