Was born in Lisbon, Portugal and raised in Venezuela where he began his musical education at the Caracas Conservatory. After coming to the USA and graduating from Temple University in Philadelphia, he went on to continue studying in Germany and Italy.
In 1958 he was selected as the first winner of Winifred Cecil's: Joy in Singing competition and was awarded a Town Hall recital debut. His first operatic engagement was with the Santa Fe Opera and after that he performed with the Opera companies in Cincinnati, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Central City, Baltimore, Washington, Forth Worth and others including 12 seasons with the New York Opera and the Metropolitan Opera of which he is a permanent member.
Being the descendant of a distinguished line of Spanish rabbis going back several centuries, he developed a genuine interest in the music of the Sephardim, and for the last 20 years has been an avid collector and performer of Ladino songs.