Blind 12-year-old opera singer celebrates braille music catalog donation to New York Public Library

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Blind young opera singer celebrates braille catalog donation to NYPL
Lucy Yang has more on the singer's performance.

FLATIRON DISTRICT, Manhattan (WABC) -- 12-year-old Lana was born with full vision, however a botched surgery in Russia when she was young left her blind.

Thankfully, it didn't take away her voice.

"I do believe in the power of music because it also touches my heart," says Iolanta "Lana" Mamatkazina to Eyewitness News. "I think without music, there would be no light. There would be no love."

Lana performed at the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Tuesday night and showcased a very large contribution from her music school.

The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg School of Music just donated its extensive collection of braille music - 3,500 scores - to the library for anyone to borrow.

"We just felt it was time it was available to the public," said the school's Executive Director Leslie Jones. "If you have a piece of braille music, you can play with anybody."

This library has an entire floor dedicated to braille books - filled with 13,000 volumes of fiction and nonfiction works, including cookbooks.

Now they have musical scores as well.

As for Lana, her full name is Iolanta. She was named after a princess in a Tchaikovsky opera, who was blind but then able to see.

When asked who her favorite opera singer is, her answer was simple. "Me."

The world of music just became that much more accessible.

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