OPERA North tenor Nicholas Watts will perform at the York Proms, in the Museum Gardens, in his home city of York, on Sunday.

Here he answers Charles Hutchinson’s questions about his early musical steps, the Proms, York and Opera North.

Where did you study and where and what did you first sing in York?

“I was born in York, but grew up in a village just outside the city, and so went to school in Knaresborough.

“I didn’t actually start singing until I was 16, so my first musical experiences in the city were as a violinist at York Music Centre, which used to be based at Queen Anne’s School on Saturday mornings.

“I made my way up through the various groups, until I was finally a member of the main symphony orchestra. It was a great introduction to making music, and it was those early experiences that really gave me the confidence and enthusiasm to go on and pursue a career in music.

“It’s sad to think that this opportunity no longer exists for the children of York.”

When did you last sing in York?

“I recently sang with the choir of York Minster on Easter Day. My daughter is a chorister with the choir, and so it was a real thrill to sing alongside her for the first time.”

Is this your first involvement with the York Proms?

“Yes, I’ve been involved with many other similar concerts, but this will be the first time in York.”

What will be your Proms highlights on Sunday?

“One of the pieces I’m singing is Roses Of Picardy, a song made popular during the First World War.

“My Great Grandfather, who lived in York, was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme, and so it will be really special to perform this song in his memory.”

Why are Proms concerts so popular?

“I think they’re a wonderful way for people of all generations to enjoy classical music together. The atmosphere is always very light hearted and fun, and they’re just a great summer tradition.”

What’s coming up for you next? More Opera North roles?

“I’ll be back with Opera North in the New Year, singing the role of Peter Quint in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn Of The Screw.

“It’s a pretty spooky part to play, as Quint is a ghost, but it’s a great opera, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Did a particular singer inspire you when you were growing up?

“I didn’t really get into opera until I began to study singing, but my favourite singer of all time is the German tenor Fritz Wunderlich. Listening to him sing Mozart’s arias from The Magic Flute always puts a smile on my face.”

What do you love most about living in York?

“I lived away for over ten years during the early part of my career, but I never stopped thinking of York as home.

“When I’m working away, people always say what a beautiful city it must be to live in, but, for me, it’s more the fact that I have roots here, and that my family still live close by.”