AMANUAEL Visser is just a year 6 boy at St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School at Wangaratta, but give him a microphone and he can stun thousands.
The boy soprano, 11, did just that at Opera in the Alps on Saturday when he sang Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu with Marina Prior.
“Step forward, my darling, I’m just the backing,” Prior told him as folk wondered how he could cope with singing with a large, professional orchestra and an internationally known singer.
Out poured a voice of remarkable clarity and beauty for one so young.
But those who’ve heard him on YouTube will know that one of his favourite songs is You Haven’t Heard the Last of Me.
As he has a few years before his voice breaks, that’s bound to be true, but he is set on a musical future beyond that.
Amanuael came to prominence on TV’s Young Talent Time last year, and is often referred to, in a nice way, as “the Ethiopian kid”.
He was born in the impoverished African country and as an orphan baby was adopted by a Byron Bay couple, Michele and Michael Visser, whom he calls mum and dad.
Last year the Vissers moved to Wangaratta and Amanuael appeared at the Albury and Wang-aratta carols by candlelight, but these are just the beginning.
Mrs Visser said they had to turn down an offer for Amanuael to join the London production of The Lion King musical.
“He’s young and it’s too far away,” she said.
But Amanuael will be auditioning in Albury for Australia’s Got Talent in April as the show moves to Channel Nine.
Before that, he will sing the national anthem at Wangaratta’s Australia Day celebrations.
Mrs Visser said she and her husband had no musical background.
“Amanuael gets it all from his birth parents in Ethiopia,” she said.
“He’s been singing since he was three.”
Amanuael sat with his parents for most of the Opera in the Alps, but ran to and from the artists’ tents to meet the other singers.
He asked Marina Prior to straighten his bow tie.
“My mum will kill me if it isn’t straight,” he said.