Singing Swiss bus driver steers for stardom

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A singing Swiss bus driver, who practices once the passengers have got off, has stepped into the limelight in Switzerland with her stunning rendition of Puccini opera in a television talent show.

Maya Wirz, who claims she lets rip with her soprano voice when the bus is empty, was driving the number 78 in the humble northern town of Liestal when the pre-recorded show was screened late Saturday, SonntagsZeitung reported.

Dubbed "Switzerland's Susan Boyle" by the media, the 49 year-old told the newspaper she was getting a bit fed up with 13 years at the wheel, despite her partner Roger's reticence.

"I want to sing for heavens's sake," said Wirz.

Looking awkward and frozen by stage fright as she stood in front of the microphone, Wirz then left the three-member jury including Europop icon DJ Bobo agog within seconds of launching into "O mio babbino caro", in the first round of "Die groessten Schweizer Talente" (The biggest Swiss talents).

The show on Swiss-German public television SFTV is based on the franchised "Got Talent" TV programmes in Britain, which have launched homebound hummers into stardom including phone salesman turned opera singer Paul Potts and Briton Susan Boyle.

While Wirz instantly drew a standing ovation and captured the media's ear, the first screening of the Swiss competition was slated by TV critics.

Wirz, who was captivated by hearing opera as a child, was reportedly first coaxed onto stage by the bus company's boss for its centenary.

She also sings in the bath.

© 2011 AFP

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