Opera Theatre

Worldwide opera superstar Simon Estes to hold final opera performance in Iowa

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This year is the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 50th anniversary, and the first production of the year will be historic as the final operatic role for international star and Iowa native Simon Estes.For a man with a career spanning six decades, 84 opera houses, six continents, and 103 roles, this will be the first time Estes has performed with the Des Moines Metro Opera.He is starring in his final role in a sold-out production of Porgy and Bess. Michelle Johnson plays the titular role of Bess, and she says working with Simon is an honor for her.”To see maestro Estes one more time and to perform with him — I mean, I hit the jackpot,” Johnson said. “As young performers, we are so honored to be a part of anything that he produces because we know it’s going to be gold.”Simon is not only performing in the opera, but is also the Producing Advisor, something cast members like Blake Denson relish in.”He’s a truly funny person and is truly a good-hearted person,” Denson said.To Denson and his castmates, Simon isn’t just a world-famous opera singer.”Simon Estes is my hero because he was born and grew up in a time where people that looked like me — especially Black men — were not given the opportunities to do certain things in the world,” Denson said.And now, because of Simon, Denson can take the stage.Friday might not be Johnson or Denson’s opening night, but it will be the one where they celebrate a giant who paved the way.”I want to be able to carry on Simon Estes’ legacy when it comes to opera,” Denson said.”I don’t think he realizes how much he touches people. He’s a very, very special human that doesn’t come around often. He’s a legend,” Johnson said.Opening night is July 1. There are seven sold-out performances of the show, all of which Estes will be in. History & Hope: Iowa native Simon Estes shares his experience with racism

This year is the Des Moines Metro Opera’s 50th anniversary, and the first production of the year will be historic as the final operatic role for international star and Iowa native Simon Estes.

For a man with a career spanning six decades, 84 opera houses, six continents, and 103 roles, this will be the first time Estes has performed with the Des Moines Metro Opera.

He is starring in his final role in a sold-out production of Porgy and Bess.

Michelle Johnson plays the titular role of Bess, and she says working with Simon is an honor for her.

“To see maestro Estes one more time and to perform with him — I mean, I hit the jackpot,” Johnson said. “As young performers, we are so honored to be a part of anything that he produces because we know it’s going to be gold.”

Simon is not only performing in the opera, but is also the Producing Advisor, something cast members like Blake Denson relish in.

“He’s a truly funny person and is truly a good-hearted person,” Denson said.

To Denson and his castmates, Simon isn’t just a world-famous opera singer.

“Simon Estes is my hero because he was born and grew up in a time where people that looked like me — especially Black men — were not given the opportunities to do certain things in the world,” Denson said.

And now, because of Simon, Denson can take the stage.

Friday might not be Johnson or Denson’s opening night, but it will be the one where they celebrate a giant who paved the way.

“I want to be able to carry on Simon Estes’ legacy when it comes to opera,” Denson said.

“I don’t think he realizes how much he touches people. He’s a very, very special human that doesn’t come around often. He’s a legend,” Johnson said.

Opening night is July 1. There are seven sold-out performances of the show, all of which Estes will be in.

History & Hope: Iowa native Simon Estes shares his experience with racism

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