“No make-up!”…Kenneth Tarver

The American tenor Kenneth Tarver is considered to be one of the outstanding tenore di grazia of his generation, internationally recognized for the beauty of his tone, virtuosic technique, extensive and even vocal range combined with an attractive and elegant stage presence. He has forged his career in many of the most important theatres on the opera circuit including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Dresden Semperoper, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Opéra Comique París, Teatro Capitole Toulouse, Teatro Lirico Trieste, Theatre de La Monnaie Brussels, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro San Carlos Naples and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Which is the main feature of your personality?

I am a tenor.
Your worst flaw?
I don’t remember names very well but I do remember faces.
Which is your star sign?
Virgo – which for me explains why I am a perfectionist.
Are you superstitious?
No, but I do believe in karma. I would not kill a fly but rather love it and send it in the right direction.
Are you a spiritual person?
Absolutely, I thank God everyday for the gift of life, health, freedom, and prosperity.

Have you ever envied someone?
Envy is negative and a waste of time. I am happy for everyone who achieves success, be it wealth, a healthy family or a simple life.
What did you dream to become as an adult when you were a child?
I don’t remember what I dreamed of becoming when I was a child, but so many things that I wished for have happened and so many things have happened that I could have only dreamed.
Did your family influence your choices?
My upbringing was liberating and loving. They encouraged me to express myself and believe in myself.
Which is your most cherished memory?
When I won a substantial scholarship to Interlochen Arts Academy at age 16, my grandmother provided the remaining funds for the tuition. Ten years later, when my grandfather passed, I was able to pay her mortgage so that she could move into a better home.
The moment you felt the proudest?
One of my proudest moments was being accepted to Yale University School of Music. I always dreamed of attending an Ivy league school and that experience lead me to the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Program, the Stuttgart Opera and the international stages of opera, concert and recording.
The greatest disappointment?
Bushes re-election.
What’s missing in your life today?
A pair of miniature Schnauzers, which are my favorite dogs. I had a beautiful Schnauzer named Barnie who lived to be 15 years old. He brought tremendous joy to my life and those around me.
What are you afraid of the most?
Absolutely Nothing.
Do you have a recurrent dream?
I have recurring dreams of flying and ice-skating. Perhaps this is because I love smooth wind and speed.  If I had a choice I would become the god of wind.
How important is money to you?
Money makes the world go around. Money can feed the poor, heal the sick and create a better world- if we let it.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?
Flying home.
Do you collect anything?
Which are your favorite readings?
Architectural Digest.
Which is your favorite perfume?
“Dolce e Gabbana”.
Favorite city?
New York – A place I plan to later call home.
Favorite color?
Favorite flower?
Your favorite singer?
Jazz singer Sarah Vaughan. She had a fantastic technique.
Which is the first record you ever bought?
A box set of Fritz Wunderlich.
The film you love the most?
The Wiz staring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
Your favorite season and why?
Spring – (Easter) – From the dark cold winter arrives freshness and new beginnings.
How is your relationship with technology and which is the electronic gadget you can’t do without?
I cannot live with out my Mac Book Pro computer – Where would we be without Internet access?
How’s your attitude towards TV ?
In general I never watch Television but it has been useful for language comprehension.
How is your relationship with politics?
I’m a democrat and an advocate for the democratic cause.
Do you have causes that are very important for you?
Equal rights, equal education, freedom, animal protection and protection of the environment.
Day or night?
Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?
Wellness Spas.
Tell us your ideal day.
Awaking fresh, yoga, singing, great food, friends, a new performance offer and sex.
Which is your hideaway?
What’s the soundtrack to your everyday life?
Whatever I am singing or studying at the moment. So now that is Handel and Tarradellas and Rameau.
What do you miss the most when you’re away from home?
My closet. When flying 20 kilos of luggage is impossible.
The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?
A trip to the Maldives with a small group of wonderful friends sounds nice.
What or who makes you feel embarrassed?
People who miss the opportunity to be helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, thrifty, brave and reverent are embarrassing.
How would you define your relation with food?
I maintain a healthy diet thus avoiding sugar and late night meals. Recently I have deleted caffeine and alcohol from my diet. Since then, I feel a sensation of true equilibrium which is glorious.
Mediterranean diet, macrobiotics or fast food?
Mediterranean – olives, oranges, pistachios, chill peppers, tomatoes, avocados and balsamic vinegar.
Your favorite dish?
My favorite restaurant cuisine is Thai.
Red or white wine?
Lemonade, water with gas and apple juice.
Which is the place where cooking is the worst ever?
Airports – which typically offer pig on white bread complimented by a sugar beverage at an exorbitant price.
Was music a vocation?
I have music degrees from Interlochen Arts Academy, Oberlin College Conservatory and The Yale University School of Music.
What would you want someone who doesn’t know your voice to listen to?
My timbre.
If you were granted the chance to chose a role, which one would it be?
I have sung 8 different Mozart roles on stage and 16 Rossini roles, 3 Haydn roles, Verdi’s Fenton in Falstaff, Donizetti’s Ernesto in Don Pasquale, several roles of Berlioz as well as some very unusual repertoire. I have often been engaged to sing roles which are highly virtuosic, technically challenging with both extreme high and low notes such as Fra Diavolo, both the Haydn Orfeo and Gluck’s Orphee, or a crazy difficult role in Domenec Terradellas’ Sesostri (released by Harmonia Mundi). There are a number of Bel Canto roles, which I am looking forward to singing. Elviro in La Sonnambula (I had an offer to debut it with maestro Richard Bonygne a few seasons ago but, unfortunately I was not free). People have said my voice is very suited to the virtuosic French repertoire and this would include such roles as Rossini’s Le Comte Ory and the repertoire of opera comique such as Boeldieu’s La Dame Blanche. I very much wish to sing Nemorino, a wonderful role of bel canto and humanity. That would be my dream role…
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?
On the day of a performance my routine usually includes lots of quite time and attention to my diet. Depending on the make-up requirements, I tend to arrive at the theater an hour and a half before curtain. I vocalize, stretch, put on the costume, review parts of the score and pray.
What’s never missing in your dressing room?
What do you think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?
I see a reflection of how I take care of myself and I see a man with a deep complication and gentle eyes.
Your mood at the moment?
What’s your motto?
Be Positive and believe.