When 12-year-old Amira Willighagen stepped to the stage to perform at the first edition of Classics Is Groot in Pretoria, South Africa, no one knew what to expect.
Reason being is because the young opera singer was set to perform alongside famous Neapolitan-Austrian baritone star Patrizio Buanne. How could the young girl’s voice possibly compete with Buanne’s vocals that he had spent a lifetime perfecting?
However, as soon as she started to sing, all doubts instantly faded away. Amira’s mature voice matched perfectly with Buanne’s as they sang their duet of “O Sole Mio”, a globally known Neapolitan song written in 1898.
According to the Classics Is Groot Facebook event, the idea was to put on “a multilingual and colourful concert experience showcasing famous classical, pop and rock songs in a symphonic style.”
It seems it was a success, as they have now continued the Classics Is Groot concert series every year since.
While many other artists took to the stage that night in July 2016, the duet between Amira and Buanne was certainly one of the main highlights.
A giant symphonic orchestra provided the background music.
At the end of the performance, Buanne dropped to his knees in an epic display as the pair both belted out the lyrics of the classic Italian song.
The harmony between the Dutch youngster and 40-year-old Buanne is absolutely incredible.
For fans of Amira Willighagen, the beautiful performance came as no surprise. After all, this wasn’t the first time she had been on a major stage.
Many people will remember Amira from back in 2013 when she appeared on the popular Holland’s Got Talent television series.
She was only 9 at the time, yet managed to pull off a nearly perfect rendition of Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” from the opera Gianni Schicchi.
The audience gave her a standard ovation, and even Simon Cowell was impressed. The music mogul commented about it on his Twitter:
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) November 1, 2013
Although the link in his Tweet no longer works, here is the video of the performance he was referring to:
It’s amazing really the amount of talent Amira has for her age. Judge Chantal Janzen had this to say afterward:
“Are you really nine years old? This is incredible,” said Chantal.
Even more impressive is the fact that Amira has never had any formal singing training. In fact, she taught herself to sing opera entirely by watching YouTube videos.
Amira elaborated on how she got started with it all:
“My brother Vincent plays violin, and I also wanted to do something. So I thought, ‘I’m going to sing’… and then I heard opera songs, which I found very beautiful and that’s when I started singing,” Amira said.
In addition to all her hard work developing her voice, it’s clear that she is also one of those people who is just naturally talented. We are certain we will be seeing a lot more of Amira over the coming years. This young singer is definitely someone to watch out for as she grows older and continues perfecting her craft.
Both in 2017 and 2018, Amira was welcomed back once again to perform at subsequent editions of the Classics Is Groot concert series. She is still the youngest artist there, yet that hasn’t stopped her from singing her heart out and impressing crowds just like she has done every time since her first performance.
She even got to appear in the 2018 Classics Promo video:
And of course, you definitely have to watch the original Classics Is Groot performance that really helped to put her on the map. The video currently has over 20 million views on YouTube and almost 80 thousand likes. At her age, that is certainly something to be extremely proud of.
Watch the video below of Amira Willighagen and Patrizio Buanne performing “O Sole Mio”.
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