Anthony León, second-year apprentice

Anthony León

Anthony León was taught Pavarotti’s famous La Donna è mobile aria from Rigoletto at age 2 and spent many years being trotted out at his parents’ parties to sing it.

“I knew all the lyrics. In Italian,” he says. He grew tired of this by elementary school and officially stopped singing. Instead, he took piano and saxophone lessons for 14 years. Unofficially, things were different. “I would go into the closet in my room with my copy of The Three Tenors’ CD and sing along with a sweater stuffed in my mouth.” His mother, originally from Colombia, has four brothers who are all operatic tenors — and also doctors. His dad, of Cuban descent, comes from a family full of instrumentalists. Both parents also sing.

“I felt too shy to sing for a lot of years,” he says. “I didn’t like the pressure to perform. I wasn’t ready to reveal such a vulnerable part of myself. Singing is so personal.”

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