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A Delaware barista was filmed singing opera at Starbucks. He was trained in Baltimore.

It isn’t every day you walk into Starbucks and find a barista singing a piece by a 19th century Neapolitan opera singer.

But then, not every Starbucks employs Jason Berger, a 28-year-old classically trained opera singer who works at a Starbucks in Wilmington, Delaware, as a second job.

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A video posted on Facebook on Feb. 18 shows Berger, who studied vocal performance at The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and graduated in 2018, belting out a piece by Eduardo di Capua while behind the counter.

When your husband convinces the Opera Singing Baristo to perform😂😂🙌🙌👌 Jason Berger 💫

Posted by Kaylan Wetzel on Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Berger said the video came after a conversation with a regular customer from Italy.

Berger said he’d chatted with the man previously about opera after noticing his accent and that he’d sung previously for him, albeit not in front of a camera.

The man came in and asked again for Berger to sing, he said, but he was unaware the man’s wife was filming and that the number would garner now more than 43,000 views online.

“I was genuinely shocked. I didn’t think it was being filmed,” Berger said, adding that while he has sung three or four times at the coffee shop, it isn’t ideal for opera singers to perform without proper vocal warmups.

“It’s like if you ask an architect, ‘Hey, draw me a sketch right now,’” he added.

Berger received much of his formal training in Baltimore and still performs in the area. In November, he made his debut as a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and is a member of the Concert Artists of Baltimore.

He said that while he appreciates the attention he’s garnered, he hopes the video also demonstrates that people are interested in opera, even if the stigma is that the audience skews older.

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“I think it’s incredible that 42,800 people have been exposed to what a classically trained voice sounds like because we’re not often exposed to opera in our mainstream culture,” he said. “I hope this gets people to appreciate the arts and realize the arts need to be funded."

He said that as a bisexual who struggled with a learning disability in school, “the arts were where I could express myself," and that he wants people to see more of the community that helped him feel accepted.

“The arts are a necessity and not a luxury,” he said.

While Berger works at the Starbucks as a second job to help pay the bills, he said he still hopes to become a full-time opera singer to support his passion.

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