Young Zeeshan is hand-picked for a starring opera role

Zeeshan Mahmud at the Butterfly House, Cumberland House Natural History Museum. ''Picture: Neil Marshall (171149-2)
Zeeshan Mahmud at the Butterfly House, Cumberland House Natural History Museum. ''Picture: Neil Marshall (171149-2)
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A YOUNG boy has been hand-picked to perform among international opera stars.

Seven-year-old Zasheen Mahmud will take to the stage of the Kings Theatre this week to perform alongside world-class singers from the Russian State Opera.

A young chorister, he has been chosen play the son of Madama Butterfly in the internationally-renowned opera of the same name, written by Giacomi Puccini in 1903.

Zasheen, who lives with his family in Southsea, will be accompanied on-stage by an extensive cast and over 30 live orchestra musicians.

Speaking ahead of his big performance, Zeeshan said: ‘I am delighted to be selected by the world class Madama Butterfly opera show to play the role of Madama Butterfly’s son.

‘I just love singing and this is why I am a chorister at the Portsmouth Cathedral.

‘When I am singing in the choir I feel very peaceful and united as one.’

While singing is currently a hobby for Zeeshan – who says his favourite radio station is Classical FM – he hopes his interest could lead to an even brighter future.

He said: ‘I want to become a world-class chorister one day.

‘Coming from a Muslim background it is really unusual to have such an ambition, but I wish to be the first well-known Muslim chorister.

‘I recently went to a chorister residential course in Whitby run by the Royal School of Church Music, which I loved.

Zeeshan – a pupil at Fernhurst Junior School in Southsea – is also a part of a local theatre group.

He recently played the role of a pawn in a performance of Alice in Wonderland.

Speaking about his hobbies outside of music and performance, Zeeshan said: ‘I really enjoy playing rounders as it involves working really hard on your own as well as part of a team – and of course it is really fun too’

‘I also enjoy badminton and swimming, as they allow me to my put energy to great use.’

Set in Japan at the turn of the century, Madama Butterfly is thought to be among the most colourful and exotic of all operas.

Its themes tackle tragedy and sorrow, while it also features joyful spring melodies.

The Russian State Opera will be performing Madama Butterfly at the Kings Theatre on Thursday, September 14 at 7:30pm.

Tickets start from £30 – to book call the box office on (023) 982 8282.