Simon Estes Movies and Career Information

Simon Estes profile image
Aquarius
Feb 02, 1938

Actor

Simon Estes (born March 2, 1938) is an operatic bass-baritone of African-American descent who had a major international opera career since the 1960s. He has sung at most of the world's major opera houses as well as in front of presidents, popes and internationally renowned figures and celebrities including Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Boris Yeltsin, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. He was notably part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success and is viewed as part of an instrumental group of performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world. Estes was born in Centerville, Iowa, the son of Ruth Jeter Estes and Simon Estes. His father was a coal-miner and his grandfather was a former slave who had been sold at auction for $500. Named for his father, Estes was called 'Billy' within his family circle to avoid confusion when addressing the two. One of five children, Estes has three sisters and a younger brother. His family was heavily involved in their local Baptist church, and his earliest musical experiences were had there. He remained active with church musical activities and participated in school music

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