ACT News


Mexican tenor to become citizen in Canberra on Australia Day

Last time he was in Canberra, Mexican tenor Diego Torre was filling the National Arboretum with his glorious voice.

This time he will be taking the oath to become an  Australian. 

On Tuesday - Australia Day - he will be taking centre stage at the national citizenship ceremony.

And, he has been asked to sing the national anthem at the ceremony by Lake Burley Griffin to be attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Torre will be one of 27 people from 13 countries becoming an Australian citizen on Tuesday in the national capital on Rond Terrace.

The 36-year-old Opera Australia star has been in Australia since 2011.


It was the birth of his daughter Johanna, now seven-months-old, that convinced him he wanted to become an Australian citizen.

"Everyone has been really, really nice to me, so supportive. Always with a happy face. I really like it so much," he said.

"When my daughter was born I just realised I wanted her to also share all these feelings. I think it's an amazing way to be.

"So when she was born my wife and I decided Australia would be a wonderful place to raise her.

"Opera Australia has been so supportive and I feel really this is my home. I have worked all around the world and for the first time that I feel that I'm home. I'm working doing what I love and at the same time I found this big family which is Opera Australia."

Torre said he was living in New York when he met Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini who "was really excited about hearing my voice".

"He invited me to come to Australia, which I did, in 2011," he said.

"My first opera [for Opera Australia] was La Boheme [in 2013] which I sang 23 times in a row. It was a marvellous experience, everyone was really happy and I got some nice reviews.

"So since that moment, to now, I've been working with Opera Australia."

His wife Paula, a Mexican-born musician and lawyer, is intending to apply for Australian citizenship in the middle of this year. Their daughter was actually born in America.

"She was born in the USA but after 15 days she was flying to Australia so I think she's more Aussie than American," he said.

Torre said he had never been tempted to take US citizenship.

"I'm a resident there but I never felt the same as with people here. It's different in Australia," he said.

"It's far away from everywhere else. The system is not corrupt like other countries. It is a peaceful country."

Torre's first visit to Canberra was last November when he sang at Voices in the Forest. He was thrilled to be asked to sing the national anthem at the citizenship ceremony upon his return.

"It's exciting," he said. "When they asked me to do it, 'Yes, of course. It's going to be my honour to do it'."

It will be a flying visit for the star who is in rehearsals for the opera Luisa Miller which will be performed at the Sydney Opera House next month.