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MUSIC star Darius is training as a bullfighter for his new opera role.

The Pop Idol legend is taking lessons from a Spanish matador to get him ready to play the part of dashing hero Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen.

He is also learning how to sword-fight and how to use the magenta and gold "capote", which is Spanish for dress cape.

Darius said: "I am being trained and given tips by a real bullfighter, so it is really exciting.

"I will also be going to see a bullfight in Spain, although it will be the weekend after I have performed, unfortunately.

"But it will be a nice way to end what has been a really disciplined rehearsal period.

"Hopefully by then my bullfighting skills will be really up to scratch."

Matadors draw in the bull by waving their cape around.

They dodge the animal's charges to wear it down, before eventually moving in for the kill with their sword.

Unfortunately for Darius, who hit number one in 2002 with Colourblind, he has not been able to practice his new skills at home in the run-up to the show, which takes place at London's O2 Arena on May 23.

They are using authentic capes in the production ,which cost thousands of pounds, so he has to make do with twirling a towel around instead.

Darius, originally of Bearsden, Glasgow, said: "Because they are the genuine article and very expensive, I haven't been able to take any of the capes home with me. They are made with gold thread and special silk, and are worth pounds 6000 each, so I wouldn't want to damage one, that's for sure."

Darius was speaking as he took a break from rehearsals to attend the Sunday Mail's Young Scot Awards.

The 29-year-old got the role in Carmen after winning ITV1 show Popstar To Operastar.

The lavish production is a one-night spectacular with a cast of more than 200 dancers, fire-eaters, acrobats and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Darius, who recently changed his name from Danesh to Campbell to reflect his Scottish roots, said: "I want to thank the people of Scotland for their support.

"If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have stayed on Popstar to Operastar and the producers wouldn't have been able to watch me."

Darius' debut album Dive In went to number six in the UK charts 2002 and turned platinum after he came third on TV talent show Pop Idol. It spawned the chart-topping single Colourblind and he went on to have four more hits.

Darius has also taken the West End by storm, appearing in musicals Chicago, Guys and Dolls and Trevor Nunn's adaptation of Gone with the Wind.

Earlier this year, he broke up with Hollywood actress and fiance Natasha Henstridge because they were finding it difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship, SUNDAY EMAIL


Training: Darius has been taking lessons from a matador to prepare for part
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 2, 2010
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