Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments: » Alberto Vilar: 1940—: Investor, Philanthropist Biography - A Frustrated Music-lover, The Privileges Of Wealth, Gave To Medicine

Alberto Vilar: 1940—: Investor, Philanthropist - The Privileges Of Wealth

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Vast wealth enabled Vilar to live in the toniest locales, including London, Puerto Rico, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., as well as a 32-room residence near the United Nations Building in Manhattan. The setting lost value after real estate billionaire Donald Trump erected a 72-floor tower that impeded Vilar's view. Vilar launched a doomed lawsuit to halt the construction, but continued to enjoy his triplex among art objects and statues of Mozart.

Between late 1998 and spring 2001, Vilar has donated $225 million to ballet, classical music, and opera—his favorite. In turn many companies have recognized his donations by naming or renaming structures after him including the chandeliered Vilar Grand Tier of the Metropolitan Opera and Vilar Hall in Vienna. In March of 2001, he developed an $8 million young artists' project at the Washington Opera and wrote his largest check—$50 million—to the John F. Kennedy Center for performances by the Kirov Ballet and Opera and to launch the Vilar Institute for Arts Management, the first global arts school. By 1999 he added Wagner to his favorites and supported a presentation of Tannhauser at Bayreuth.

Key to Vilar's arts vision for coming decades is the training and nurturing of talent. To turn amateurs into professionals, he anticipated the cost of instruction in languages, directing, and vocal instruction. To assure the most promising a career, he sponsored programs in London, Los Angeles, New York, St. Petersburg, and Washington. Interviewer Jacqueline Trescott quoted him in the Washington Post, saying, "I am going to have a corner on the market for young artists."

Vilar's unprecedented largess has made available splendid venues, including $2 million for La Scala, a $1 million facade and $5 million underground film theater at Carnegie Hall, and the $10 million Vilar Center for the Arts at Beaver Creek, Colorado, the place he calls home. His gifts have benefitted Vail's Gerald R. Ford outdoor amphitheater ($3.5 million), $5 million to the New York Philharmonic, $6 million to the Los Angeles Opera, $15 million to the Salzburg Festival, and $25 million to the Metropolitan Opera Endowment Campaign. For New York University, he provided $23.4 million to the Alberto Vilar Global Fellows Program designed after Oxford's Rhodes Scholarships. For 20 scholars studying acting, composition, dance, film, music, and voice, the fellowship offers each a $40,000 stipend. One of his signal improvements for audiences is the technological equipment to translate titles in five languages, including Japanese. To make opera more accessible, he invested in the marketer Figaro Systems, and outfitted the Vienna Staatsoper and concert halls in London and Salzberg.


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