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From Long Haul Trucking And Bounty Hunting To The Operatic Stage

Carl Tanner's headshot
Courtesy of Carl Tanner
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Opera singer Carl Tanner.

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.

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.