For those who may not know, Simon Estes , a native of Centerville, Iowa, enjoys the acclaim of audiences and critics around the globe. Since his debut with the Deutsche Opera Berlin in 1965, 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 also with the National Symphony under the direction of Mstislav Rostropovich for the Fourth of July Celebration in Washington.
In the fall of 1994, Estes 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.
In response to the tragic tornado and flooding of Iowa in the spring of 2008, Mr. Estes performed a benefit concert with the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Conductor Joseph Giunta in which $38,000 was raised and Mr. Estes presented a check to the citizens of Parkersburg, Iowa. In September, 2008 Mr. Estes joined the Choir of Wartburg College in a benefit concert for the flood victims of Waverly, Iowa.
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.
Estes 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.
A two-tiered ticket sale has been announced by Ken Buell, who handles ticket operations for the Center. Season ticket holders have been sent a mailing that gives them the first option on tickets, up to the number of season tickets they hold, until their priority deadline of Monday, October 18 at 5 p.m.
"Season ticket holders were promised this benefit as part of their season ticket purchase," explained Buell. "Given their commitment to our entire inaugural season, we felt that was the right thing to do."
Non -season ticket holders may also order tickets now, but their orders will be held in a pool until Friday, October 29 at 5 p.m. Once season ticket customer orders have been filled, any remaining tickets will be assigned randomly to orders in that pool. The reason for the drawing is to assure the fairest possible distribution system for an event that is likely to sell out. "Non - season ticket holders may apply for tickets at any time," said Buell, "but they need to know that their orders will go into a drawing pool. If there are orders that we cannot accommodate, they will be returned with the checks uncashed. "Since people will learn about the sale at different times from different sources, this system will offer fairer distribution than one base on first received - first accommodated."
If individual season ticket holders want more tickets than their priority allows, they need to submit a separate order that will be placed in the general public pool. Those orders will be processed the same as others in the drawing.
Tickets are priced at $50 each, with a $5 handling charge for the entire order. To place an order, send a check, payable to the Galva-Holstein Foundation, in the appropriate amount for tickets ordered, to Rosemary Clausen Center, P.O. Box 524, Holstein Ia, 51025. A note should be included that will indicate the number of tickets ordered, the buyer's return address , and advising that the check is for "Simon Estes Christmas tickets."
"If patrons have any questions regarding the sale, they should call us at 712-368-4849, and we'll guide them through it," Buell said. "Demand for this event is extremely high, and we hope to accommodate as many folks as we can in the fairest possible way."