From touring with the Irish Tenors to performing with opera companies and at events attended by global leaders like President Obama, Anthony Kearns has enthralled music lovers worldwide with his powerful voice. Kearns, who currently lives in Orlando, grew up singing traditional songs with his family in Wexford County, Ireland. He still tours with the Irish Tenors, but has numerous solo appearances on his schedule, too. He will grace the stage April 21 at Artis—Naples (tickets cost $35-$145) in the role of the lovesick Nemorino in Gulfshore Opera’s production of Donizetti’s comedy Elixir of Love. The opera will also be staged at locations in Punta Gorda April 15 (Charlotte Performing Arts Center, tickets cost $45-$75).
Here, Kearns talks Elixir, is favorite performance, and singing Garth Brooks.
NI: What’s your take on Elixir?
Kearns: It’s comedy and sadness all mixed into one—the country bumpkin falling in love with a girl who doesn’t want him. I think we’ve all been there at some stage in our lives. It’s a big challenge, a tough role. I like to keep my foot in the door of opera. It keeps you in good vocal shape. For the audience, it is going to be fun.
What are you most looking forward to coming up?
In May, I’m at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with the symphony, and I have a recital there as well. It’s celebrating everything Irish, the 100th anniversary of the Irish uprising in 1916. Anyone Irish who can bang a drum will be celebrating across the world, wherever there are Irish people gathering.
Anthony Kearns as Romeo in Charles Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet.
Photo by Ivan Seligman
What’s your most cherished professional memory?
The Irish Tenors had the great fortune to record a show with PBS on Ellis Island in 2002. It’s hallowed ground where many people, not just the Irish, came through, and it was a moving experience. A recent event I was delighted to be a part of was singing for Pope Francis in Philadelphia at the papal mass in September.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
One that springs to mind is the quintessential Irish act—the Chieftans. They are “Ireland on Tour” as far as I’m concerned and some of the greatest musicians ever.
What’s something few know about you?
I used to sing country music. I used to sing Garth Brooks, with the two-tone shirts, the boots, and the hats and all. Now my dark secret is out.