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Ronan Tynan

Date: 2000-12-21

Ronan Tynan's engagement at the new supper club Feinstein's at the Regency offers an opportunity to experience not only the Irish tenor's superlative talent, but his humor and warmth as well. Tynan's powerful operatic voice and large gestures may overwhelm the space when he initially takes the stage, but once he gins his second set (of three), it's smooth sailing and a rollicking good time.

Part of the touring and recording trio, the Irish Tenors, Tynan possesses a silken voice that reveals magnificent range and depth of emotion. He tenderly brings to life broken-hearted laments like "Maggie," as well as rousing crowd-pleasers like "Funiculi Funicula," Irish favorites ("Oh, Danny Boy"), and holiday classics ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). He entertains the audience -- who "aah" with recognition when he announces his selections from the Tenors' album -- with anecdotes from both hsi mdical school days and rookie performances, whioe his pianist presides between sets with deadpan wit and Irish ditties.

The crowd -- a middle-aged, monied and spirited group -- appears for the most part familiar with Tynan's remarkable story: Because of a birth defect, he had to have both legs amputated below the knee when he was 20; he then went on to become a Paralympic gold medalist in track and field and a specialist in rehabilitative medicine (who still practices). Now he's an opera sensation, too. On stage, Tynan emanates a loving, gentle humor. When he has the audience sing along got "White Christmas," he makes a connection that is heartening and rare.