Maltese tenor Nico Darmanin studied law in Malta before winning a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music in London, perfecting his skills at the prestigious National Opera Studio. Upon graduating, he was engaged as Danieli in the Olivier award-winning production of Verdi’s Vêpres siciliennes at the Royal Opera House under Antonio Pappano, and was immediately reinvited in the same season as Die Stimme des Jünglings in R. Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten conducted by Semyon Bychkov and staged by Claus Guth. Shortly after, Nico made his Opera Vlaanderen debut as the Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier and as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Opera Holland Park, and appeared as Belfiore in Il Viaggio a Reims at the renowned Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, where he also participated in a masterclass with Juan Diego Flórez.
Nico Darmanin debuted at the Scottish Opera singing Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola and made his Wexford Festival Opera debut with the role of Baron de Mergy in Louis Ferdinand Hérold’s Le Pré aux clercs. He was a finalist at the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
He has subsequently established himself as a leading exponent of bel canto repertoire and is particularly admired for his thrilling interpretations of Rossini with appearances including Count Almaviva (Welsh National Opera, Opéra National de Lorraine), Don Ramiro (The Grange Festival), Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri (Tiroler Landestheater), Uberto in La Donna del lago (Buxton International Festival), Rodrigo in Otello (Valletta Teatru Manoel), Le Comte Ory (Dorset Opera Festival) and Alberto in La Gazzetta (Salzburg Landestheater). Add to this Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale (Opéra de Dijon, Welsh National Opera) and Elvino in Bellini’s Sonnambula (Buxton International Festival).
More recently, Nico debuted at the Teatro Regio Torino as Count Almaviva in Pierre-Emmanuel Rousseau’s staging of Il Barbiere di Siviglia conducted by Diego Fasolis and made his Théâtre des Champs-Elysées house debut with Louise Bertin’s Fausto alongside Christophe Rousset. He also took the stage as Don Ottavio in Marc Minkowski’s Da Ponte Trilogy at the Opéra de Bordeaux, a role he had already embraced for the Tel Aviv Israeli Opera, Nederlandse Reisopera, Welsh National Opera and Opera Vlaanderen.
In other repertoire, the Maltese tenor has had notable successes with engagements as Alfredo in La Traviata (Opéra de Limoges, Opera North), Nadir in Bizet’s Pêcheurs de perles (Opera North) and Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Teatru Manoel). He is also a regular guest at the Estonian National Opera where his roles have included Ernesto, Alfredo and Gounod’s Roméo.
On the concert platform Nico Darmanin has given recitals in the US and Canada as well as in Europe, and has appeared in concert performances as Nicias (Massenet, Thaïs), as Osiride (Rossini, Mosè in Egitto) with Chelsea Opera Group and as Raimbaut (Meyerbeer, Robert le Diable) under Marc Minkowski in Bordeaux, which resulted in a multi award-winning recording. His discography also includes recordings of Arthur Sullivan and Massenet, both with Richard Bonynge.
Recent and forthcoming engagements include Rinaldo in Rossini’s Armida at Teatru Manoel in Malta and a return to the role of Don Ottavio in a new Mariame Clément production of Don Giovanni for the Glyndebourne Opera Festival. Nico Darmanin will return to Tallinn for Alfredo (Verdi, La Traviata), Uberto (Rossini, La Donna del lago) and Carlo (Verdi, Giovanna d’Arco) and will make his debuts at La Fenice as Almaviva (Rossini, Il Barbiere di Siviglia) in a Renato Palumbo/Bepi Morassi production.