Growing up, Carl Tanner did his best to hide his vocal talent. He played keyboard in a rock band in high school but was reluctant to let out his booming voice. Eventually, a friend overheard him singing and pushed him to join the school choir. His natural ability stunned the instructor, and he started singing hymns at church, too.
Even though he got a degree related to vocal performance, he never saw himself making a living as an opera singer. Instead, to his mother’s chagrin, he got his commercial driver’s license and became a truck driver. He supplemented his meager trucker income by working as a bounty hunter on nights and weekends.
After a few traumatic bounty pick-ups and aptly timed comments about his potential future as a singer, Tanner decided to take the risk and move to New York City to pursue a career in opera. His voice caught the attention of people high-up in the world of opera in the early 90s, and his career took off. He has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, and now that he is a veteran of the opera scene, he hopes to see opera shed its reputation of a high-brow art form only accessible to the elite.
Carl Tanner joins host Frank Stasio in studio to perform the aria “Vesti La Giubba” from the opera “Pagliacci.” The North Carolina Opera presents “Pagliacci” at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts Friday, Jan. 24 and Sunday Jan. 26.