Date of Birth: 11th September 1984
Where do you live: Around the world!
Star Sign: Virgo
Main occupation: Opera Singer
Maltese tenor Nico Darmanin is quickly making a name for himself in the Rossini and bel canto repertoires, having already made his debut at the Royal Opera House and Vlaamse Opera, where he was directed by none other than Christopher Waltz. He began his training with soprano Gillian Zammit before moving to London to study at the Royal College of Music with Rosa Mannion, and the National Opera Studio. Recent highlights include Almaviva Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Ramiro La Cenerentola, Ottavio Don Giovanni, and Belfiore Il Viaggio a Reims.
He will also soon be making his debut in a major role with the Welsh National Opera. In concert, Darmanin’s repertoire includes romantic songs and operas by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Tosti, Fauré and Debussy. He has also worked with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir Thomas Allen on the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto, and with Mirella Freni as part of the Cubec masterclasses in Modena.
We caught up with the voice himself for an insight into the world of opera.
You’ve lately been chosen to compete among the finalists for BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Tell us more about this big opportunity.
It’s one of the leading World Opera competitions. This is a very big event in Wales, and it’s publicly televised by the BBC all over the world. It only takes place once every two years, and I was one of the final 20 who competed in 2015. It’s an opportunity for huge exposure. Not only in the Opera industry, but especially amongst the general public. It’s an event of great prestige!
Where do you want to take your music?
I’m fortunate enough to take my music all over the world, but I really wish to instil it into the heart of youths, in order to remind them that classical music can really touch your soul and refresh your life!
Aside from music, what other things do you cherish in life?
I love spending time with my friends, possibly drinking a nice bottle of wine, somewhere relaxing with a nice view. I also love snorkelling and boating in Malta in summer. I’ve recently got into golf! I play in Norfolk (England) which I now consider to be my second home. A round of 18 holes is very satisfying and it’s a wonderful way to spend 3 hours in the fresh air! I also like driving long distances.
Do you prefer dining out or clubbing? And why?
I honestly love both. It really depends on the mood I’m in or who I’m hanging out with. When I’m with my colleagues, we usually like to unwind after a day of rehearsals with a nice bottle of wine and a good high-end restaurant. It helps finish the day in a very nice civil manner. On the other hand, I love dancing and when I’m in Malta, it’s always great fun to go out for a rare one-off to a good dancing place and enjoy the night away!
What percentage of life do you normally spend shopping?
I love clothes, and I mostly love online shopping. I usually know what I want and what look I’m going for, so it’s easier to order online and get everything together. I like combining a classic look with a street look. I like simple things, such as a nice good-quality branded t-shirt and a nice pair of chinos. I also love a nice white shirt. Nothing can beat that. It’s fresh, smart and elegant!