'Chavarotti' wows shoppers in Chesterfield town centre

With his sportswear, backwards cap and pierced ear, Maxwell Thorpe might not look like a stereotypical opera singer - but his vocal talents suggest otherwise.

The 23-year-old singer takes to the streets of Chesterfield with his Staffordshire terrier cross to perform renditions of operatic classics including Nessun dorma and Con te partirò (Time to Say Goodbye). He's even something of an internet sensation: his heartfelt performances have clocked up more than 100,000 hits on YouTube.

Despite his newfound success, Maxwell's got his feet firmly on the ground. "I can only improve and the more I improve the more people will see the beauty of the voice," he said. "It’s a gift, I can’t take any accolade from it."

He's even found humour in his less-than-flattering nickname: "A guy took a video of me in Doncaster - he called it Chavarotti. It is very funny, it is a pun. The guy was sincere. There wasn't any harm meant by it."

Instead of taking the route of many opera-loving singers and auditioning for a TV talent show, Maxwell plans to tour British market towns early next year in the hope of sharing his talent with as many people as possible. His performances are sure to be wide-ranging: he's also a fan of reggae and hip hop.

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