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Anthony Amato, Founder of Amato Opera, Dead at 91

Tony Amato MemoirsHarold Schrader Anthony Amato

Anthony Amato, who founded the Amato Opera and trained generations of opera singers at his small theater on the Bowery, died yesterday morning on City Island. He was 91.

Rochelle Mancini, a former singer at the Amato Opera who helped Mr. Amato write his recently published memoir, said the cause was cancer.

From its founding in 1948, the Amato Opera served as a training grounds for young singers with grand ambitions. Mr. Amato was said to have a keen eye for talent, and the likes of Neil Shicoff, Mignon Dunn and George Shirley performed there before going on to play famous venues like the Metropolitan Opera and City Opera.

After stints in theaters around the city, the opera opened on the Bowery at East Second Street in 1964; a location that harkened back to the thoroughfare’s history as a poor man’s Broadway. Less than 10 years after its opening it would share the block with C.B.G.B.; a vivid example of the eclectic arts scene in the neighborhood. Read more…