HOME is where the heart is for superstar soprano Mirusia Louwerse.
The darling of the international opera stage, who rose to fame alongside violinist and conductor Andre Rieu, has returned home to Birkdale for a solo tour to thank her fans.
The tour, appropriately named Home, kicks off at Redlands Performing Arts Centre on Thursday, July 5, before concerts in Brisbane, Melbourne and at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Redlands is where her career started nearly 20 years ago, when she was six singing I saw Mummy Kissing Santa Claus on stage at the Dutch Retirement Village, Birkdale.
Even at that early age, mum Henja knew her daughter had what it took to be an international opera diva.
"She got up on stage but refused to start singing until the choir, from the previous act, had left the stage," Mrs Louwerse said.
"From that day onwards it was obvious she would have a career singing or on the stage."
Mirusia graduated from Ormiston College in 2002 and completed a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree at the Queensland Conservatorium, before being snapped up by Rieu and thrust on to the world stage.
But after five years living in Maastricht, in the Netherlands, while touring the world with Rieu, the 27-year-old diva from Birkdale is glad to be back.
"I am still working with Andre but have decided to do some solo work while I can and now is the right time for me because I felt like I wanted to come home," she said.
"I wanted to do a home tour starting in my home, Redlands, as a way to show my appreciation to this country."
Mirusia said the idea for the tour came from her fans, who kept asking to hear more of her own music and singing solo.
One of the highlights of the Home tour will be Mirusia singing her hit Schubert's Ave Maria, which clocked up a whopping 6.5million hits on YouTube.
Another highlight will be the tour's signature song, also called Home, written by Alexandra Hills musician Kim Durant, who is married to the city's deputy mayor Alan Beard and is famous for her Love You Brisbane jingle.
"Kim wrote the song when she was living in Sydney and was feeling homesick and I heard it and it instantly appealed to me so I decided to record it," Mirusia said.
"In the beginning, Kim and Alan were the only ones in the Redlands who really supported me - financially, and coming to see me in concerts and networking.
"There's every chance that this song, Home, could become as popular as Love You Brisbane and possibly even an anthem for the Redlands," she Mirusia said.
Also in the concert lineup, will be Mirusia's own composition, Forever Shine, a love song she wrote in 2010.
The singer is quick to point out it is not about Rieu and was written about an "Australian man I could not believe was in my life".
Special guest at the concert will be ex-Yellow Wiggle Sam Moran.
"When I was making my decision to come back home to go solo, I heard the same thing was happening with Sam, who was also changing his career path," Mirusia said.
"I rang him up and found out he's a classic singer and we got on really well. It will be nice for the audience to see him when he is not in the role of a Wiggle."
After her performance at RPAC, Mirusia will perform at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Saturday, July 7, before the two-week tour moves to Melbourne's Regal Ballroom on July 13 with the finale at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday, July 14.
It won't be Mirusia's first time on stage at the famous Sydney venue. She performed there to a packed house in 2007 as part of the Scotland the Brave tour.
"Once you are on stage, every performance takes up the same amount of energy and even though the Sydney Opera House is beautiful, I am really excited about performing at RPAC," she said.
"There's a special VIP pack available for Redland so guests can go backstage after the concert to meet me and get their CDs signed and meet the cast or get their photo taken with me," she said.
Tickets are available at the RPAC Box Office, 2-16 Middle Street, Cleveland or phone 3829 8131 or online at www.rpac.com.au (a $2 booking fee applies to online purchases)