Leontyne Price Sings Her Farewell in Aida

Leontyne Price was a famous African American singer.  She was best known for her role as Aida, the black slave girl in the opera of the same name.

During the 50s and 60s she endured racism and other humiliations like not being allowed to sleep in the same hotel as the white singers.  Nevertheless her voice and her talent endured and she became one of the best known and best loved singers in the entire pantheon.

Her signature role, as I said, was as the slave girl in Aida.  During this opera Aida realizes she will never return to Ethiopia and she sings of the love and the heartache she has for a land she will never see again.  It’s heartbreaking.  When Ms. Price left the stage, of course her signature song was going to be “O Patria Mia”.  Everyone was waiting for it.  Emotions were already very high. Everyone throughout the world of opera knew how much the song meant to Ms. Price personally, and could only guess what emotions were raging inside her

This was to be her final curtain call as Aida — she was leaving the world of opera forever.  And then the time came when she had to sing the song on stage…and then she had to stand there and endure the fantastic reaction she knew was going to come from the audience.

Yeah.  It brings the house down. Most times those are just meaningless words. Not this time. Ms. Price brought the house down.

Watch as she stands there and endures the waves of love and emotion that break over her.  She’s about to completely crack open and begin sobbing uncontrollably — the audience is already sobbing and shouting “Brava!” — but she can’t break down because if she does the opera is ruined and she has to go on to sing the next song.

Watch it yourself…and try not to cry as the audience breaks down and says goodbye to a true artist.

http://youtu.be/xGfP38nd-U0

 

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6 Comments

  1. That was intense. Thanks for sharing and for the back-story. A journey of meaning comes to an end in the best way possible.

    Reply
  2. A totally fitting farewell both by and to Miss Price. Crying just thinking about it!

    Reply

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