Cliff Zammit Stevens : Climbing Onto the World Stage

Is Blogs - Cliff Zammit Stevens1

With his seventh annual summer concert just around the corner, I caught up with Cliff in his home town of St. Paul’s Bay.  But how did this charming young Maltese man, find himself singing alongside world class tenor Joseph Calleja and global superstar Anastacia at the young age of 27?

“When I was about 10 or 11, I started going to karaoke nights with my aunt and I fell in love with the whole performance aspect of it all; my aunt told me about an audition for a musical here in Malta.  I auditioned and got the part of the lion in the Wizard of Oz at the Manoel Theatre.  I was 11 years old; It was amazing for me, at this young age, to have such a leading role, and I immediately thought “wow!  This is what I want to do!” I joined Stagecoach and then moved to Masquerade Theatre & Arts School.

I was 14 years old when I met Soprano Gillian Zammit, who is still my teacher and mentor today.  I auditioned for an under graduate in vocal studies at the Royal College of Music in London and I was accepted.  We were only a group of 6 students from all corners of the world. Within the first month or two I realized it was opera I wanted to focus on;  and I fully immersed myself in the experience which was an environment overflowing with young, passionate, talented and determined people all wanting to make it big…….I slowly began to realize that I was lucky enough to have a promising voice which could be developed into a successful operatic voice; opera being one of the most difficult art forms, so I knuckled down, worked hard and focused on developing my skills.

For the last 7 years I have been focusing full time on opera, based at the Royal College of Music in London.  I spent 4 years as an Under Graduate and 2 years working on my Masters; This is now my first year working as a professional opera singer.

It can be nerve-wracking; you are in competition with many singers who all want to make it; so the competition is tough, but luckily it has been going well, and since I graduated a year ago, I have been working constantly.”

Since graduating from the Royal College of Music, Cliff has performed at several prestigious venues including Glyndebourne, which has been home to the Glyndebourne Festival Opera since 1934.  “I was performing in “Carmen” which is a huge production of four acts with four different sets.  I love being backstage, it’s so exciting; watching the stage being set up, the props, the wig department and witnessing the whole production coming together seamlessly…..”

Cliff was also fortunate enough to have been chosen as one of the first students to be sponsored by the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation.  “I am very grateful for this scholarship as it has afforded me the opportunity to dedicate my time and energy to my voice and my career”

It has been quite a year for Cliff; this year he was asked to join Joseph Calleja on stage at his annual summer concert in Malta, which took place on 3rd August; “I was just over the moon when Joseph asked me to join his summer concert! I had been waiting for this moment for a long time; I had sung with Joseph in his previous two Christmas Concerts for the BOV Joseph Calleja Foundation, however, these are on a much smaller scale.  This summer’s concert was on a completely different scale; with an audience of 20,000 people, televised on Sky Arts and featuring Joseph Calleja and global superstar Anastacia.  It has always been my dream to perform with Joseph in his summer concert.  I used to sit in the audience thinking “one day….” When it actually happened, I did feel very nervous, but I just enjoyed every moment of the evening; It was truly a fantastic experience, feeling the positive energy coming from the audience and their appreciation of the performance.”

Cliff is now only 24 hours away from his own seventh annual summer concert, having started at the young age of 20.  The first one was small and intimate, in the music room at St. James Cavalier, in front of 100 people. Every year it has grown, both in terms of audience numbers and repertoire.  This year’s concert will take place at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, and for the first time Cliff will be accompanied by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra.  Cliff will also perform duets with guest soprano Hannah Sandison.

What is next on the agenda?  “On my return to the UK after my Malta concert, I will debut at St. Martin in the Fields in London’s Trafalgar Square, followed by various concerts in London and New York and from March 2016, I will be back at Glyndebourne for a few months.

My dream is to have a successful career performing around the world.  It is a constant work in progress… a lot of hard work; driven by the vision of performing in the great opera houses of the world; the Royal Opera House, the Metropolitan, La Scala….I am just happy to be doing what I love……..”

And a final word of advice to any young people thinking about a career in opera?

“Work hard, focus, follow your heart, follow your dream and make sure you enjoy the journey!”


Cliff Zammit Stevens’ annual concert will take place this Friday, 4th September at 8:00 pm. See Cliff’s website for more information.


error: Content is protected !!