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Paulo Szot is a Brazilian operatic baritone singer and actor. He made his opera debut in 1997 and his international career has included performances with the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala di Milano, Opera de Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper, Opera Australia, Liceo de Barcelona, among many others. In 2008, he made his Broadway debut as Emile De Becque in a revival of South Pacific, and for his performance in this musical he won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Theatre World Award. In 2012 he was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for best actor in a musical, and in 2014 was nominated for the MAC Award for best Celebrity Artist becoming the first Brazilian to receive such honors.
Szot was born in São Paulo of Polish parents who emigrated to Brazil after World War II. He began his musical training in piano at the age of five and later added violin and classical ballet. However, at age 21, a knee injury cut short any aspirations for a career in dance, causing him, with encouragement from his instructor, to pursue singing instead.
Szot studied at Jagiellonian University in Poland. He began singing professionally in 1990 with the National Song & Dance Ensemble "Śląsk". Later, he made his professional opera debut in a production of Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo in 1997. Since then, he has performed with the New York City Opera, the Palm Beach Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, Opéra de Marseille, and Vlaamse Opera, among others, in such operas as L'elisir d'amore, La bohème, Don Giovanni, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Carmen, Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro and Maria Golovin. In March 2010 he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Kovalyov in Dmitri Shostakovich's The Nose. Szot returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Escamillo sharing the stage with the French tenor Roberto Alagna and as Lescaut in Manon along with Anna Netrebko. Szot returned to the Met in 2014 as the Captain of the Achille Lauro in The Death of Klinghoffer. He sang the role of Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Palais Garnier, and at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in Le nozze di Figaro. In 2013 he sang in The Nose at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and at La Scala in the role of Filip Filippovich, the protagonist of Alexander Raskatov's 2009 opera A Dog's Heart. In 2018, Szot sang the role of the Celebrant in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's performance of Leonard Bernstein's Mass under the direction of Marin Alsop with the Chicago Children's Choir and the Highland Park High School Marching Band.