Re-blog – Smorgasbord Creative Artist Interview – Jazz Singer, Musician and Composer – William Price King

creative artists

William and I are taking a break from the music series this week but we begin a brand new one next Wednesday with the life and career of the great Stevie Wonder.  I hope you will join us.

In the meantime I would like to reshare the creative artist interview from earlier in the year in case you missed meeting William Price King in person.

William has been a source of wonderful histories of many of the great performers in the last century and here are the links to the directories.  I hope if you missed any of the posts you will catch up now.

Previous Legends can be found here:

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

And for the Jazz in this directory. Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Kurt Elling, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Nina Simone to mention just a few.

Onto the interview with William.

Welcome to the first in the new series of Creative Artist Interviews. There is a slight twist to these posts in as much as I would like them to be interactive.. I will ask the guests a number of questions but the idea is that you will also ask your own in the comments section for the guest to respond to.  Details of how you can become a guest will be at the end of the post today.  And to show you how it is done.. my friend and collaborator here on the blog.. William Price King, Jazz singer, musician and composer is looking forward to your questions.

William and his music

Back in April 2014 I met William Price King on Twitter. I was planning on bringing my Sunday Show that I presented on ExpressFM in Portsmouth over to my blog with interviews and music.. William has a huge following on Twitter and it was with some trepidation that I contacted him and asked if he would consider being a guest for the new show. He accepted immediately and little did I know that it would result in such a wonderful friendship and collaboration.

It was not long before the subject of a regular music spot came up and as William is a Jazz singer, musician and composer with a love of the iconic artists of the 20th century such as Nat King Cole and Mel Torme, that is where we began.

However, William actually began his career as a classical singer and composer and recently he has provided a fabulous insight into the work and dedication needed to succeed in this very demanding singing discipline.

The good news is that in March we will be beginning a new series on some of the leading contemporary singers and musicians of our generation (those of us who remember the 1960s onwards!)  And we will be starting with The Boss.. Bruce Springsteen.

I hope you are as excited as I am to celebrate three years of great music with this new series with William… and here is an interview to bring us up to date along with some performances that I am sure you will enjoy.


What style of art attracts you the most and why? Who is your favourite artist?

My favorite period for art is Impressionism. My favorite artist is Claude Monet. There is something very peaceful in Monet’s paintings and his relationship with nature. I discovered that when I lived in Manhattan and worked at the Metropolitan Museum. Like a magnet I was strongly attracted to his art.

This exhibit, “Monet at Giverny” was on display for a short period of time and I spent most of my “breaks” breathing in the atmosphere his paintings created. I adored his perception of nature, his landscapes,and the seasonal changes he created on those landscapes.They demonstrate his skill at outdoor painting, his obsession with color, and his appreciation of light. My favorite painting by Monet is “Water Lillies (Nymphéas).”

Who is the best actor or actress you have ever seen on television of film and tell us why.

My favorite actress is Meryl Streep. What I like the most about her is that she is meticulously attentive to the nuances of performance, imbuing every gesture with the values of craftsmanship and an enormous respect for quality. She masters the accents of an impressive amount of regions and countries, as seen in “The Deer Hunter” from western Pennsylvania, “Sophie’s Choice” from Poland, “Out of Africa” in Kenya, and Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” to name a few.

She has proven over and over that she can do anything, that she can play any role with consummate skill, resourcefulness and dignity. I appreciate her using her stature as an artist to speak out and engage in human rights activities, and being a strong advocate for the arts and humanities.

What is your definition of success?

Success is very unique and personal for each of us. Often times in our society success is determined by what others have decided that success is, such as personal worth which is measured by what we have to show for what we have done – money, diplomas achieved, or goals reached.

And most of the time the determining factor of success is the degree to which a person is validated and approved by others. I, like most people, fell prey to that concept. Now, with age, I believe that if you love what you are doing, then you are successful.

If you live life as a sincere human being, then you’re successful. If you try to ease suffering in others, then you are successful. If you are kind, then you are successful.

And most of all, if you can love, without conditions, then you’re successful.

What are the most significant changes in the way that Jazz is performed in the last thirty years?

Many different types of jazz have been recorded and performed over the last thirty years, from traditional styles to fusion, acoustic, and electric styles, with an interesting combination of influences resulting in unique and very artistic types of music.

The term “jazz” has expanded to take in a wide variety of music, from very commercial “smooth jazz” and “latin jazz,” to pop vocal stylings of artists like Norah Jones.

Many young musicians are performing and recording exploratory types of jazz, taking risks and creating new music on a high artistic level. Older jazz artists, on the other hand, still follow the established jazz tradition. It is not uncommon to find young musicians today who blend all styles of jazz together and create new styles, using the latest computer technology.

Jazz, like people, society, and the culture it reflects, is constantly evolving.

You studied classical music and have composed and performed Jazz and some contemporary music over the last thirty years. If you were beginning your career today would you choose a different style.. If so why and if not why?

Singing classical music, pop, and jazz has been a very rich experience for me. Classical music opened the doors to the great composers in both vocal and instrumental music and struck a chord deep inside me. I identified with Schumann, for example, on a very profound level. Of course, having studied music in school and at university, it prepared me for my future, not only as a singer but also as a vocal coach. Contemporary music (pop music) opened the door to jazz.

I found a kind of freedom in jazz that does not exist in classical music. In classical music what you see in the score is what you sing and nothing else, whereas in jazz one can modify and improvise on what is written in the score which opens the door to more creativity. As a composer as well as a singer, if I had to start all over again I would go the same route. I am a much better musician because of it.

After such a wonderful career in both performing and coaching young singers, is there still a dream that you would like to achieve in relation to music?

Yes there is. About 15 years ago someone gave me a cd of Harmonic Singing, or Overtone Singing as some call it. I was taken aback by what I heard and profoundly moved. Harmonic singing is believed to have its origins in south west Mongolia. It is a voice technique wherein one sings two or more notes at the same time. This happens when one sings one note where the overtones or harmonics are amplified by changing the shape of the resonant cavities of the mouth, larynx and pharynx. It is extraordinary. So, when I retire from singing jazz, I intend to participate in workshops which teach this type of singing. I did one years ago and it was fascinating and I look forward to starting again one day. It is very meditative.


William’s latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –


My thanks as always to William and I am so delighted that we will be enjoying his music contributions into a fourth year here on the blog.

If you are a singer, musician, artist, photographer, illustrator, short story teller, poet and  would like to take part in the Creative Artist Interviews then please take a look at the details in this post..

Smorgasbord Short Stories – The Flying Officer by Sally Cronin


The first time Patrick Walsh saw her, was as he wended his way slowly down the hill between the slow moving trucks on his motorbike. The road was lined with women and old men who were handing out hastily cut sandwiches and mugs of tea to the men in the trucks, whose outstretched hands gratefully received these simple acts of kindness. It was clear from the their faces that they found the peaceful summer skies overhead, and clamour of women’s voices, a much needed reminder of home and safety.

He knew where they had come from, as for the last six days he had been flying over them as they had scrambled into small boats to be ferried out to the larger naval vessels waiting to take them to safety. He and his squadron were a part of the massive air defence operaton. Thousands of soldiers were pouring off the beaches having gathered over the last few days from the surrounding countryside; exposed and being attacked by superior German forces. On the last run today his spitfire had received a direct hit to the cockpit from a persistent Messerschmitt Me 109; luckily missing his head by inches apart from a cut over his eye, earning him a few hours respite. His plane would be ready to fly first thing in the morning. The ground crews at all fighter squadrons were working around the clock to get pilots back in the air until the evacuation from the French coast was complete.

As he carefully maneuvered between the trucks he responded to the shouts from the men above him with a small wave. He knew that their good natured jibes were aimed at his uniform and the wings that it displayed, and that their friendly ribbing was their way of showing gratitude. He decided that it would be easier to wait until the convoy had passed to continue into the village square. He dismounted, standing by the hedge to watch the villagers as they persisted in their need to comfort these dispirited men with tea and offerings of food.

She stood out from the crowd of women. Tall with long red hair tied back with an emerald green ribbon, she was dressed in overalls and wore heavy boots. She had a natural elegance as she darted between an older woman, holding a tea tray piled with jam sandwiches, and the trucks. Despite the men’s exhaustion, eager hands grasped the food, winking and flirting with the prettiest thing they had seen for a long while.

Patrick leaned back against the saddle of his bike and let himself enjoy this brief moment of humanity that was so rare today. He had been flying since the first weeks of the war and his squadron had suffered huge losses; particularly in the last few weeks as they had provided air cover for the retreating British forces. They had been warned that far worse was to come as the enemy amassed both fighters and bombers for an all-out offensive on the country. Having already lost many friends, Patrick knew that it was only a matter of time before he became a statistic.

Some of his fellow pilots and aircrew decided that they would live as hard as they fought. There were plenty of pretty girls around the station that were delighted to dance the night away and bring some laughter and sometimes love into the young men’s lives. He had seen the results of these whirlwind romances at the Saturday night dance in the village hall. As the airmen arrived in an ever changing group of young men, expectant faces would be watching the door and it was not unusual to see a girl being led away in tears by her friends.

Patrick loved to dance but gently refused the invitations to take to the floor and over the last few months he had become regarded as something of a misery. His friends gave up on their attempts to persuade him that he should live for the moment, and with a wry smile he listened to the chat up lines that were guaranteed to pull the heartstrings of a pretty girl.

But now as he watched the red head flying back and forth and smiling up at the men in the trucks, he felt an overwhelming urge to hold her in his arms and waltz around a dance floor. He shook his head and reminded himself that it would only lead to heartbreak for her, and he couldn’t bear the thought of those beautiful green eyes filling with tears.

An hour later the last truck in the convoy disappeared through the village square and out of sight. There would be more coming through from the coast, and Patrick watched as the crowd of villagers gathered up their cups and trays and disappeared back into their homes. They would prepare more from their meagre rations for the next wave of returning soldiers and be waiting for them by the roadside. He remained by the hedge until the red headed girl had linked arms with her mother and entered her house before riding down to the square.

‘Patrick, are you awake my friend?’ The voice of his Polish friend Jakub intruded into his daydream about dancing with his stunning red head.

‘Just about, do you want to go to the Black Swan for a beer? He sat up and rested his head in his hands and tried to bring his mind back to reality.

He looked around the Nissen hut that was their home, taking in the four empty cots that waited for the new arrivals. They would be mostly teenagers with only a few hours flying solo, and none of them in combat. He was only twenty-four, but he felt like an old man compared to the fresh faced and eager boys that would come through that door tomorrow.

It was now August and the skies were filled with formations of enemy bombers most nights. His plane was grounded again having the undercarriage repaired after a problem on his last landing. His mechanic said he had the ‘luck of the Irish’. Patrick was well aware that he was now one of only a handful of pilots remaining from the original group a year ago; he knew that his luck was bound to run out sooner or later. There was just one thing that he needed tonight, and that was the sight of Red, and she would be helping out her dad behind the bar at the Black Swan.

Two hours later he and Jakub sat quietly at a corner table with their glasses of beer. One beer was the limit as both of them would be back in the skies tomorrow; a cockpit was no place for lack of concentration. Jakub was married and expecting his first child and was happy to sit quietly in the warm and welcoming atmosphere thinking about his next leave in a week’s time. Patrick however spent his time watching Red as she served customers and laughed with the regulars. That laugh was in his head and was added to all the other pieces of her that he carried with him as he flew missions. The thought of those green eyes helped dispel the voice of the other constant companion that was by his side each time he buckled himself into the cockpit. Her presence in his heart and mind had helped him control his fear; bringing the realisation that he was in love for the first time in his life.

Over the weeks since that first day on the hill, there had been moments in the pub, when he would catch her eye and they would both smile then look away. By sitting at the bar when he popped in alone, he had gathered more information about her. She wasn’t called Red of course, but Georgina and Georgie to her friends. She didn’t seem to have a boyfriend amongst the regulars who frequented the pub, and one day he overheard that she had been engaged to a soldier who had been killed within weeks of the war starting.

He would watch as she gently refused all attempts by eager young warriors to take her on a date, realising that her heart had already been broken. This reinforced his resolve not to give in to the growing need to tell Georgie of his feelings; convinced it would only bring her further sorrow.

Through the rest of the summer months missions intensified, with both daylight and night bombing raids on the docks and major cities; almost bringing the country to its knees. In the October the tide began to turn, but not without the loss of thousands of fighter pilots and bomber air crews. It was then that Patrick’s luck ran out as he limped home with a badly damaged plane and shrapnel injuries in his chest and arm.

Patrick fought to stay conscious as the plane shuddered and bucked as he flew using his one good hand. Blood from a head wound almost blinded him, but as he saw the runway rushing up to meet him, he managed to bring the nose around and head for the grass to the side. The last thing that he thought about as the world went black was Georgie’s face and laugh.

A month later Patrick got one of the pilots to drop him off at the Black Swan and he walked into the early evening quiet of the bar. He had just received his new orders on his return from the hospital. From Monday he would be moving into an intelligence role where his experience in combat could be put to use. He was making a good recovery, but the extensive injuries to his arm meant the end of his flying career; now he would be ensuring that he kept others safe in the skies. In one way he felt that he was abandoning those that he regarded as family in their close knit squadron, but he also knew that it offered him the opportunity to fulfil a dream that was equally important.

Georgie was polishing glasses and looked up to greet the new customer with her usual smile but instead she took a deep breath. As he moved closer Patrick could see that there were tears in her glorious green eyes. Georgie stepped out from behind the bar and walked towards him, glancing at his arm in its sling and the scar that was etched into his forehead. She stood in front of him and neither spoke for a moment until he reached out his good arm to take her hand.

‘Is there any chance that you might let me take you to the dance tomorrow night?’

She smiled through her tears. ‘How are you going to be able to dance with only one free arm?’

He pulled her into him and looked down at the lips that he had imagined kissing so many times in the last few months.

‘Don’t worry Red… I’ll manage just fine.’


©sallycronin 2017

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoyed the story. Thanks Sally

Creative Artist Interview March 1st – What would you like to ask William Price King

creative artists

The first guest in this new series is someone who has provided us all with wonderful music as well as the background to some of the greatest singers and musicians of the last century.. William Price King is an American Jazz singer, musician and composer and you can find out about his series to date and also a reminder of his own career and music in these links.

I have asked Willliam a number of questions and his post is ready to go.. But it is missing a very important ingredient.. and that would be you.

I would like these interviews and the Book Reading at the Cafe which is also starting in March to be interactive with readers of the post asking questions in the comments for the guest to respond to.

So please drop by from 1.a.m UK time on March 1st and enjoy the interview and join in by asking your question.

Classical Music with William Price King – Leontyne Price – The Finale

classical musicWelcome to the last part in our series on Leontyne Price. The American soprano paved the way for so many young singers, particularly those African American artists who wanted to take their rightful place in the world of opera.  William Price King takes us through Leontyne’s final official performances.. Although I am sure at age 90, this wonderful singer still enjoys singing in private.

indexLeontyne Price was now at the peak of her career in the early 1970s and as such was often invited to sing at state occasions.  She had been invited to sing at President Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration in 1965 and she attended his funeral in January 1973 where she sang Precious Lord, Take My Hand and Onward Christian Soldiers.  Leontyne also perforned at state functions during President Jimmy Carter’s term in office including on the visit of Pope John Paul II.

Having missed the 1972 season, Leontyne returned to the Met in 1973 to sing Madama Butterfly for the first time in ten years.

Leontyne Price’s “Un Bel Di” from Madama Butterfly is ravishingly beautiful and demonstrates why she was one of the greatest lirico spinto sopranos ever. Here, she gives a commanding and fearless performance which would delight any Puccini enthusiast, with her rich low tones, her vibrant middle and her radiant top.

In 1976, the Met mounted a long-delayed new production of Aida, with James McCracken as Radames and Marilyn Horne as Amneris, directed by John Dexter. In 1977 Leontyne renewed her partnership with Herbert von Karajan in a Brahms Requiem with the Berlin Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall.  Following this she and Karajan returned to perform what would be her final opera performances in Europe, in Il Travatore at the Salzburg Easter Festival and Vienna’s Staatsoper.

1977 also saw Leontyne sing her last new role as the Strauss heroine Ariadne in San Francisco to rave reviews.

Leontyne Price sings “Ein Schönes War” from Ariadne auf Naxos

I believe that most opera buffs would agree that Ariadne was a great role for Ms. Price. Her voice easily encompassed the wide range that this role offers. Her German is practically faultless, and there is such a wealth of gorgeous tone, sensitive artistry and impeccable musicianship.In this aria,Ariadne recalls her love for Theseus,andimagines herself as a chaste girl, awaiting death.

In 1979 she did bring the role of Ariadne to the Met, but she was suffering from a viral infection and only performed two of the scheduled perfomances.

However, there were still some exceptional performances to come and in fall of 1981 Leontyne stepped in for soprano Margaret Price as Aida in San Francisco. In 1983 she hosted two televised performances of ‘In Performance from the White House‘.

After revisiting some of her most famous roles in San Francisco and at the Met, Price gave her operatic farewell on January 3, 1985, in a televised performance of Aida from the Met which was hailed as one of the most successful operatic performances in the Met’s history. . Time Magazine described it as a “vocally stunning performance… that proved she can still capture her peak form.” Donal Henahan wrote that the “57-year-old soprano took an act or two to warm to her work, but what she delivered in the Nile Scene turned out to be well worth the wait.

In 2007, PBS viewers voted her singing of the aria, “O patria mia”, as the No. 1 “Great Moment” in 30 years of “Live from the Met” telecasts. The performance ended with 25 minutes of applause.

Leontyne Price sang 201 performances with the Met, in 16 roles, in the house and on tour, including galas. (She was absent for three seasons—1970–71, 1977–78, and 1980–81—and sang only in galas in 1972-73, 1979–80, and 1982–83.)

Over the next twelve years, Leontyne Price continued to perform concerts and recitals with her longtime accompanist David Garvey. The programme usually combined Handel arias, French melodies, German Lieder and one or two arias

Leontyne often included American Art Songs and Spirituals in her concerts. “This little light of mine” was her mother’s favorite spiritual and one audiences loved to hear. Ms. Price used her *timbre as a form of embellishment as she moved deftly between a polished art song sound and a more robust gospel style sound to deliver spirituals. It worked beautifully.

*timbre – the character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity.

Before retiring, Price gave several master classes at Juilliard and other schools. In 1997, at the suggestion of RCA-BMG, she wrote a children’s book version of Aida, which became the basis for the hit Broadway musical by Elton J and Tim Rice in 2000.

In October 2001, at the age of 74, Price was asked to come out of retirement to sing in a memorial concert at Carnegie Hall for the victims of the September 11 attacks. With James Levine at the piano, she sang her favorite spiritual, “This Little Light of Mine”, followed by an unaccompanied “God Bless America,” ending it with a bright, easy high B.

Leontyne Price now lives in Greenwich Village in New York City and it seems a fitting way to end this look at her wonderful and inspiring career with a song that demonstrates her versatility.

Ms. Price often sang songs from the Great American Songbook. Here is her concert version of “What I did for love” from the Broadway show “A Chorus Line”. She lends her deliciously silken tone to this famous tune. Breath taking!


Additional Sources:

Buy the music of Leontyne Price:

William and his music

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

Thank you so much for stopping by and your feedback is always very welcome. Sally

N.B.  Next week marks the first in the Creative Artist’s interviews and William Price King is the first guest.. For those of you who have enjoyed William’s music post since 2014 it will be an opportunity to ask your own questions in the comment section of the post.  I know that William is looking forward to hearing from you.. Next Wednesday March 1st.  Please join us for the first of the interactive interviews.

If you are a poet, photographer, musician, artist, storyteller then here are the details of the new series.. I already have some wonderful guests lined up but would be delighted to hear from you.

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Rum Cocktails, Blog Sitters and all that Jazz


I have had a lovely week with a birthday and Valentine’s Day and I am now about to pack my bags to head off for a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate all our birthdays which all fall in February. I will report on the activities they have planned on my return… at least those I can talk about!

I got very excited when I read the headlines in the Daily Mail online yesterday that promised hotter temperatures than Spain with a high of 16 degrees and sunshine.. As I was planning what to pack, I thought I better check a more reliable source than the DM!  Sure enough, apart from a couple of days with a glimpse of yellow behind the clouds there is a 45 – 55% of rain all week and a high of 10 or 11.

I have put away my swimsuit, shorts and flip flops again in the attic with the other summer clothes that I fear may never see the light of day again.

However, all is not lost as David bought me a therapy lamp with safe tanning for my birthday. I have been using as advised and retire upstairs to the spare bedroom and don goggles, my iPod and pretend for 15 minutes that I am on a tropical island on a sandy beach. It was not quite there…. but David solved that by buying a bottle of rum, and a dram of that in my coconut water and Bob’s your uncle.. (please drink responsibly with only one cocktail per tanning session and only at sundown)


I was going to put up a few regular posts during my absence just to keep things ticking over. I then thought that it seemed a shame not to use this as an opportunity to promote a few of my blogging friends and so posted a part-time blog sitter vacancy.

I know how busy everyone is with their own blog and projects so was very grateful to receive a wonderful response to the advert.  I have put together a programme of events for the week that I am away beginning Tuesday with posts from this group of talent writers.

Paul Andruss, Tina Frisco, Colin Chappell, Debby Gies, William Price King, Geoff Le Pard, Noelle Granger, Susan M. Toy, Mary Smith, Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Linda Bethea.

The full programme details can be found here:

Time for some of the posts you might have missed during the week.

William Price King – Leontyne Price

classical music

As always my thanks to William Price King for his weekly music post and this week we follow the career and performances of Leontyne Price during the 1960s. Look out for William’s Creative Artist Interview on Wednesday March 1st.  It is an interactive interview and I hope that you will drop in and ask William questions about his life and career in the comments.

Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

Although Paul has contributed articles for the blog over the last couple of months I was delighted when he accepted my invitation to be a regular contributor going forward.. This is his official first post as Writer in Residence.

Personal Stuff

A short story for Valentine’s Day.. about love.. of course..

Weekly Image and Haiku


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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glimpsesCover Art by Jon Hunsinger51abcfiqqgl-_uy250_

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves







Smorgasbord Blogger Daily showcasing 25 bloggers and their posts.


Smorgasbord Health 2017Seasonal Affective Disorder

Food to pep you up a bit.. and not just for Valentines Day.

New series – Top to Toe – The Human Body – The Brain

A -Z of Common Conditions… nothing more common than the cold!



That’s me done for the week.. It is a bit early for a rum and coconut juice but I might take a cup of coffee up with me to the tropical paradise and listen to some calypsos!

N.B. If you would like to promote your books and blog here on Smorgasbord the details are here. If you contact me and I don’t respond immediately don’t worry I will get back to you on my return after 28th of Feb.

Thanks for dropping by and see some of you tomorrow for a few of the regular promotions before I head off.

Classical Music with William Price King – Leontyne Price Part Three – 1960s

classical musicWelcome to the third part of Leontyne Price’s career and performances. And to set the scene a few words from her admirers.

In The Grand Tradition, a 1974 history of operatic recording, the British critic J.B. Steane wrote that “one might conclude from recordings that [Price] is the best interpreter of Verdi of the century.” For the Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, a 1963 Price performance of Tosca at the Vienna State Opera “left me with the strongest impression I have ever gotten from opera.” In his 1983 autobiography, Placido Domingo writes, “The power and sensuousness of Leontyne’s voice were phenomenal—the most beautiful Verdi soprano I have ever heard.”


William Price King now picks up Leontyne Price’s story in the 1960s.

In September 1961, Leontyne Price opened the Met season as Minnie in La fanciulla del West. A musicians’ strike had threatened to abort the season, but President Kennedy sent Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg to mediate a settlement.

Following her second Faniciulla performance it became apparent that Leontyne had a problem with her voice. After losing it completely , she was forced to shout her lines until the end of the act, when standby soprano, Dorothy Kristen replaced her in the third act.

After several weeks recovering from a reported viral infection, Leontyne returned for another Fanciulla performance and Butterfly in December. Having carried out her commitments she then left for a three months to Rome. She would later comment that she was suffering from nervous exhaustion.

However, in the April, Leontyne returned to the Met to perform in her first fully staged Tosca and following that up with the Met tour which included Tosca, Butterfly and Fanciulla. It was also a landmark tour that saw Leontyne Price as the first African American to perform in a lead role in the South, specifically in Dallas.

La fanciulla del West (The Girl of the West) is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Guelfo Civinini and Carlo Zangarini. It was based on the the play The Girl of the Golden West by American David Belasco and followed Butterfly which was also based on one of his plays. Whilst not as well known as other Puccini operas, it still has wonderful orchestration and is regarded as more melodic than some of his previous work.

At the end of Act I, Price, as Minnie, recalls her happy childhood and sings about her ideal love in the aria “Laggiù nel Soledad.” This is the only role Leontyne Price sang which was not exactly for her. Nonetheless, her voice is captivating and she soars up to those high C’s with no problem and makes them ring.

Although other African American opera stars had performed in leading roles at the Met, Leontyne Price was the first to achieve recognition on both sides of the Atlantic, the first to be repeatedly invited to perform with the Met in various leading roles, and the first to earn the highest fee, which put her on a par with the leading sopranos at the time such as Joan Sutherland and Maria Callas. Not an easy road to success in a time of segregation and continued racism against African Americans in opera. Especially when opportunities in general were limited in the world of opera.

Following the successful tour, Leontyne added more roles to her repertoire at the Met. These included Elvira in Verdi’s Ernani, Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Fiordilgi in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Oenegin, Cleopatra in Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, and Leonora in La forza del destino.

Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is an Italian opera buffa. Buffa was first used as an informal description of Italian comic operas, also know as commedia in musica or dramma bernesco, and were particularly associated with productions in Naples in the first half of the 18th century. A buffa in the beginning tended to contain everyday settings, local dialects and simpler librettos. If you like to our modern day soap-opera. Cosi fan tutti was first performed in Vienna in January 1790. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte who also wrote Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Here is Leontyne who loved singing Mozart, and her Fiordiligi is considered one of the best. “Come scoglio” (Like a rock) demands a singer who can handle the extreme parts of the soprano range with great ease and Price was perfect in the role.

By 1966 Leontyne Price was at the peak of her career when she sang Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra by American composer Samuel Barber and conducted by Thomas Schippers in the newly opened Met’s house at Lincoln Center. Leontyne and Samuel Barber had worked together several times from her early career and remained close friends. This collaboration allowed Samuel Barber, who knew her voice well, to tailor the music for Cleopatra’s role perfectly to suit both her register and range.

Following this role, Leontyne decided to cut back on her operatic performances and to focus on recitals and concerts. The schedule of new productions at the Met and also the need to adjust her vocal technique as she moved into her forties was tiring. However her career continued to flourish as she toured major cities and large universities.

As she moved into the 1970s, Leontyne returned to Europe to perform in Hamburg and London’s Covent Garden with further recitals in Vienna, Paris and the Salzburg Festival. She was so popular at the festival that she continued to return six times between 1975 and 1984.

Leontyne was invited back to the Met, but only undertook three new roles after 1970 which included Ariadne in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne aux Naxos in San Franciso and New York.

In 1971 she performed in Il tabarro (The Cloak), which is one act opera by Giacomo Puccini with an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Adami. It was based on Didier Gold’s play La houppelande.. It is the first of a trio of operas known a Il Trittico first performed at the Met in New York in 1918.

Here is Leontyne Price singing “E ben altro il mio sogno” Il Tabarro Live 1971. In the role of Giorgetta from Puccini’s “Il Tabarro”  Leontyne Price is at home. This role is perfectly fit for her voice and she does a magnificent job in this impassioned duet with Luigi, dreaming of a better life in Paris, in the aria “E ben altro il mio sogno.”The characterization is rapturous.

Additional Sources:

Buy the music of Leontyne Price:

William and his musicAbout William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

Thank you so much for stopping by and your feedback is always very welcome. Sally

Smorgasbord Round up – Eagles, Irish Fairies, Opera and thrills and spills.


Welcome to this week’s round-up of posts you might have missed. It has been a fairly busy week as I prepare for the new series of interviews beginning in March and I am thrilled with the response. Twenty five talented authors, poets, musicians and other creative people have come forward to take part in either Book Reading at the Bookstore or The Creative Artist Interview.

Whilst there are some set questions there are also three personalised questions that I am including in each interview so as you can imagine I am taking my time with that. I hope to have them all out by Monday… It looks like I may go to two posts a week to make sure that nobody is hanging around for weeks waiting for their interview to go live. That being the case if you have not already volunteered.. here is the link which includes the format for the interviews.

Here are all the new promotional opportunities, with something for everyone, all on one page.

On the subject of promotions.

On the 21st I am off on a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate our three birthdays that are all in February. I will be taking a break from writing posts for the blog but the blog will be handed over to some fabulous and talented members of the blogging community who will be filling in for me in my absence.

I have no worries about leaving the blog for the week to fend for itself but I thought it was another promotional opportunity for you all. As well as the guest post.. I will make sure to top and tail with an intro, feature books, blog, art etc as well as links. Definitely good for the blog and perhaps a little boost for you. Especially as I will not be doing the usual book promotions that week.

If you would like to apply for the job of part-time blog sitter please come back to me by Thursday so that I can get it scheduled in time.

As always I am hugely grateful for your wonderful support, comments, shares and motivation. ♥♥

Enough of the mushy stuff.. and on with the posts from the week…..

Classical music with William Price King

William and his music

So pleased that so many of you are enjoying the last in the classical music series and the story of American soprano Leontyne Price. This week a look at her performances in the 1950s and the bigotry that she endured in her early career.

Weekly Image and Haiku

I am so lucky to have some wonderful co-hosts on occasion for the blog and one post this week seemed to touch the hearts of many of you. Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photographs has been a blogging friend for the last three years and he sent me some recent photographs of the eagles Romeo and Juliette.. he very kindly agreed to let me use one of the images for this week’s Haiku.. You can see the full sized version in the post.


Short Story – After the Festival 

Another collaboration with illustrator Donata Zawdska with After the Festival. I was very privileged to be able to use the artwork for my short story..a new one from my upcoming Tales from the Irish Garden later in the year.. I hope you enjoy.


The new interview series if you missed them last week.

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves






Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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51qgvzagl1l 51-yoxohzql-_uy250_ 51jo3ypdlbl-_uy250_

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Another 25 bloggers promoted this week.

If you would like to be included in the Blogger Daily then just leave a link to your most recent post in the comments section of the round up today..

Smorgasbord Health – series Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Smorgasbord health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Lung Cancer.

smorgasbord health

Humour and Afternoon Video


That is it for another week on Smorgasbord.. Couldn’t do it without you.. Please remember that it saves me time if you volunteer your news about new book releases, fantastic reviews or share your blog post link.. Help me share your work.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Thanks Sally

Classical Music with William Price King – Leontyne Price – Part Two – Star on the Rise.

classical music

Welcome to part two of the life and music of American Soprano Leontyne Price. Last week we looked at her early life and the artists who inspired her. This week we cover the rest of the 1950s and the rising star of this talented singer. It was not alway easy as there was still a great deal of bigotry against African American opera singers but as you will see Leontyne Price did not allow this to stand in her way.  William Price King now picks up the story.


In 1955  the world of opera had opened its doors to Leontyne Price who was still only 28 years old. In the February she was invited to sing Puccini’s Tosca for the NBC Opera Theatre under music director Peter Herman Adler, and was the first African American to appear in a leading role in a televised opera. This did not avoid controversy as a number of the NBC affiliates, both in the southern and northern states, cancelled the broadcast in protest. However, despite what must have been a very difficult time for Leontyne, she returned for thee more NBC Opera broadcasts in 1956, 1957 and 1960.

This was not to be the only incident of bigotry in her career, and in fact when she was touring with Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg in 1960, a stone was thrown through her window. In 1964 her perfomance of Donna Anna in Atlanta was marred by protests from certain factions.

Her collaboration with the Austrian conductor Herbert von Karajan began in 1955 when he was on tour with the Berlin Philharmonic. He reportedly leapt on stage to accompany her himself during her audition as she performed Pace, pace, mio Dio from Verdi’s Forza del Destino.

This is a slightly later recording in 1963.

In the last act of “La Forza del Destino” Price sings “Pace, Pace, mio Dio,” a powerfully dramatic moment where she prays for peace on her tortured soul and expresses her love for God and for Alvaro. Verdi arias were made for Price’s voice. Her “Pace, Pace mio Dio” is like no one else’s, a real treasure. Her rich, warm, pure voice is stunning and she spins her golden sound beautifully and freely.

The next three years were to be very busy for this rising star in the classical music world.  Leontyne performed in recitals with her accompanist David Garvey, and she also appeared with a number of orchestras across the United States. Her star was also on the rise internationally and she toured India in 1956, Australia in 1957 under the U.S. State Department banner. In May 1957 Leontyne made her first public appearance in the concert version of Aida, at the May Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

That September she performed for the first time on the grand opera stage in San Francisco singing Madame Lidoine in the U.S premiere of the Dialogues of the Carmelites.

Dialogues des Carmélites is a French Opera in three acts divided into twelve scenes, with linking orchestral interludes with music and libretto by Francis Poulenc and was completed in 1956. The libretto was written after a book of the same name by French author Georges Bernanos who had died in 1948.The story is based on the 1794 history of the Martyrs of Compiègne who were guillotined during the French Revolution.

The world premiere of the opera was in January 1957 in La Scala in Milan in Italian, in its original French in the June and then in English in San Franciso in the September.

A few weeks after her debut in this new opera, Leontyne sang her first on-stage Aida, stepping in for Italian soprano Antoinetta Stella who fell ill. And in May of 1958 she made her European debut, as Aida, at the Vienna Staatsoper at the invitation of Herbert von Karajan.

Leontyne Price sings “O Patria Mia” from Aida (Verdi)

In Act III, on the eve of Amneris’ wedding to Radames, Aida, overcome with nostalgia on the banks of the Nile, mourns her homeland which she will never see again in the aria “O Patria Mia.” Price’s “Aida” is phenomenal, and pure perfection. It is considered a testament to her career. Her clear diction, lustrous tone, and flawless legato stand out in this aria.

After this wonderful European debut invitations flooded in and Leontyne performed at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Arena di Verona in Italy as Aida. The following year she returned to Vienna in the role as well as Pamina in The Magic Flute. Leontyne made her debut at the prestigious Salzburg Festival in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Karajan.

Leontyne Price and Herbert von Karajan’s dynamic collaboration was to be instrumental in her early successes in both the opera house, concert hall and recording studio where they produced complete recordings of Tosca and Carmen as well as a bestselling holidy music album, A Christmas Offering.

On May 21, 1960, Price made her first appearance at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, again as Aida, becoming the first African American to sing a leading role in Italy’s greatest opera house. (In 1958, Mattiwilda Dobbs, from Atlanta, had sung Elvira, the secondary lead soprano role in Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri.)

In 1959, after hearing her in Il Trovatore that August at Verona with tenor Franco Corelli, Met General Manager Rudolf Bing invited her to join the Met company in the 1960–61 season. On January 27, 1961, she made a triumphant debut in Il Trovatore.

Tacea La Notte Placida” from Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.

In Act I of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore,” Leonora tells her servant, Ines, that she heard someone serenading her in the garden, a knight in black armor who she had once crowned as the champion of a tournament. She confesses her love for him in this *cavatina “Tacea La Notte Placida,” which she sings with an entrancing blend of lyricism and expressivity. Her control is amazing and her diction is excellent.

*cavatina – In opera the cavatina is an aria, generally of brilliant character, sung in one or two sections without repeats.

The final ovation lasted at least 35 minutes, one of the longest in Met history. Price’s debut at the New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House was such a success, it marked the beginning of her residency as one of the opera’s principal sopranos. She flourished as a prima donna at the Met, starring in such roles such as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly, Minnie in La Fanciulla del West and, perhaps most notably, as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra.

In recognition of this extraordinary run, Time magazine put her on its cover on March . That fall, American music critics named her “Musician of the Year” and she was put on the cover of “Musical America.”

In his review, The New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg wrote that Price’s “voice, warm and luscious, has enough volume to fill the house with ease, and she has a good technique to back up the voice itself. She even took the trills as written, and nothing in the part as Verdi wrote it gave her the least bit of trouble. She moves well and is a competent actress. But no soprano makes a career of acting. Voice is what counts, and voice is what Miss Price has.

The career of Leontyne Price was well and truly launched.

Additional sources:

Buy the music of Leontyne Price:

William and his music

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

Thank you so much for stopping by and your feedback is always very welcome. Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – New promotions, Leontyne Price, Myths and awesome talent.


Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. In particular I would like to draw your attention to these two new promotional series.

Although my Cafe and Bookstore is as yet, virtual.. it is still a platform for promotion. Apart from the twice weekly updates for new releases and outstanding reviews…You can now do a virtual book reading. To mix things up a little; I will not only send you a choice of questions to answer including some personalised ones about your work, but we will open the comments section up to questions from the audience.. i.e. those who pop in to read the post.  This does mean that the author in question will have to pop in on the day and perhaps the next once of twice to respond to the questions.  I hope that this little twist will bring a new element to boost the post’s promotional reach.  Here is the post with all the details.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

The second new series is for those who might not have published a book and are therefore not on the shelves of the bookstore. Bloggers, book reviewers, short story writers, artists, musicians, photographers and any other creative talent. The same format as the author book reading.. with personalised questions and the interaction with the audience. This is an opportunity to showcase your work and to meet new followers and possibly customers through the Q & A in the commments.  Here are more details.

creative artists

Look forward to hearing from you once you have read the posts.. I already have twelve authors lined up for the Book Reading posts and two for the Creative Artists…don’t delay.

As I am an author on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore I get to promote my latest book in the update tomorrow….I hope you will pop in and also take a look at the other two authors who will be sharing the post with me.

William and his music

In the meantime I would like to thank my two amazing contributors to the blog. William Price King and Paul Andruss who are amazing.  We are just coming to the end of the Classical Series in the next few weeks and this is going to be followed by a look at some of the iconic contemporary music artists. William is going to be starting this new series with an idol of mine and I am sure of many of you too.. The Boss.. Bruce Springsteen.

Finn Mac Cool

Paul Andruss has certainly made an impression on followers to the blog with his posts across different worlds… From Ancient Greece and the myths and legends of Ancient Ireland to the worlds behind the modern artists who have left their mark in history such as David Bowie and Mark Bolan.. You will find a wonderful and eclectic look at these worlds on Paul’s website.

Also thanks to all of you who have dropped in this week…liked, commented and shared. It is so appreciated.

On with the show.

Classical Music with William Price King


Part one of the American soprano Leontyne Price who not only enjoyed a stunning professional career but paved the way for other African American opera singers to perform in their rightful place on the world stage.

Guest Writer Paul Andruss


A stunning piece on the myth of The Birch Maiden with the most beautiful illustrations by Donata Zawadzka.. I hope you will visit both their websites to enjoy more.

Book Promotions

new-on-the-shelves-updateFour new authors will be on the shelves from today and I hope you will enjoy their introduction to the Cafe.. If you are not currently on the shelves with your books then please take a look at the details.

Click Cover for Amazon




author-update-jpgCafe and Bookstore Update

This week’s look at new releases and recent reviews from the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.



Personal Stuff

A tongue in cheek look at our financial value.. and how we might perhaps encourage the universe to catch up to our expectations!


Weekly Image and Haiku


Special mention for Terri Webster Schrandt who has opened up her photography files for our use.. this was my reblog and the image for this week’s Haiku was courtesy of her generosity.

Blogger Daily – 25 more bloggers showcased in the week day look at some of the outstanding posts of the day.


A final look at how we change as we grow and age and some of the voluntary and involunatry emotions we experience.


When was the last time you had a really good laugh?

The second in the series of cancers that are most common… Prostate which is followed by lung and then bowel cancers.

smorgasbord health



Thank you again for making this a regular stop on your blog tours.. Look forward to seeing you again..Thanks Sally

Classical Music with William Price King – Leontyne Price – The Early Years.

classical music

Welcome to the last in the Classical Music with William Price King series. And to finish the series on some of the great contemporary opera singers of our time, we will be covering the life and work of American Soprano Leontyne Price. This outstanding soprano rose to international acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s, and was one of the first African Americans to become a leading artist at the Metropolitan Opera.

Leontyne Price said this of her debut at the Met: It was the first operatic mountain I climbed, and the view from it was astounding, exhilarating, stupefying.

In an interview Leontyne Price once recalled that Maria Callas had told her, during a meeting with the older diva in Paris, “I hear a lot of love in your voice.” The sopranos Renee Fleming, Kiri Te Kanawa, Jessye Norman, Leona Mitchell, the mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, bass-baritone Jose Van Dam, and the counter tenor David Daniels, have talked about Leontyne Price as an early inspiration.

Among her many honors are the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1964), the Spingarn Medal (1965), the Kennedy Center Honors (1980), the National Medal of Arts (1985), numerous honorary degrees, and 19 Grammy Awards, 13 for operatic or song recitals, five for full operas, and a special Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, more than any other classical singer. In October 2008, she was one of the recipients of the first Opera Honors given by the National Endowment for the Arts.

William Price King now picks up the story in the 1920s and Leontyne Price’s early years and influences.


After a long wait of 13 years, James who worked in a lumber mill and Katie Price, a midwife and member of the church choir, welcomed their daughter, Mary Violet Leontyne Price into the world in February 1927 in Laurel Mississippi.  She was to become the focus of their loving attention and was introduced to music at the age of three when given a toy piano leading to lessons with a local teacher. James and Katie sacrificed much to ensure that Mary’s musical talent was developed, and even sold the family phonograph to fund the purchase of an upright piano despite their daughter still being in kindergarten.

Katie Price’s influence as a member of the church choir was instrumental in encouraging her daughter’s singing.

At 14, Leontyne was taken on a school trip to hear contralto Marian Anderson sing in Jackson; an experience she later said was inspirational. Marian Anderson who was born in 1897, was one of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century. Most of her career was spent performing in concerts and recitals in major venues and with prominent conductors and orchestras throughout the US and Europe between 1925 and 1965.

Here is an example of the inspirational voice of Marian Anderson, that Leontyne Price would have heard in the early 1940s, singing a spiritual Deep River.. Marian lived to the wonderful age of 96 and inspired many young singers in the 20th century.

In her teen years, Leontyne accompanied the “second choir” at St. Paul’s Methodist Church, sang and played for the chorus at the black high school, and earned extra money by singing for funerals and civic functions.

During the war years, Leontyne worked part-time alongside her aunt in the home of a wealthy white couple, Alexander and Elizabeth Chisholm. Mrs Chisholm actively encouraged Leontyne to play the piano and also discovered Leontyne’s incredible singing voice. This led to her accompanying her at several recitals and church concerts in the state during Leontyne’s college years.

Aiming for a teaching career, Leontyne enrolled in the music education program at the all-black Wilberforce College in Wilberforce, Ohio. Her success in the glee club led to solo assignments, and she was encouraged to complete her studies in voice. She sang in the choir with another soon-to-be-famous singer, Betty Allen. With the help of the Chisholms and the famous bass Paul Robeson, who put on a benefit concert for her, she enrolled at the Juillard School in New York City. She won a scholarship and was admitted to the studio of Florence Page Kimball, who would remain her principal teacher and advisor throughout the 1960s.

In the summer of 1951, she studied in the opera program at the Berkshire Music Center and sang the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss with a German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It combines slapstick comedy with beautiful music and the theme was aimed at appealing to a less high brow audience than traditional opera.

This is the first leading role that Leontyne Price performed during her long and illustrious career and in this slightly later recording shows the beauty of her voice.

In this aria full of despair, Ariadne, after having been left by her love Theseus, describes the land of death to which she will go to escape her pain. She welcomes death, thinking that in death she will find everything that she has been denied in life. Price is in great shape in this aria and handles the difficult high *tessitura passages very well.

The dark color of her voice is intriguing, yielding a fascinating portrait – soulful, heartfelt, melancholic – of Ariadne. A memorable moment. and a remarkable triumph.

* tessitura – The range of a vocal or instrumental part in a musical composition.

This was followed in 1952 with the role of Mistress Ford in the Juilliard student production of Verdi’s Falstaff and to her casting in the all-black opera, Four Saints in Three Acts by American composer and critic Virgil Thomson. When the opera went to Paris after its initial two week run on Broadway, Leontyne Price joined the cast of the Robert Breen/Blevins Davs revival of George Gershwin’s Porky and Bess in the title role on tour. With its major city tour including Chicago and Washington over it in the U.S, the production, sponsored by the State Department began a tour of Europe.

Summertime is an aria that Gershwin composed in 1934 for the opera “Porgy and Bess,” a brilliant mixture of jazz and song styles of blacks from the South during the early twentieth century in the U.S.

Leontyne Price was 25 years old when she recorded this. ‘Bess’ was her break-through role. Summertime is a lullaby sung by Clara to her baby in Act I, indicating that everything is going to be all right. The song is reprised in Act III, by “Bess” and Price sings it passionately with a knockout downward *glissando which climaxes this performance. Her voice is exquisite. A real treat!

*glissando – a continuous slide upwards or downwards between two or more notes.

Primarily Leontyne Price focused on a recital career, particularly because of the earlier influences of Marian Anderson and other successful black concert singers including Roland Hayes and bass baritone William Warfield.

However, the role of ‘Bess’ was to demonstrate that Leontyne Price had both the voice and performance skills to sing on the operatic stage.  This led to the Metropolitan Opera inviting her to sing Summertime at the Met Jamoboree fund-raiser in 1953 at the Ritz Theater on Broadway.. this made Leontyne the first African American to sing with the Met, although not on the actual stage of the Met. That distinction when to Leontyne’s childhood inspiration Marian Anderson who sang Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo un Maschera in January 1955.

Whilst touring with Porky and Bess, Leontyne found time to also sing the premiere of Hermit Songs.

Hermit Songs is a cycle of ten songs for voice and piano by Samuel Barber. Written in 1953 on a grant from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation, it takes as its basis a collection of anonymous poems written by Irish monks and scholars from the 8th to the 13th centuries, in translations by W. H. Auden, Chester Kallman, Howard Mumford Jones, Kenneth H. Jackson and Seán Ó Faoláin. They are small poems, thoughts or observations, and speak in straightforward, droll, and modern terms of the simple life these men led, close to nature, to animals and to God.

The Hermit Songs received their premiere in 1953 at the Library of Congress. Samuel Barber accompanies Price on piano. The most famous of these songs is The Monk and his Cat which Price performs with sensitivity, restraint, control, and charm.

Additional sources:

Buy the music of Leontyne Price:

About William Price King


William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

Thank you so much for stopping by and your feedback is always very welcome. Sally