Share
IOWA Magazine | 07-18-2022

Iowa Alumnus Simon Estes Takes a Bow on Opera Career

The esteemed bass-baritone delights his home state in his final fully staged opera.
Simon Estes PHOTO: PAIGE PETERSON Opera singer Simon Estes

Opera sensation Simon Estes (86BM) returned to his native Iowa this month to close the curtain on a nearly 60-year career that included performing before popes and presidents at major opera houses around the world.

Estes, who premiered the role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in February 1985, is revisiting the production for the Des Moines Metro Opera, where he plays Lawyer Frazier and serves as producing adviser. “It’s fitting that my final performance on the operatic stage [would] be in my home state and in Des Moines, Iowa,” he said.

Estes, who initially cultivated his talent as the first Black member of the University of Iowa’s Old Gold Singers, also has used his voice to raise awareness for a United Nations campaign to combat malaria in Africa. While the Des Moines production, which runs through July 24, marks Estes’ final fully staged opera, the bass-baritone will continue to perform concerts, teach as a professor at Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College, and collaborate on a documentary about his life.

Michael Egel, the general and artistic director of the Des Moines Metro Opera, says, “Simon is an opera legend and a treasure to our state.”

Join our email list
Get the latest news and information for alumni, fans, and friends of the University of Iowa.
Join our email list
Get the latest news and information for alumni, fans, and friends of the University of Iowa.
Related Articles

We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Statement unless you have disabled them in your browser.