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Christmas homecoming with Belle Voci at Chester Cathedral

Emily Burnett, left, and Sophie Rowland getting in tune for their favouite event of the year – Christmas with Belle Voci. Barry Jeffries
Emily Burnett, left, and Sophie Rowland getting in tune for their favouite event of the year – Christmas with Belle Voci. Barry Jeffries

Belle Voci (beautiful voices in Italian) are the Cheshire operatic duo with such a big following in their home county, they’ve moved their Christmas show to Chester Cathedral. The performance will mark the end of a productive 2023 for Emily Burnett and Sophie Rowland.

From the live finals of ITV’s The Voice UK to the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, supporting Alfie Boe to multiple national award nominations, three albums and two iTunes Classical No. 1 singles, the astonishing operatic duo have had quite a journey since they met while they were both working in a Chester pub.

Their mission of 'Opera for Everyone', is well underway as the dynamic duo continue to showcase their fresh take on opera classics, musical theatre greats and modern songs sung with their unique Belle Voci* twist, and regale tales of their unlikely journey so far.

*Beautiful voices in Italian

CONNECTIONS

Emily: I was born and bred in Cheshire, and grew up on a little farm in Shocklach. I was educated at Abbeygate College and then Durham University. My dreams to pursue opera then took me to London, however, I realised Chester was where my heart is and have recently moved back for good.

Sophie: I too was raised in and around Chester. I went to the Queen's School until the age of 18. I then also moved to London to train at the London School of Musical Theatre, and like Emily, I knew Chester was the place for me.

HOME

Emily: Having just moved back from London, I am in the process of renovating my dream home in Westminster Park, Chester with my husband.

Sophie: I live in Hoole (or should we say ‘Notting Hoole’) with my husband and new baby boy. We absolutely adore the neighbourhood. Emily and I especially enjoy nipping to SHORT + STOUT for a quick business breakfast.

THE PEOPLE

Emily: During our time on The Voice, we really felt the full support of people in Cheshire. There were posters on driveways saying ‘vote Belle Voci’, people even had T-shirts made and were wearing them in the pubs. It was unbelievable and we are so grateful for the support we have received ever since.

Sophie: That support has only grown and we still have such a loyal local following who turn up time and time again to hear us warble. The people of Cheshire come out every year to our favourite event, ‘Christmas with Belle Voci’, so much so that we have to now hold it at the stunning Chester Cathedral as it’s the biggest venue Cheshire has to offer.

FAVOURITE PLACES

Emily: There are so many incredible places in Cheshire to choose from. Sophie and I have a rather unorthodox approach to writing and planning our performances. We find our creative juices flow best in the surroundings of a good country pub, our favourite being The Grosvenor Arms at Aldford, and The Henry Potts and The Architect in Chester.

Sophie: As well as being business and singing partners, people are often quite surprised to learn we’re actually really good friends too (most of the time!). We love going for a good walk or jog, particularly around Chester Racecourse and the meadows. We typically follow this with delicious coffee and a chinwag at The Jaunty Goat.

EVENTS

Emily: Cheshire has so many incredible events throughout the calendar year, but for us, our favourite time is always Christmas. It’s a crazy busy period for us (just the way we like it), as we gear up for our biggest show of the year. This year is no exception and rehearsals are well underway for ‘Christmas with Belle Voci’ at Chester Cathedral.

THE SPIRIT OF CHESHIRE

Sophie: We have the best city of course. Chester has such a lovely buzz about it. The people are lovely; it has so much to offer with its rich cultural heritage and the pubs and restaurant aren’t so bad either...

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2023

Sophie: We’ve had a really exciting year so far, packed with lots of adventures, both in the UK and internationally. Probably the highlight for us both was performing in absolute paradise – a private island in Malaysia where we stayed in a hut on stilts over the sea and sang alongside Pavarotti’s flautist at a special opera retreat. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Christmas with Belle Voci

December 15

7.30pm to 9.45pm

Tickets: From belle voci.co.uk or Chester Cathedral Box Office.

Programme: Expect a mix of Christmas and classical greats along with bigger and better arrangements of songs you will know and love. Belle Voci will be joined by their fabulous musician friends from the West End. A wonderful spectacle for all the family, described as the perfect introduction to opera.



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