Anthony Kearns began his fall concert tour at the University of Hartford, to a packed house, despite torrential rain, and some reported sightings of animals walking two by two, along the highway. There were several dignitaries in attendance, including State Senator Kevin Sullivan, who presented Anthony with a proclamation from the Senate, in appreciation of his coming to Hartford. Also, September 28 was named Anthony Kearns Day, in the city of Bloomfield, CT.
Anthony is singing better and better, each time I hear him. His lower voice has gotten darker and richer, and his upper register has become quite powerful. In a mostly Irish program, he sang the aria "E Lucevan le Stelle", from Tosca, and it brought the house down. This aria really suits him, because besides having the power for it, he also has the lyrical quality for the soft passages. It was magnificently sung. There was a short grouping of Italian songs, including the popular "Mattinata", which was soaring and beautiful. Also, a lovely song titled "A Vucchella", which Anthony sang charmingly. I'll just list some of the beloved Irish songs, as they are so well-known. They included "The Gentle Maiden", "Off to Philadelphia" (a big hit with the audience), "The Palatine's Daughter", "Phil the Fluther", "Little Grey Home in the West", and of course......"Danny Boy." All were marvelously sung, and received great audience response. There were some very special moments. Anthony sang "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz", by Lehar. It has a special meaning to me, and it was exquisite. He sang part in German, and part in English, and the audience cheered at the finish. As is usually the case, there was a Mario Lanza song in the program. This time it was "Because", a very popular song at weddings. It's not my favorite Lanza song, but it was beautifully done. After a period of about 2 years Anthony and Patrick brought back the duet "The Bould Gendarmes." This is from a very obscure opera by Offenbach, and according to Patrick, is the only thing that survives from the opera. The men play 2 policemen who only arrest old ladies, and children, who can't do them any harm. And Anthony even chased butterflies. It was adorable, and the crowd loved it. We also heard the rollicking duet between two tenors, which Patrick wrote for his Gilbert & Sullivan production in Dublin last week. Both men pulled this off with great panache. There was a lovely duet by Ivor Novello, called "We'll Have Lilacs", which was written in the 1930's, and was evocative of pre-war London. It was simple, and quite beautifully done.
Patrick had the luxury of a wonderful piano-not always available-and he played marvelously, and expansively. From the fast-paced Gilbert & Sullivan to the very moving "Pale Hands Beside the Shalimar" (sung very movingly and lyrically by Anthony), he was the compleat accompanist. Always supportive, never overshadowing, and very funny besides. Who could ask for more?