|Year of Birth:||1940|
Justino Díaz (born January 29, 1940) is a Puerto Rican operatic bass-baritone. In 1963, Díaz won an annual contest held at the Metropolitan Opera of New York, becoming the first Puerto Rican to obtain such an honor and as a consequence, made his Metropolitan debut on October 1963 in Verdi's Rigoletto as Monterone.
Díaz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the capital of the island, but lived and was raised in the town of Cataño. He attended Robinson Elementary School where, at the age of 8, he started to participate in the school's activities as a singer. In his first school play, when he was 10 years old, he sang the song "Old Black Joe", which became his favorite. After finishing his primary education, Díaz attended the University of Puerto Rico High School in Río Piedras. While in high school, he took singing classes and participated in various presentations around the island.
Díaz joined the choir of the University of Puerto Rico, under the direction of Augusto Rodríguez, where he sang solo. His operatic debut was in 1957 as Ben in Gian Carlo Menotti's The Telephone, or L'Amour à trois. It wasn't long before Díaz enrolled in New England Conservatory in Massachusetts. One of his professors was Boris Goldovsky, who would be very influential in his career. Díaz made his professional debut as an opera singer at the Opera Theater of New England. In 1960, Goldovsky asked Díaz to join his opera company on a 20-state tour. After the tour, he entered and participated in a competition celebrated at the Metropolitan Opera House, winning third place in the New England region.