Simon Estes

Simon Estes

NEW YORK — Centerville native Simon Estes is among the first inductees for a newly formed opera hall of fame.

OPERA America is creating the new hall of fame in New York City. Estes will be inducted during a ceremony in early 2022.

Estes has performed more than 100 roles in operate, singing in 84 different opera houses around the world. His resume includes performances for six U.S. presidents and several dignitaries, including Pope John Paul II and Nelson Mandela.

The grandson of a slave and son of a coal miner, Estes was born in Centerville in 1938 and grew up there. He sang for his church choir at the Second Baptist Church, but it wasn't until he met Charles Kellis at the University of Iowa that he began his journey in opera.

Estes would go on to attend the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York.

He was selected for an inaugural class of 10 people out of an initial pool of 199 nominations. Currently, Estes is a visiting professor of music at Des Moines Area Community College.

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