Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mariah Carey Imitated Opera Mom

The surprise guest on ABC's Christmas special, Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to You, was none other than her opera singing mother. The two joined voices for "O Come All Ye Faithful" and the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah. More details of the family's opera past and a video of the performance after the jump!

Mariah Carey was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York. She is the third and youngest child of Patricia (née Hickey), a former opera singer and vocal coach, and Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautical engineer. Her mother is Irish American and her father is of Afro-Venezuelan and African American descent; her paternal grandfather, Roberto Nuñez, changed his surname to Carey to better assimilate upon moving to the United States from Venezuela. Carey was named after the song "They Call the Wind Mariah." Carey's parents divorced when she was three years old. 

While she lived in Huntington, racist neighbors allegedly poisoned the family dog and set fire to her family's car. After her parents' divorce, she had little contact with her father and her mother worked several jobs to support the family. Carey spent much of her time at home, alone, and turned to music to occupy herself. 

She began to sing at around the age of three, when her mother began to teach her, after Carey imitated her mother practicing Verdi's opera Rigoletto in Italian.

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