Simon Estes Receives San Francisco Opera Medal

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Kristen Loken/San Francisco Opera)

Legendary bass-baritone, educator, and humanitarian activist Simon Estes has received the San Francisco Opera Medal at the Company’s Medallion Society luncheon in the ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton.

Estes received the medal on March 8 from San Francisco Opera Tad and Dianne Taube General Director Matthew Shilvock. The award is the Company’s highest honor.

In a statement, Estes said, “Opera is such an important form of art. It helps people all over the world because music is the international language that brings all of us together. I never dreamed I would go to Russia, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, but I have because of opera. You have a great opera company. I will always be grateful to [former general director] Mr. Adler for having invited me here.”

Estes has a long history with the San Francisco Opera as he has worked with the Company’s Adler Fellows in a master class at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera and revisited the War Memorial Opera House. San Francisco Opera was the first major American opera company to engage Estes and performed in such operas as “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” “The Visitation,” “La Bohème,” and “Lucia di Lammermoor,” among others.

He went on to perform at many major opera houses as well as for six American presidents and other global leaders including Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Pope John Paul II.