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Aria for Mascot church

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Father Maurizio Pettena cs is looking forward to the concert - accompanied by pianist Glenn Amer - with relish. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Father Maurizio Pettena cs is looking forward to the concert – accompanied by pianist Glenn Amer – with relish. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

Australia Opera star to lend his voice to special concert in aid of church sanctuary renovation

One of the world’s leading tenors is performing for one of his most intimate audiences – all in the name of his faith.

Used to singing in front of thousands of adoring fans, Opera Australia’s Diego Torre is putting on a special one-off concert in his local Sydney church for just 400 people to raise money to renovate the parish sanctuary.

Performing an ensemble of sacred music and opera cantatas, the exclusive concert is his way of giving back to his St Therese Mascot parish who welcomed him with open arms 10 years ago after arriving from New York.

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However it’s his fellow parishioners who can’t stop singing his praises.

The acclaimed performer who has sung some of the world’s most popular operas including Madame Butterfly, La Bohème, Carmen and Tosca, said it will be one of the few times he has performed in a church.

“I also believe it’s like Saint Thomas said that ‘those who pray with music pray twice’.”

“For me singing in an opera house is what I do as an opera singer so for me this is very unusual but also very special,” he said.

“I give 100 per cent to every performance but this one will take me to another level I’m sure.

“I believe that music in general helps people to become more sensitive, more compassionate and better human beings and that my voice is a gift from God.

“I also believe it’s like Saint Thomas said that ‘those who pray with music pray twice’.

“We came to Australia at this community over ten years ago with Fr Valentin and Fr Maurizio who have embraced me and my family, so this is my opportunity to return their kindness.”

Diego Torre is considered one of the top tenors in the world. His voice will soar at St Therese Mascot on 18 November. Photo: Alphonsus Fok
Diego Torre is considered one of the top tenors in the world. His voice will soar at St Therese Mascot on 18 November. Photo: Alphonsus Fok

The Mexican-born singer arrived in Australia in 2011 at the invitation of Opera Australia and has continued to perform both here and overseas with some of the world’s leading opera companies.

Assistant priest Fr Maurizio Pettena said his performing parishioner is quite literally a “gift from God”.

He said when the community decided to restore the sanctuary and bring it up to date in tune with liturgical requirements Diego was the first to volunteer to help.

“Music is a very important part of the whole ritual of the Mass and brings something truly beautiful to the liturgy,” he said.

“We have a community made up of different backgrounds so our parish priest Fr Valentin decided we would become one body, the Body of Christ, so we centred all our reflections round the Eucharist.

“He sings with his wife on the first Sunday of the month at Mass which has become very popular because it is beautifully animated with hymns of liturgical significance which people are starting to embrace …”

“So in order for us to become a Eucharistic community, visually we needed something where the Eucharist is celebrated and visually be beautiful which is why we need to raise the funds.

“Diego is one of the most humble people you could meet, he is so genuine and a person of deep faith.

“He sings with his wife on the first Sunday of the month at Mass which has become very popular because it is beautifully animated with hymns of liturgical significance which people are starting to embrace and appreciate.”

The fundraising concert on November 18 is being held in two parts, the first consisting classical religious arias and the second more popular opera arias.

Tickets are $70 and available from the parish website.

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