Russian Master painter, Poet, and graduate of the Russian Academy of Arts in Kiev. Born in 1918, the only child of Anna Ivanovna Bongart, and Roman Ivanovich Bongart. They were cultured; well educated and prominent in their community before the Stalin Regime came to power. Roman, a poet and Olympian gold medallist was also known for his stock of well-bred horses. Visits to museums, the opera, and ballet were a part of the young boy’s life. Sergei credits his father for having instilled, in him, the love of art and poetry. Sergei: “I began to go to the opera at three years of age. As a result, I learned almost every aria of the most famous operas. When my family gave a party, I would post a large “CONCERTâ€� sign on the wall with thumbtacks . . . immediately everyone was paralyzed with fear! Then, standing on a chair, I began to scream my head off and they were unable to stop me, Family and friends were terrorized until the ‘Opera’ was completed. Singing all parts, one aria after another, female parts, male parts, tenor, bass, or baritone . . . all had been memorized and I was performing.