Rising from the Mississippi Delta to the stages of the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala, Price had a groundbreaking operatic career.
Weatherford introduces a less familiar name to children, laying out the major events in her life with poetic brevity. Encouraged by her musically gifted parents, the young Price played the piano and listened to Saturday-afternoon opera broadcasts. She heard Marian Anderson’s legendary 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial, but even so, she did not believe that she could become a performer because of her color. The turning point came when a college teacher encouraged her to study music, and gradually a career took shape. Porgy and Bess on Broadway was among her first national performances, and Aida on the opera stage was her triumph. Awards and accolades followed. The poetic text highlights Price’s firsts as an African-American opera singer. Colón employs his signature watercolor, crayon and pencil paintings with scratchboard texturing and a palette of warm teals, greens and oranges that swirl across the pages to capture the grandeur of her performances. One beautiful double-page spread features Price in the costumes of three major roles: the regal Cleopatra from Antony and Cleopatra, the tragic Cio-Cio from Madame Butterfly and Minnie, the feisty saloon keeper from The Girl of the Golden West.
Weatherford and Colón’s beautiful book does children a service by giving them one more African-American performer to applaud. (author’s note) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)