Soprano Deborah Norman has performed in some of the largest opera houses and concert halls in Europe and is a regular soloist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The mother-of-two, aged 42, who was born and raised in Ecclesall, is performing at Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity’s Proms at the Priory event in Worksop on Sunday (www.wphcancercharity.org.uk).
Lyceum and Crucible
We are so blessed to have such fine and distinctive theatrical venues in Sheffield, and I was particularly fortunate to be able to cut my teeth here as a young soprano. The first show I performed in was Kismet at the Lyceum in 1996, and it was then I really knew I wanted to do this as a full time job. For the next few years I sang for South Yorkshire Opera at the Crucible, starting with Carmen in 1997. SYO was an esteemed amateur society and it was through the group I met a baritone named Giles who ended up performing alongside me. Not long after we were alongside each other again – at the altar! The last time I performed at the Lyceum was seven years ago in Arms and the Cow by the composer Kurt Weil. It was a fantastic production. I will soon be starring there in a Puccini Gala concert in aid of the Lyceum Theatre Trust, date to be confirmed.
Nonna’s, Ecclesall Road
My first dinner date with Giles was here and in recent times I’ve taken my sister Alexandra to sit at the window and watch the world go by. I lived in Italy during the summer of 2000 when I played Maria in West Side Story at La Scala in Milan, so the authenticity of Nonna’s and the Italian staff always transports me back there. Performing at the world’s most famous opera house was incredible and to have trodden the same boards as Callas and Pavarotti (not to mention using the same dressing rooms) was so inspiring. My Italian improved immensely and Nonna’s reminds me of all the little Italian cafes in the Galleria and in the shadow of the Duomo.
Weston Park Hospital
I am very proud to be performing at the Proms at the Priory in Worksop to help raise money for such a fantastic hospital. I now live in Nottingham and this is still my closest dedicated cancer hospital. Cancer is something that touches many lives, so I jumped at the opportunity to perform close to home again and support the charity.
Proms at the Priory.
Singing at Hodsock Priory gives me an opportunity to perform in front of friends and those who supported me in the early days. I always look forward to singing in front of my parents, Ann and Ian, who still live in Ecclesall. It’s going to be a fantastic day! Come along and bring your picnics and deck chairs!
Ever since I was a child I have always loved walking round the Botanical Gardens. I think that’s one of my earliest memories. Back then they were quite rundown, so it has been great to see how they have been so beautifully restored. Sheffield is well served by parks and open spaces and it’s fantastic to have the gardens so close to my parents’ house. It is lovely to be able to share memories and create new ones with my daughters, Emilia, 11, and Hannah, nine.
I love how close Sheffield is to the countryside, and I always enjoy walking around Bakewell and Hathersage. They’re so beautiful and they never seem to run out of exciting tea shops. It’s only when you leave that you truly appreciate the Peak District. I left Sheffield in 1990 when I was 19 and started studying music at the University of Essex. Then I secured a scholarship at the Royal College in London which was an amazing place to live, but a far cry from Sheffield and Derbyshire.