Noah Stewart: Young black man goes from Harlem to the opera

Noah Stewart first joined the school choir as something to do after school until his mother got home from work. The New York Daily News reports that with his choir he sang “Moon River” at the Waldorf Astoria as a tribute to Audrey Hepburn. Even though his friends made fun of him growing up, Stewart fell in love with the lights and wanted to be a performer. Today he plays Radames in Aida at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, through Aug. 25.

Noah Stewart’s friends made fun of him when he told them what he wanted to do with his life — sing like one of the three tenors and command legendary stages such as Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Opera House. Now he’s having the last laugh.

With the April release in the UK of his debut album, “Noah,” the 33-year-old Harlem native became the first black artist ever to hit No. 1 on that country’s classical charts. Now that his album has been released here — last week — he’s hoping that his improbable rise will have the same impact in his home country.

Stewart grew up in Harlem with his older sister and his mother, who supported the family as a cashier at the Food Emporium on 90th Street and Broadway. A self-proclaimed “geek with glasses,” he joined the choir as an elective in junior high school because he needed an after-school activity, since his mother didn’t return from work until after 5 p.m

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