MANCHESTER, NH — Irish tenor Anthony Kearns and his soaring vocals will take the Palace Theatre stage on April 18 for a one-night celebration of the kind of music that feeds the soul.
“Irish music is so emotional – there’s a bit of sadness to it, from years of oppression. The Irish are a strong people. We have always found a way out of the darkness through song and dance, and we’ve shown that in abundance,” says Kearns.
When he’s not touring as one of the founding members of the world-famous The Irish Tenors, Kearns takes his solo show on the road, giving him a chance to create a more intimate experience with audiences.
“When I’m on my own I get to perform what I want to perform, and I’m not tied to a library of songs. I have the freedom to select what I want to select and what I think an audience will enjoy,” says Kearns. “It’s more intimate with just a piano and voice.”
Before joining forces with fellow Irish Tenors Finbar Wright and Ronan Tynan in 1998, Kearns rose to national attention in his home country of Ireland in 1993 when he won a national radio competition, “Ireland’s Search for a Tenor.”
One of the perks of winning was an appearance on the country’s top TV show, Gay Byrne’s Late Late Show.
“It’s the largest TV show in Ireland, and once you’ve made it there, you’ve made it,” says Kearns.
In addition to the TV show, Kearns says his true big break was being introduced to Veronica Dunne, not only a top sought-after singing coach in Ireland, but a well-connected business professional.
“She worked in opera all her life, and had so many connections – that was the key ingredient for me. I was green and young and had a raw voice. I liken it to a race horse – I had the talent but needed to be broken,” Kearns says.
From that point he learned all aspects of the business, and to this day credits his strong foundation for sustaining him two decades later.
“You need business acumen, you need to be clever. Of course, if you can’t stand up and sing, forget about it. We’ve seen it happen with singers who make names for themselves and then the whole thing falls apart. Without a foundation that’s not solid, everything crumbles,” says Kearns.
He will be bringing a mix of musical styles to the Palace audience, showing his range, from traditional Irish music to his mastery of classic opera.
“You can become complacent and sing an evening of Irish songs – and that’d be great and most people will like it well enough – but then the Prozac and hankies will be coming out, after 25 classic Irish songs in a row,” Kearns says, with a laugh.
He grew up emulating the greats, like John McCormack and Enrico Caruso, which for him reinforced the truth that for music to reach an audience, it has to come from the soul.
“That’s what we’re all aiming for, honest to goodness straight from the soul,” Kearns says.
This will be a return visit to the Palace for Kearns, who says the best part about touring is, without a doubt, meeting the fans.
“You have to pinch yourself from time to time and never lose sight of what you’re doing. I know I could easily be back home shoveling dirt and digging potatoes,” says Kearns. “Irish music is a language within itself, and when someone can travel the four corners of the earth, for years and years of music, wherever the tune turns, it’s fantastic.”
Anthony Kearns performs one show at the Palace Theatre on April 18. Click here for tickets. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $29.50-$49.50.
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