Singing From the Heart

It is raining lightly as we make our way to the Spiegelsaal im Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Arts and Crafts) in Hamburg. "Perfect", says Stephen Hansen (34) in a calm voice.

2006 3 singing2

One always wants to perform to the best of one’s ability.
– Stephen Hansen

Humidity is good for the voice, explains the tenor who sang his way into all Norwegian homes during the classical music talent competition Kjempesjansen that was aired by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) this autumn. He reached the finals and made a name for himself as one of the very best classical music talents.

Stephen Hansen became the Norwegian public’s great favourite. This evening he will be singing for an expectant German audience at the traditional Norwegian Hull Club Christmas dinner in Hamburg.

A New Talent

Network was given access to the warming up before this evening’s mini concert. It will probably come as a surprise for those guests who experienced the concert in Germany at the end of last month that Stephen Hansen has only been singing opera for a very short time: in fact, no more than one and a half years!

The talented Hansen has only had 40 singing lessons in his entire life, yet he exudes professionalism when he sings. There is a softness and warmth to his voice. The expression “lush tenor” is often used to describe such voices and Stephen does not object to being given this label. He grew up listening to lush tenors on the record player.

The Sound of Old Records

"I listened to old opera stars such as Mario Lanza and Caruso for two months every summer when I visited my grandmother in Scotland as a child. I almost memorised the songs and knew exactly where Lanza breathed and when there would be crackling on the record. I was completely fascinated by the crackling sound on the old records," Stephen smiles.

Norway’s new tenor talent hopes that he has managed to incorporate the warm tone from these records when he sings for an audience.  "I hope that people can almost hear the crackling", he adds. Stephen Hansen is both ambitious and humble. He is ambitious in terms of wanting to use his voice to gain access to the great opera stages, yet humble in relation to his talent and the public who have supported and pushed him forward.

3. Dec. 2006