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People Top 5
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- September 27, 1982
- Vol. 18
- No. 13
A Texas Tenor Named Timothy Jenkins Looms Large as Opera's Next Heavyweight
Born in Oklahoma City, Jenkins began voice lessons at 15. By 1977, when he received a B.A. in music from North Texas State in Denton, Jenkins had performed six roles with the Fort Worth Opera. Prior to his Met audition, Jenkins was a teaching fellow at his alma mater and a part-time clerk at a store in Denton. "It's unreal," marvels Jenkins' father, Dale, a onetime amateur violinist who now works for IBM in Amarillo, Texas. "We never expected him to go straight to the Met."
Jenkins lives with his wife, Shawn, 30, and their son, 4-year-old Scott, on Manhattan's West Side, where he spends his free time strumming his guitar and listening to Gordon Lightfoot ballads. Jenkins practices his operatic repertoire no more than two hours a day to avoid damaging his voice. For the same reason, he has already turned down offers from impresarios around the world. Opera critic Speight Jenkins (no relation) thinks Timothy is making the right decision: "A young Wagnerian tenor should mature properly. Jenkins is the most hopeful candidate I have heard, anywhere."
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