Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Football Players Turned Opera Singers

On stage and on the field
(top to bottom): Keith Miller,
Lawrence Harris and Ta'u Pupu'a
Before Ta'u Pupu'a and Keith Miller, there was Lawrence Harris. It seems a natural transition for these hulking football players to swap the astroturf stage for the opera house stage. No matter how far these worlds seem apart, they both require putting on a performance. The biggest difference may just be in the locker rooms.

"Lawrence Harris may have the distinction of being the only ex-pro-football player/Native American opera singer in America (he’s half Choctaw on both sides of his family). A former offensive lineman for the Houston Oilers, Harris quit professional football in 1989 to start on a second career as an opera singer and performer. Harris has received a number of accolades and acclaim for his work as an opera singer. The New York Times critic, Bernard Holland hailed Lawrence Harris as a 'major voice' following his New York debut. Jon Vickers praised Mr. Harris as having one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Phyllis Curtin, having heard Mr. Harris'
work, has endorsed him as a significant singer of the Verdi repertoire. Harris has appeared in over 30 operatic roles, both as a heldentenor and as a baritone. He continues to sing in opera houses around the country and world, and has created a unique program, entitled 'From Football to Opera,' which he brings to schools and libraries around the country."

"The Texas A&M University-Commerce Music Department presented baritone opera singer Lawrence Harris and professional pianist Renee Guerrero in concert at 7:30 pm on Jan. 21. Originally an NFL player from 1975 to 1983, Harris left the game to pursue his passion for singing, which he claims to have had for most of his life. 'I started singing when I was very small,' Harris said. 'When my career was over when I was injured, I came back to music because music was always there for me.'"
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