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FWOpera Tenor Wows Howard Stern on ‘America’s Got Talent’

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Sri Lankan tenor Sean Panikkar sang Rodolfo earlier this year in Fort Worth Opera’s production of La Boheme, but now he’s a last-minute replacement in the group, Forte Opera Trio, competing for the million-dollar prize in NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Tuesday night was the first time the ensemble performed, and Panikkar’s singing of Andrea Bocelli’s The Prayer even got praise from Howard Stern. Watch the video, read the full press release:

Fort Worth Opera Festival Star Sings for Million-Dollar Top Prize on Hit NBC Reality Show

Handsome Sri Lankan tenor Sean Panikkar brings the power of opera to television audiences across the U.S., before returning for 2014 FWOpera Festival.

Fort Worth, Texas— Sri Lankan tenor Sean Panikkar’s recent performance of Rodolfo in the 2013 Fort Worth Opera Festival production of La Bohème made throngs of ladies swoon and audience members young and old jump to their feet with applause. Now this handsome and talented singer is bringing the power of opera to millions of television viewers as he sings for a chance at taking home the million-dollar top-prize on the hit NBC show America’s Got Talent.

Appearing as part of a three man ensemble, Forte Opera Trio, Panikkar joined the group only recently as a last-minute replacement for a former member who dropped out of the competition unexpectedly. His Tuesday night performance of Andrea Bocelli’s The Prayer marked the first time the trio performed together, and Sean’s incredible and soaring voice blew the other contestants and four celebrity judges away, with shock-jock radio personality Howard Stern remarking, “the new guy [Panikkar] is the strongest singer…” His presence helped ensure the group’s advancement to the “live shows” which will begin next week in New York City at Radio City Music Hall.

A native of Bloomsburg, PA, Panikkar originally enrolled at the University of Michigan as an engineering major before switching his focus to music. During his relatively short career, he’s racked up an impressive list of awards and accolades, and has performed with companies around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He’ll return to Fort Worth for the 2014 FWOpera Festival, singing the leading role of Nadir in the alluring drama The Pearl Fishers, for which single tickets go on sale next Thursday.