Fast-fast forward to 2018, and the compelling singer has performed across the nation, made television appearances and won myriad awards.
With Italian blood running through his veins from both sides of his family, Tamburini says his upbringing in the close-knit Italian community of Doncaster influenced his passion for singing and music.
His father migrated to Australia from Tuscany in the 1950s as a teenager.
The eldest of three sons, he came alone and found work in this new and foreign land, with his family later joining him.
On the other hand, Tamburini’s mother was conceived in Treviso and made the voyage to Australia inside her mother’s womb before being born in Melbourne.
The couple later met and began their own family, passing on the Italian culture and traditions they’d grown up with and held so close to their hearts.
“One of my greatest childhood memories is at the end of every occasion, like a party or barbecue or dinner dance at the Veneto Club, everyone would get together and sing Italian folk songs,” Tamburini recalls.
“I remember that so vividly… them getting together to sing to celebrate their lives together, where they’d come from, where they were, what they’d achieved and their relationship with each other.
“It was all celebrated by song and that informed my decision to want to make music in some way.”
When Tamburini’s parents caught him as a child intently watching his aunt play the piano and trying to copy her, they decided to send him to piano lessons.
A natural musician, he sang with the Victorian Boys Choir from the age of five and was also a member of the St Patrick’s Cathedral Choir from the age of 10.
Now a well-known name on the Australian opera scene, Tamburini will return to his roots and perform all three productions for Opera Australia’s Melbourne Spring Season before a home crowd.
Tamburini made his role debut as Alcindoro in La Bohème in 2011 and has performed the opera every year since.
This season marks his 100th performance in the role.
“La Bohème is one of the most famous operas ever written and performed,” Tamburini says.
“It’s a great story of boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy loses girl.
“It’s always such a pleasure to be a part of this opera.”
Tamburini is also eager to perform the role of Chief Clerk in Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka’s grotesque tragedy of a man turned insect.
Arguably Kafka’s most famous work, the text was transformed into an opera by Brian Howard in the 1980s.
“Howard took what was the vernacular of the ‘80s minimalist orchestration,” Tamburini explains.
“He uses instruments such as the electric guitar, horns and bassoon in a non-traditional way to create a landscape which is quite bug-like and which evokes a sense of unease.
“There’s always something changing and morphing.”
Tamburini made his role debut in Metamorphosis in Sydney and was unsure what to expect when it came to audience response due to the opera’s unique nature.
“After hearing what people had to say, I’d say that it’s essentially interpreted as a play in the truest sense, where the actors sing to each other instead of delivering lines,” he says.
“It has a very cinematic orchestral soundtrack… it’s unlike any opera I’ve ever performed.”
Catch Tamburini’s compelling performance in Metamorphosis at the Coopers Malthouse from October 25 to 27.
He will then perform in La Bohème at the Arts Centre Melbourne from November 7 to 24, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the same venue from November 13 to 22.
For more information and tickets, visit Opera Australia's website.