To say 2012 was a pretty busy year for world-class opera singer Robert Tucker would be somewhat of an understatement.
He sang in two productions in different parts of the world, sold the house in Britain and he and his wife Kirsten relocated their family halfway across the globe to Blenheim in August in time for Kirsten to give birth to their second child, Cecilia.
The 32-year-old baritone for the New Zealand Opera said the decision to relocate came on New Year's day in 2012. They were awake at 4.30am trying to entertain their 18-month-old daughter Ingrid, while the temperature outside read minus 10 degrees Celsius.
"We just turned to each other and said ‘what are we doing here?' Plus our visas were up and that sealed the deal."
The Tuckers chose Blenheim to be near family and are presently staying with Kirsten's parents while their three-bedroom house in Renwick is being built.
Robert has been a professional opera singer since 2005 and after moving to Hampshire in Britain in 2007 has performed in operas throughout Britain as well as Japan.
"I particularly enjoyed stints in Tokyo playing Ford in the opera Falstaff by Verdi as well as playing Papageno in The Magic Flute.
He said the life of a professional singer is a lot less glamorous than people think with a gruelling touring schedule which takes him on the road away from his family for eight to 10 weeks at a time.
In fact, part of the reason for coming home was so Kirsten could have family support when he does head off on those long trips, he said.
Having sung in choirs from an early age and appeared in school productions, the shift to opera in his late teens was a natural progression.
He said the path to success in opera needed dedication to the craft and required up to four hours of practice a day in the months leading up to a production to get the lines right, and the personality of the character to feel natural.
"Like anything, you have a certain amount of talent and then you have to put some work in."
He originally studied zoology at university in Dunedin but switched and did a bachelor of music, then did post-graduate studies in Perth in 2005.
"You gravitate to what you are good at."
Robert and Kirsten met at Otago University.
She was studying medicine and is now looking to be a GP in Blenheim when the latest addition to the family, Cecilia, is old enough for her to go back to work.
For now Robert is picking up more and more work, and has a couple of roles with the New Zealand Opera coming up.
He plays Masetto in Don Giovanni by Mozart at the the CSB Canterbury Arena in July.
They have found Marlborough to be a very welcoming place.
"Life is good here," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News