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Monday February 11, 2008

Penang-born opera sensation keen to perform in Malaysia

MELBOURNE: Opera fans in Malaysia may soon get the chance to see one of the world’s most celebrated and exciting new talents – Steve Davislim.

The Penang-born tenor, who has taken the world of opera by storm since his acclaimed debut in 2005, said that he could not wait to return to his motherland and perform for the first time.

Davislim: Had his big break as Idomeneo at La Scala in 2005

“Yes, I would love to sing in Malaysia. I’ve been to Penang in the last two years to visit relatives. I love the food and culture there and cannot wait to have more time to tour the rest of Malaysia some time soon, maybe on a concert tour,” he said.

Davislim’s paternal grandparents moved from China to settle down in Penang before World War II and his father, David Lim, was born there. After studying at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin in the 1950s and 60s, Lim married Joyce Davis, a nurse he met while doing his internship, and the couple returned to Penang, where Steve was born.

Soon after, the young family moved to Tasmania. They later moved here, and Davislim, who took the names of both his parents as a surname, was introduced to the world of opera during a school excursion to see the legendary Joan Sutherland perform.

He completed his Bachelor of Music with honours before being awarded the Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Award for young Australians and an Australia Council overseas study grant.

After further studies in Italy, Greece, Germany and Switzerland, Davislim made his debut at the Chicago Lyric Opera in 2005.

But it was his performance in the title role of Mozart's Idomeneo at the season opening of La Scala in Milan in December that year, that had audiences and critics acclaiming a major new talent.

The Australian newspaper called it arguably the single most important opera premiere of the year “anywhere on the planet.”

Performing arts critic Larry Nash described it as “one performance to cherish. Davislim’s singing was heavenly”. – Bernama