Opera singer makes 28-hour bus trip for Sheffield return

Welcome return: Antonello Arca sings a duet with Charly Oakley at last year's Music in the Gardens.
Welcome return: Antonello Arca sings a duet with Charly Oakley at last year's Music in the Gardens.
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A CELEBRATED opera singer is refusing to let his fear of flying stopt him bringing a continental flavour to Sheffield’s answer to the Proms.

Italian tenor Antonello Arca will wow audiences at Sheffield Botanical Gardens at the grand finale of Music in the Gardens for the third time this year - after making the long journey by bus.

Antonello, from Sardinia, has been a regular fixture at the climactic Classic Concert since 2010, after Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra’s treasurer David Oakley spotted him while holidaying on the island.

Despite a 28-hour journey to England by bus due to his fear of flying, he has returned every year and is looking forward to leading the celebration of all things British at this year’s event.

Organisers have pulled out all the stops to give the city an occasion to rival the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday, July 7, including a spectacular musical firework display.

Antonello will sing popular Italian songs before leading the orchestra in renditions of Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem.

He said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’m always happy to come back. Sheffield has enchanted me with its food, countryside and wonderful gardens where the concert takes place. Last year the trip lasted 28 hours to get to Sheffield.

“I’m pretty used to this trips  now since I travel all around Europe only by bus or train, but Sheffield is the farthest city I reached by bus. It doesn’t bother me. I’m ready to face any discomfort to come to Sheffield.”

Mr Oakley said: “Everyone wanted him back again this year.”

n Tickets are available from the Design Studio on Ecclesall Road, Little Nature Shop in Sheffield Botanical Gardens, the Arena box office or by calling 0114 256 5567.