Opera’s pre-teen powerhouse
A twelve-year-old opera star in the making from Leeds, who has performed in front of hundreds at Leeds Grand Theatre, and thousands in Headingley, showcased her talents to the nation this week during a special television documentary.
Persia, who now lives in London with her mum, Sarah, was the focus of CBBC’s documentary series – My Life: My Voice.
Following her journey from singing solo with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra to a master class with her idol, soprano superstar Laura Wright, the programme first aired on Wednesday evening.
“I found out so much about opera singing making this programme,” says Persia. “I did doubt myself at the beginning but I did gain confidence.”
During her life, Persia says she has heard adults say it’s impossible to be an opera singer until she’s much older, while children her own age don’t always understand a voice so amazingly out of the ordinary.
With the support of her family, the documentary follows Persia’s emotional battles to overcome all her operatic obstacles.
“A lot of kids probably do think that opera is boring and old fashioned,” she added. “But I think it’s cool.
“Some people think I’m strange and different and weird because I’m an opera singer. I’m just a bit different, that’s all.”
Hoping to encourage more children to express their voice, whatever songs they like to sing, she added: “You are never too young to follow your dreams. I think this film will definitely make other kids feel more confident to get into opera.”
After falling in love with opera at the age of eight, following a visit to Leeds Grand Theatre to watch La Boheme, Persia soon joined the renowned theatre group, Opera North.
Just two years later, she completed her move to the capital in hope of progressing in the industry she was quickly falling in love with.
Sarah explained: “We moved to London to further encourage Persia’s singing because she is so enthusiastic about it. We are closer to the opera scene and things seem to be really picking up for her lately as well.”
She added: “[Persia has] just had an audition at the Royal Academy of Music, and we are very hopeful that she will be set up with a vocal coach, which is absolutely amazing.”
Part of the critically acclaimed My Life series on CBBC, My Life: My Voice concludes with Persia’s nerve-wracking finale, as she performs to 16,000 people on her home turf at Leeds Rhinos rugby stadium.
You can watch it now on CBBC’s iPlayer.