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Leontyne Price on Opening the Metropolitan Opera

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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 pbs.org/gperf 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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