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Quebec singer Fumanti hopes to score with anthem at all-star game

The 31-year-old Quebec singer won't be donning pads or wielding a stick - she's been chosen to sing a bilingual version of the Canadian national anthem at the start of Wednesday's game.

"It's such a pure magic moment where I will share my heart with so many millions of hearts," she said in a telephone interview from Dallas. "This is very special. I'm a new Canadian so it's a perfect start for me and it's really touched my heart a lot."

Fumanti saw some hockey back in her native Italy, although she noted most of the players were Canadians. Since her arrival in Quebec three years ago, her friends have been filling her in on the sport.

And she has a favourite team - "Montreal, of course."

There's a lot about hockey the raven-haired soprano can relate to, she says.

"I think it's beautiful because it's a passion," she said. "And it's a passion for me to sing."

She hopes that passion will carry through to all the players and fans when the puck is dropped after her solo.

"I will enjoy the game after, I'm sure," she said with a laugh.

Fumanti was picked for the all-star game after EMI Music, her record company, approached the NHL.

Fumanti, whose style is a blend of pop and classical music, is happy to sing O Canada for reasons other than a chance to express appreciation to her new home.

"It's wonderful music and at the same time it's very easy," she said. "Normally when I sing songs they are more complicated. So this is a perfect time where, in a simple song, I will put all my heart."

Fumanti has been a professional singer since she was 28 and her career has been taking off in the last six months. Her second album is coming out in March and she has just completed a tour of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea with renowned tenor Jose Carreras.

She came to pursue her career and be with her manager who is based in the Montreal area.

"I arrived in Canada, no English, no French," said Fumanti, who now speaks both languages. "It was very, very special for me to see that so many different people could live so well together."

But she didn't originally plan to be a singer when she was growing up in Aulla, a city north of Tuscany, and instead figured she would be a nun or a missionary.

"I was very shy," she remembers with a chuckle. "At 17 years old, I discovered my voice in the church (choir) and it was a big surprise."

Her family didn't really encourage her because they didn't think singing was a solid job so she studied law. It didn't take.

"Around 22 or 23 years old, the passion and the calling from inside was too strong," she said, and music became her life.

A yoga teacher as well as a singer, Fumanti plans to do her relaxation exercises to prepare for the big game.

And she'll be thinking of her grandmother, who sang her to sleep as a child.

"Her lullabyes were very simple but she put so much heart (into them)," Fumanti recalled. "I will do the same with the anthem, I'm sure."


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