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Leontyne Price on Opening the Metropolitan Opera

Soprano Leontyne Price recalls being chosen to open The Opera House with the premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra in 1966.
Great Performances: The Opera House, the new documentary by multiple Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Susan Froemke (Grey GardensLalee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton) surveys a remarkable period of the Metropolitan Opera’s rich history and a time of great change for New York City. Premieres Friday, May 25 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and will be available to stream the following day on and PBS apps.

I went into what I called the inner sanctum of opera This is still the old house downtown and I thought wonder what this is about, you know?

Because they were plans for the new fabulous house were being Shall we say?

Choreographed at that time. I knew anything about it, but Mr. Bing said, 'Leontyne, We have a bit of news for you You have been chosen by us and by Samuel Barber to open the new Metropolitan Opera House.

I thought I was going to die. I did, sort of. So what else is new look we didn't go down Are you kidding me? And... I don't know Now Laura really sit in mama and daddy really sit in everything all my teachers said and I thought okay because the hope point was for you to be an all-American occasion That whole year... I dedicated myself to living almost like a nu.

I did nothing that would possibly interfere with my being at my total complete best. I was just so... determined that I was going to do my country proud.


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