Nelson Hebo - Hartford

This is my story · University of Hartford

I was born in Angola, a war torn African country. I had 15 brothers and sisters but, due to illness and war, nine of them and my parents are dead. My family and I hid in a Franciscan seminary to escape the guerrillas terrorizing my country.

During the years at the seminary, I began to sing at mass, became familiar with sacred music and soon realized that I love to sing. I listened to borrowed recordings of renowned tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo and tried to imitate them.

The masses that I sang were televised. People noticed me and invited me to sing at other events. I began singing in restaurants to provide food and medical care for my family.

During one of my performances, I met a representative from the United Nations who said I must learn to sing opera. He helped me emigrate to receive more formal musical training, first in Spain and now at The Hartt School.

The decision to leave Angola was one of the most difficult I’ve ever had to make because I was the sole support of my remaining family. But I know that with better vocal training, I will be in a better position to provide for them.

I study with Wayne Rivera, chair of Opera Performance.