Keswick Theatre
January 31st 2003

Berta Calechman

"Anthony Kearns began his mid-winter tour with a magnificent concert at the Keswick Theatre, in Glenside, Pennsylvania. At least 3/4 of the concert was brand new!

He began with a haunting "Lagan Love". This piece seems to me to personify Irish music, and Anthony sang it with such beauty and emotion that the audience responded to him immediately. As the evening continued, Anthony went from strength to strength, following songs like the delightful "Off to Philadelphia" with a lovely German lied, "Standchen", by Schubert. There were a few old favorites, such as "Phil the Fluther", "Trottin' to the Fair", a gorgeous "Love Thee Dearest", and my favorite, "Terence's Farewell." But most of the program was new.....and very impressive. Anthony ended the first half with an absolutely spectacular "Salut Demeure", from Faust. I don't think I've ever heard him sing it better. The climactic high C was full, ringing, clear as a bell, and right on the mark.

The second half brought more surprises, such as a lovely Fritz Kreisler song, "The Old Refrain", a pensive "As I Sit Here", and a tour-de-force for Anthony, called "The Palatine's Daughter." He also sang "Mattinata", a very popular Italian song, and "Because You're Mine", as a tribute to Mario Lanza, since we were in Lanza's birthplace, and it was Lanza's birthday! By far the most fabulous surprise of all was the inclusion of "E Lucevan le Stelle", from Tosca, by Puccini. To say Anthony sang it gloriously would be an understatement. His voice sounded rich, plangent, and expressive. And he brought out the lyricism of the aria as well. I think in the future, this will be a good role for him. As an encore, Anthony sang "The Hills of Home", written for him by Patrick Healy. It really suits his voice, and the loving way that he and Patrick "connect" is a joy to see and hear. The irrepressible Mr. Healy was his usual lively self. He had new stories, which were extremely funny, and two new songs, one of which- "Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington", by Noel Coward, was a perfect Patrick Healy song. The beautiful and expansive way he accompanied Anthony during the evening, especially in his own wondrous composition, again proved what a consummate musician he is. This was an ambitious and difficult program, but Anthony seemed to sing it effortlessly. He has surely worked hard, but he made it look easy. The Tenor from Kiltealy and the man named Paddy Healy, are truly a dream team."

Berta Calechman