Leontyne Price will be 90 this week, on February 10.
Selected to sing at a 1953 Met fund-raiser, she had to wait eight years before she won a stage role in New York. By this time she had sung in Vienna with Herbert von Karajan and made debuts at Covent Garden, Salzburg, Verona and La Scala, where she was the first Afro-American to take the stage.
She was a trailblazer, an icon and an ambassador for art. In 1966, she opened the new Metropolitan Opera as Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra by her close friend Samuel Barber. In all, she sang 201 times at the Met, blowing away the last vestiges of discrimination.
Happy birthday, Miss Price.