Internationally renowned bass-baritone Simon Estes enjoys the acclaim of audiences and critics around the globe. Since his debut with the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1965, Simon Estes has performed with major international opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Lyric Opera, Chicago; San Francisco Opera; La Scala, Milan; Deutsche Opera, Berlin; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; The Washington Opera; L'Opéra de Paris; Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona; the State Operas of Hamburg, Munich, Vienna and Zurich and at the Bayreuth, Salzburg and Glyndebourne Festivals. Several performances have been historic milestones in Mr. Estes' career. His triumphant debut as the Dutchman in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman at the Bayreuth Festival in 1978 was the first appearance of any black male artist there. He was the Metropolitan Opera's first Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in 1985 and sang the following year with the Boston Pops at the Statue of Liberty centennial celebration. He has sung at the White House for three American Presidents and in 1990 performed at the service honoring Nelson Mandela at New York's Riverside Church and with the National Symphony under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich for the Fourth of July Celebration in Washington. In the fall of 1994 he sang for Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu in The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Among his recording credits are works on the Auvidis, Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Deutsche Schallplatten, EMI, Phillips Classics and Sony Classical labels.
Mr. Estes' love and concern for youth is manifested in numerous scholarship organizations that bear his name. These include The Simon Estes Scholarship Fund at the University of Iowa; The Simon and Westella H. Estes Scholarship Fund at Centerville Community College, Centerville, Iowa; The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma; The Simon Estes International Foundation, Inc., Zurich, Switzerland; The Simon Estes Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa and the Simon Estes Iowa Educational Foundation.
Simon Estes, a native of Centerville, Iowa, is the father of three daughters and he and his wife now live in Iowa. Professor Estes has teaching positions at Iowa State University and Wartburg College. He also maintains an active schedule of performances and master classes. Recent Awards presented to Dr. Estes include the Distinguished Iowa Citizen Award and the Alumni Award of Iowa State University.