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Valerian Ruminski (born 1967) is an American operatic bass. He is also the founder and artistic director of Nickel City Opera, in Buffalo, New York.
Named Martin Matthew Ruminski by his adoptive parents Mary and Valerian Ruminski, he was born in Lackawanna, New York and grew up in nearby Cheektowaga. As a child he sang in the St. Paul's Cathedral Men and Boys Choir. He later sang in the Canisius High School choir. After graduating from Canisius High School, Ruminiski travelled around the United States. His high school choir teacher eventually tracked him down in Alaska where he was working in a cannery and encouraged him to come back to Buffalo and study music at SUNY Buffalo. Gary Burgess, Ruminski's teacher at SUNY Buffalo also got him small parts in productions at the now-defunct Greater Buffalo Opera. Ruminski graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1995 and went on to further study at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. While he was at AVA, he also did apprenticeships with Santa Fe Opera and Chautauqua Opera during the summers. Since the start of his career, he has performed under the first name "Valerian" as a tribute to his late father.
In 1999 Rudinski was signed by the New York City Opera to sing in Bizet's Carmen. After his audition, Beverly Sills singled him out for the 1999 Lincoln Center Martin Segal Award. The following year he received a Career Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation and won the $20,000 First Prize in the MacAllister Singing Competition. The judges at the MacAllister Competition were struck by the unusual pieces Ruminski chose to present—arias from Ambroise Thomas's little-known opera Le caïd and The Tempest, a baroque work attributed to Purcell. A scout from the Metropolitan Opera had heard Ruminski's performances at the NYCO and invited him to audition for the Met. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut on 17 January 2001 as Zuniga in Carmen. He later sang there as Gualtiero in I puritani (2006–2007) and Nikitich in Boris Godunov (2010–2011). In the course of his operatic career, Ruminski has sung in many opera houses in the United States and Canada. Early in his career he also appeared in Israel with the New Israeli Opera and in Monaco with the Opéra de Monte-Carlo.