You may have heard of conductor Zubin Mehta (and his brother Zarin) or soprano Monica Yunus (daughter of Mohammed Yunus). But there are MORE desis involved in the world of opera/classical music, as I recently learned. They are countering stereotypes about the South Asian community in the U.S. We can be artists AND make a living!
Sean was born to Sri Lankan parents in small-town Pennsylvania. As a kid, no one knew he could sing well! As a teen, he took voice lessons with a Julliard-trained singer who moved to his area. After undergrad (UMich), Sean began pursuing opera as a full-time career instead of engineering.
Aside from being a rising opera star, Sean (not yet 30) is also a husband and father to a young son.
Forget American Idol– this young singer has a MUST-HEAR voice! Zeshan recently graduated from Northwestern, and will continue there for his master’s. He had major roles in several operas at school, and plans to make it his career. However, opera is NOT his only interest- Zeshan (a tenor) also sings ghazals and works with a non-profit.
Zeshan’s YouTube channel
Raja is a friend and classmate of Zeshan’s. Though he has been trained in opera, he hopes to make a career in pop music.
Priti is a native of California (San Dieg0); her natural talent was noticed by a voice teacher when she was in college. Priti didn’t become involved with opera until she was a sophomore in college. Now in her late 30s, she is a nationally reknown mezzo soprano.
The Education of a Opera Singer: a documentary following Priti & her fellow performers when they were starting out their careers.
Can a beer and basketball fan also love opera? You bet! This 33 y.o. Texas native is the founder/artistic director of Opera Vista in Houston. Currently, Viswa (who holds degrees in music/biology and an MBA) is one of 3 finalists for the musical director position in Yakima, Washington.
Viswa is very active online. One of his goals is to make classical music accessible to diverse/young audiences. Growing up in a small town, Viswa didn’t learn much about classical music until college (Duke).