Last fall, National Review moved into new offices. Today, Lawrence Brownlee came in to record a podcast. With apologies to my colleagues, he is the best voice ever to enter these offices, and it may be a while before he is equaled …
Larry Brownlee is one of the leading tenors of our time. Tomorrow night, in Chicago, he will step into Luciano Pavarotti’s shoes, literally. He will wear his boots in Chicago for a performance of I puritani (the Bellini opera). Today, we recorded a Q&A, here.
We talk about a slew of issues, concerning his life and career, concerning music and singing. A kid from northeastern Ohio, Brownlee sang at Cedar Point, the amusement park, for several summers. He was just warming up. Larry is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He has sung the national anthem at Pittsburgh games and other NFL games. I ask him whether he interpolates the high note at the end of “the land of the free.” (I don’t necessarily like this.) (And for Brownlee, by the way, it’s a C.) Oh, yes, he does.
At the end of our ’cast, I ask him about his favorite singers. He names many from the classical world — and two from the popular world: Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Tormé. He learned about the latter the way many people did: from the old sitcom Night Court.
It is a treat to listen to Larry Brownlee. He is a marvelous interviewee. But you’ve got to hear him sing — so this podcast ends with a bit of Brownlee in the famous “high C’s” aria from The Daughter of the Regiment (Donizetti).