BIRTH OF A TENOR
MEMORIES FROM THE YEAR 2000
Anthony Kearns' First American Solo Concert
April 15, 2000
He may be best equipped of the three (Irish Tenors) to achieve the level of tenor
super stardom now enjoyed by Pavarotti and a handfull of other singers."
Worcester Telegram Gazette
It was April 15, 2000, at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Anthony Kearns was about to walk out on stage for his very first solo US concert.
I wasn't there, it was a bit too far for me, but I've read about it and heard all about it from those that were. In fact I've heard about it so often that I decided it was time for a much delayed review.
He was wonderful, they say! "They" being the faithful and ever-increasing following that began when the Irish Tenors first appeared on PBS. They knew they'd be hearing renditions of Irish favorites, but they weren't quite prepared for the quality of the operatic selections. There was an aria from Gounod's "Faust" and the always well received "La Donna Mobile" .So beautiful.
But most of the audience had come to hear "Irish" and it was Irish that Anthony, and his pianist and delightfully droll companion Patrick Healy, presented.
There was "Danny Boy", of course. "Ireland, Mother Ireland", "The Girl from County Clare", "The Old House." There were more but at this point, four years later, it's hard to remember exactly what they were.
But they do remember thinking of Mario Lanza as Anthony thrilled the audience with "Be My Love" and "Because You're Mine." Bravo was the word from the audience.
What else do they remember? That Ronan Tynan was in the audience and seemed to enjoy the performance as much as everyone else. One person thought she remembered that Ronan was singing along.
"We knew", those lucky enough to be there said,"we knew we'd heard a young man with a very special voice. A young man who was sure to become more and more popular."
Obviously there were right.
And I wish I'd been there!
And we'll include a few observations from the April 16, 2000 issue of the Worcester Telegram Gazette.
KEARNS MAGNIFICANT IN U.S. SOLO DEBUT BOLD SHOW HAS SINGER
WELL ON WAY TO TRANSCENDING IRISH TENOR STEREOTYPE
"He was adamant about transcending the 'Irish Tenor' stereotype while simultaneously making Irish music part of the tenor repertoire." "Kearns succeeded in reaching this goal during lat night's concert."
"On 'La Donna Mobile', Kearns moved effortlessly from a lilting quality in the aria's beginning to a forceful high-note ending that found him holding nothing back."
"Kearns' keening tenor transformed 'Be My Love' into a passionate plea that was beautifully enhanced by what the Irish call 'a turn in the voice,' a certain yearning, wistful quality that the singer displayed in abundance last night. As a solo artist, if Kearns can maintain the high musical standards and impassioned singing that he displayed last night, he could well become a tenor of our times."
And in the days before the concert, more quotes from the
Worcester Telegram Gazette March 16, 2000
GUILD FINDS STRONG VOICE FOR A FREE CLINIC
"When Anthony Kearns takes the stage at Mechanics Hall next month, he will be doing more than being one of the Three Irish Tenors. Kearns, the singer in the middle between John McDermott and Ronan Tynan, will be here to help the Guild of Our Lady of Providence raise money for its new free medical clinic on the lowe level of St. Bernard's Church..."
Worcester Telegram Gazette April 12, 2000
SOLO TENOR MAKE U.S. DEBUT
KEARNS BRINGS IRISH MUSIC, AND MORE, TO WORCESTER
"Anthony Kearns has, what they call back home in Ireland, a turn in the voice. Except when Mr. Kearns pronounces it, the Rs tumble fondly over the tip of his tongue and the word sounds like a place in Italy. 'Teh-rrr-in' he says."
"Mr. Kearns, (who) exactly fits the profile of an Irish tenor with his full-throated brogue, a twinkle in his eye and a Web site(Walter Skelton's) that looks like a page from an Irish tourist brochure."
"When we come over here, I believe we're bringing culture over for those who can't afford to go back to Ireland, who are not familiar with the history and the troubled times and that," he said."...you're covering centuries of music."
Our thanks to the Worcester Telegram Gazette for permitting us to use quotes from the above articles. As you may know, while the use of quotes in moderation is acceptable, The Telegram Gazette, like many other newspapers, does not permit the reprinting of articles and photographs. We will, for that reason, refrain from their reproduction. Those who would like to read the entire article may go online to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette website where the articles can, for a fee, be viewed in their entirety.
Some of you have been telling us what you remember about the first time you saw Anthony in a solo performance. Please...write it down. Maybe it's just "Wow". Or perhaps you'd like to write a paragraph or two. Others would love to know who you are, but if you'd prefer not to give your name....that's fine, too. Either way, please let us know what you remember. Write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have vivid remembrances of your first Irish Tenors concert...we want to hear about that, too. You may have been there....you may have seen your first concert on TV. It doesn't matter. We'll be celebrating the 5th Irish Tenors Anniversary this summer and we're hoping one and all will contribute.
Share those First Concert Memories