Since the release of their debut album 'The Opera Band,' the Amici forever success story has swept around the globe. With their clever blend of pop and classical music dubbed 'Arias with Attitude,' the vivacious vocal quintet composed of two tenors, ...

By Mubashra Siddiqui

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Published: Wed 27 Apr 2005, 2:19 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:50 PM

two sopranos and a bass baritone has already received monumental acclaim in Europe and North America.

Indeed, the unique band has taken the contemporary music scene by storm ranking No. 2 in the US Classical Crossover Charts, and No. 1 chain-wide at Borders outranking various pop acts such as Outkast, Beyonce and Sheryl Crow. Their debut album was also voted the 2004 No. 2 Classical Crossover Album of the Year by Billboard.

Back after a fabulous response last year, Amici forever will be performing in Dubai at the Madinat Theatre on April 27-28 in an event presented by Infiniti Middle East. The band is hopeful that they shall be well liked this time as well.

In an exclusive interview, Amici forever said, "For the show in Dubai we will be performing a sixty minute set that will include tracks from our debut album as well as some new tracks off our shortly to be released second album Defined. There will be some favourites that will be familiar to many and some new pieces too. So we hope there will be something for everyone." The band will also engage in a short informal Amici Unplugged section, where member Nick Garrett will play the piano while the others perform their own personal favourite tracks.

Initiated by Geoff Sewell, a soprano who studied music at the prestigious Boston Conservatory, Amici forever says they were confident they would catch on and become popular once they got together, "In our mind, the whole idea of an opera band was original and we absolutely believed there was an audience that would embrace it. There had of course been The 3 Tenors and other successful crossover artists but never a mixed group like this. It gave us much more scope for a new 'sound' to be explored and a new way of bringing well loved classical pieces back into fashion."

Like Sewell, other members of Amici forever have also all been classically trained. While Garrett studied music at the Trinity College, Tsakane Valentine graduated from the University of Pretoria furthering her operatic training at Technikon Pretoria. Band members Jo Appleby and Davis Habbin both completed their training from the Royal Northern College of Music.

Although from a variety of backgrounds, members say their academic experience as well as like-minded repertoire helps them decide on the kind of music they want to do. "We knew from the start that we wanted to popularise classical pieces and classicise pop tracks and there is such a wealth of glorious music to choose from, the difficulty is really deciding what not to do," Amici forever said.

When asked about their astounding success in America, which is generally considered hostile to classical groups with rare exceptions like Charlotte Church, the band stated, "We were lucky enough to be signed to America by RCA Victor (Sony/BMG) which was in itself unusual as not many UK-based artists can claim to have been signed to America. This definitely helped our success in America and with Charlotte Church and Josh Groban's successes, the American public seemed happy to accept our brand of music, which was amazing. When out the debut album went straight to No. 2 on the Billboard charts though, we were completely blown away and to then have been voted the 2004 No. 2 Classical Crossover Album of the year — well that was just icing on the cake!"

Amici forever hopes for the same kind of success with their upcoming album Defined, which releases in the US in June.

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