Fourteen years ago, a group called The Three Irish Tenors performed together in an opera in Dublin, Ireland. After being signed to a record contract, the group’s name was changed to The Celtic Tenors to have more universal appeal and have been performing ever since.
At 8 tonight, The Celtic Tenors, comprised of members Matthew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson, will bring its Celtic influences and sounds to the State Theatre.
In addition to traditional opera and classical tunes among other genres, the group will also perform songs with a more “Christmas-y” element, according to member James Nelson, which makes him sure there will be something for everyone.
According to the group’s website, The Celtic Tenors “continue to re-invent the whole tenor idiom by pioneering a new style of cool never before seen on the classical stage and by breaking the traditional stuffy tenor mould.”
Nelson wrote in an email that the group first started performing together after doing a string of 136 performances in Dublin, which led to their record deal in 2000.
He wrote that the group is very driven by harmony, and they sing the music they love, adding that performing does not feel like a job to him.
“We truly all love music, and I think that is of vital importance,” he wrote. “Our shows are a wide mix of so many styles of music, and it's hard to label us or categorize us, but I think that is testament to our musical tastes and traditions.”
He said that with the group’s name change, it was given the opportunity to embrace many nations and cultures and the ability to try new styles and genres, which led it to the “eclectic mix” of sounds they have today.
He hopes their music will break barriers between them and the audience, and the idea of “tenor stuffiness and the elitism that seemed to surround tenors for decades.”
As far as preparation for a performance, the group is a bit more laid-back and sensible.
“We would love to say we are very rock 'n roll and say that we have a few pints of Guinness and some whiskey shots and go on that stage and kick ass…but we are actually kinda sensible and boring,” he wrote.
He added because their instruments are their voices, it is more important they drink plenty of water and eat well.
While the group has a love for opera in common as well as “the big three tenors” Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and José Carerras, Nelson wrote they have differing musical influences. He cited groups famous for their harmony-driven sounds as his influences, such as Queen, ABBA and Simon & Garfunkel, whereas other members of the group enjoy the sounds of soul and jazz.
Cathy Brown, marketing director of The State Theatre, said the group is well known within its own right and called them a “tremendous quality of performer.”
She said those wishing to hear Christmas sounds can go anywhere, but this show will be different because of its Celtic flavor.
“They’re very charming individuals,” she said. “They have unique voices, but they blend beautifully.”
She said for anyone with an appreciation for music and voice, this will be an incredible concert.
Nelson doesn’t want audience-goers to be put off by the group’s name and hopes there will be an element in the show to satisfy everyone.
“Sometimes people can be put off by the name –– the Celtic Tenors. And that makes us a little sad,” he wrote. “Yes we sing some opera, some classical, some Irish, but also music from other Celtic nations, and some American songs, some pop, and some other genres too!”