Band Has Striking Pop Looks, Opera Sound

Jan. 16, 2004 -- The members of a hip new band called Amici (which means "Friends") Forever look a lot like the cast of Friends, the TV show.

They're young, gorgeous and sexy — any observer would think the five members of Amici were one of pop music's latest hot bands. But they're not. Instead, they're the hot new band of opera.

They are sopranos Jo Appleby and Tsakane Valentine, tenors Geoff Sewell and David Habbin, and bass baritone Nick Garrett.

"We're billed as an opera band, but what it means really is that instead of having five pop voices, there's five classically trained voices," Garrett said.

The band — made up of a New Zealander, a South African, and three Brits — is the next big thing in classical opera, following the likes Charlotte Church or Russell Watson. BMG is poised to sign them for a whopping $10 million — the largest sum ever paid to a debuting classical act.

Amici Forever promises to stay true to their classical roots, but they still experiment with pop music as well.

"There's a bit of opera, a bit of classical, a bit of pop," Garrett said. "But I think the main link between all of the songs is that classical-sounding voice."

In the end, they may be a new form of not opera, not pop, but a mix of the two. Popera, anyone?

To learn more about Amici, check out