Monday, December 27, 2010

Carl Tanner: Renegade on Renegade

(Photo: Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)
Carl Tanner is a truck driver turned bounty hunter turned opera singer making his Metropolitan Opera debut on Monday. Yes, it’s a long story — but that’s only the beginning. He’ll slip into the role of Dick Johnson, the pistol-packing, high-note-hitting romantic lead in “La Fanciulla del West” for one night, almost like a Wild West bounty hunter who rides into town for what’s called in that trade a quick collar.

Dick Johnson is just the type of guy Mr. Tanner would have pursued in his former life. The two are a renegade and a bounty hunter separated by 100 years. In fact, Mr. Tanner’s life sounds like a modern-day antithesis to that of Dick Johnson, the bandit who falls in love with Minnie (the soprano Deborah Voigt), a bar owner in a California gold rush town in 1849.

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