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VIDEO: Chita Rivera & Opera Stars Honor Justino Díaz On The 44th Kennedy Center Honors


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The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is proud to celebrate the 44th Honorees for lifetime artistic achievements: operatic bass-baritone Justino Díaz, Motown founder, songwriter, producer, and director Berry Gordy, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, legendary stage and screen icon Bette Midler, and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

Watch opera stars perform for Justino Díaz below!

Born January 29, 1940 and a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Justino Díaz started performing at the age of eight and attended the University of Puerto Rico and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. His operatic debut was in 1957 as Ben in Menotti's The Telephone. Díaz made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1963 in Verdi's Rigoletto as Monterone. There he went on to sing in 400 performances, across 21 seasons, in 39 roles. In 1966, he inaugurated the new Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in New York City together with Leontyne Price in Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber. In 1971, he inaugurated the Kennedy Center Opera House, where he performed the leading male role in Ginastera's Beatrix Cenci-following Center's opening night of Bernstein's Mass.

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