Leontyne Price in Aida

And the Soul Felt its Worth

Seems each year that passes, Christmas is getting less exciting. Christmas 2021 is competing not only with the devastation caused by COVID-19 response, but also with the drumbeat of identity politics. Maybe it is time to dial back. Maybe it is time to regain some “Christmas Spirit.”

Here is one way to do both: Sit back and listen to Leontyne Price sing Oh Holy Night. Better yet, also listen to a Price interview, where she is fun, loving, and oh, so self-assured.

Picture above shows Leontyne Price performing one of her most famous operatic parts, Aida. Picture below shows Price in an interview with Anthony Tommasini, chief classical critic at the New York times.

Oh Holly Night and Leontyne Price seem to fit together well. The song talks about Jesus moving people away from desperation to a feeling of self-worth and new beginnings:

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…

Leontyne Price has absolutely no doubt about her worth as a human being or an accomplished singer. She said:

Accomplishments have no color.

To sing is the most human of the art form delivery, more than, perhaps, an instrument which has to be tuned mechanically. You are the tuner; you are the vessel. Everything depends on how you feel as a person. It is for you to hear how beautiful your instrument is.

In Leontyne Price’s interview with Anthony Tommasini, she talks about her voice range. Her point is you need to know what you want to achieve, visualize the result, and be in complete charge of what you need to do to accomplish what you want. In other words, feel your worth.

Like liberty, self worth is God given. You either find it in yourself or, to your detriment, you wait for others to decide to give it to you or not.

Merry Christmas