Amira Willighagen

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Amira Willighagen
Amira-Willighagen-20160527.jpg
Willighagen in May 2016
Background information
Born (2004-03-27) March 27, 2004 (age 14)
Nijmegen, Netherlands
GenresClassic, Crossover
Occupation(s)Singer
Years active2013–present
Websitehttp://amira-online.com/

Amira Willighagen (born March 27, 2004) is a Dutch soprano singer[1][2] who won the sixth season of Holland's Got Talent in 2013 at the age of 9.

Holland's Got Talent[edit]

Willighagen auditioned for Holland's Got Talent and so impressed the judging panel with her version of "O mio babbino caro" from Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi[3][4] that within seconds the judges were staring in awe and disbelief.[5] Her performance rapidly became a YouTube hit with over 37 million viewers as of October 2018. In the semi-finals, she performed Gounod's "Ave Maria",[6] and in the final, she sang "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's opera Turandot. She won the competition with over 50% of the viewer vote.[7]

Career[edit]

In February 2014, Willighagen recorded her debut album, Amira.[8] The album contains 10 tracks including the songs she performed during Holland's Got Talent. The album was released in the Netherlands on March 28, reaching a Gold status only two weeks later. She later appeared with André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra in Maastricht during the recording of the album of Love in Venice after a member of his orchestra had seen her winning Holland's Got Talent on YouTube.

Willighagen's first international performances took place at the Starlight Classics Concerts in Somerset West, South Africa on February 28 and March 1, 2014. On April 30, 2014, she performed in Las Vegas as part of the prize she received when winning Holland's Got Talent. Amira's performances include appearances in England, Europe, Argentina, Hong Kong, and Iceland.[9]

According to statements on her website, with half of the revenue she makes by performing and her album sales, Willighagen supports her own charity project, Gelukskinders to build playgrounds for poor children of South African townships. In March 2014, she opened the first playground in Ikageng, a township near Potchefstroom, South Africa.[10] To formalize development and maintenance of playgrounds, Willighagen's Gelukskinders foundation was established on November 1, 2014.[11] On behalf of her foundation, Willighagen opened a second playground in Ikageng on August 1, 2016.[12] Amira opened a third playground; Amira Park-Sarafina which was completed in January 2017. Amira opened her fourth playground in South Africa on June 20, 2017; Amira Park #4 was opened in Promosa.[13] On June 11, 2018, Amira opened her 5th playground at Lesego Primary School which included carousel, swings, slide, and a sandbox.[14]

On November 8, 2014, Willighagen visited the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome to receive the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award 2014.[15] In November 2015, Willighagen released her second album, Merry Christmas. Besides a selection of well-known Christmas carols, the album contains various famous arias.

On March 2, 2018 Willighagen's long-anticipated album 'With All My Heart' was released in South Africa, later digitally worldwide, under the Coleske Artists label. The album marks a change in her singing career from opera to classical crossover. Several tracks were written especially for her. Songs like 'With All My Heart', 'I Will Be With You' and a cover of Gabriella's Song are potential hits. Amira also sings duets with Corlea Botha ('Flower Duet'), Patrizio Buanne ('O Sole Mio' and 'Amigos Para Siempre') and Ruhan du Toit ('Follow Your Heart').

In early 2018, Amira, her brother, Fincent and mother, Frieda moved to South Africa. During an interview in a Dutch regional newspaper, they stated the Dutch school system didn't offer Willighagen sufficient flexibility for performances. Also, Willighagen's new, South African manager planned to include fewer, longer tours.[16] In an earlier interview Amira's mother (of South African origin) revealed that she and the children's father had parted.[17]

Amira also has performances featured on four dvds: Afrikaans Is Groot 2016, Classics Is Groot 2016, Classics is Groot 2017, and Classics is Groot 2018, all published by Coleske Artists.[18][19]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions
NL BEL
Amira 2014 1[20] 117[21]
Merry Christmas 2015 16[22] 200[23]
With All My Heart 2018 ? ?

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://beautiful-lands.com/posts/10-year-old-amira-willighagen-performed-the-soprano-opera-o-mio-babbino-caro-from-puccini#.WHsNjjF-vIU
  2. ^ Sputnik. "Sputnik International - Breaking News & Analysis - Radio, Photos, Videos, Infographics". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  3. ^ Siddique, Haroon (30 October 2013). "Amira Willighagen, nine, sings opera and stuns Holland's Got Talent judges". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 13 April 2015. The disbelief at the powerful voice emanating from such a small girl was compounded when Amira revealed that she had not had any singing lessons but was self-taught, using YouTube tutorials.
  4. ^ "Nine-year-old blows judges away", Stuff.co.nz, 30 October 2013
  5. ^ furkan uluağaç (2014-01-25), Talented little girl leaves the judges speechless., retrieved 2018-11-23
  6. ^ "The New Jackie Evancho: Amira Willighagen Sings 'Ave Maria,' Advances to Finals of Holland's Got Talent". Classicalite. 2013-12-22. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  7. ^ "Breaking: Amira Willighagen, Better Than Jackie Evancho, Sings 'Nessun Dorma' to Win Holland's Got Talent", Classicalite, 28 December 2013
  8. ^ "Amira's first CD is coming!", AmiraFans, 5 February 2014
  9. ^ Amira during Living Maths interview by Steve Sherman May 10th 2017 Youtube recording of live stream.
  10. ^ "Star shines for township playground", Cape Times, 24 February 2014
  11. ^ Official web site "Gelukskinders" foundation, 1 November 2014
  12. ^ New playground Lesego open!, Official web site "Gelukskinders" foundation, 15 August 2016
  13. ^ "Stichting Gelukskinders | Nooit te oud om te spelen! -Amira Willighagen". www.gelukskinders.org (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  14. ^ "Nieuwe kleuterspeeltuin bij Lesego Primary, | Stichting Gelukskinders". www.gelukskinders.org (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  15. ^ "Amira, giovanissima soprano, Premio Sciacca Musica", premiosciacca.it, 8 November 2014 (in Italian)
  16. ^ Operaster Amira (13) vertrekt naar Afrika: leerplicht minder streng | De Gelderlander , December 29th 2017 (in Dutch)
  17. ^ Leerplicht te streng: operasterretje Amira (13) emigreert naar Zuid Afrika | De Gelderlander , September 17th 2017 (in Dutch)
  18. ^ amira-online.com
  19. ^ "Shop | Stichting Gelukskinders". www.gelukskinders.org (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  20. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dutch Charts - dutchcharts.nl". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  21. ^ "Ultratop Albums". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  22. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dutch Charts - dutchcharts.nl". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  23. ^ http://www.ultratop.be/nl/albums/2015/20151121/?page=4

External links[edit]