NATHAN GUNN – In Recital At The Herbst Theatre, January 12th

Popular baritone will sing Franz Schubert’s song cycle, Die Schöne Müllerin, accompanied by his wife, Julie Gunn

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Known for his versatility, 39-year-old baritone Nathan Gunn has established a solid reputation in the operatic world for his performances in the the title roles of Billy Budd and The Barber of Seville. PBS audiences know him as “Papageno” in Mozart’s Magic Flute in recent broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera, as “Lancelot” in staged concert performances of “Camelot” with the New York Philharmonic, and in Jerome Kern’s “Showboat” at Carnegie Hall. Gunn also created the role of “Paul” in the world premiere of Daron Hagen’s Amelia at Seattle Opera and “Alec Harvey” in André Previn’s Brief Encounter at Houston Grand Opera. In 2005, following his performance as “Clyde Griffiths” in An American Tragedy, Beverly Sills presented him a check for $50,000 as the first recipient of an annual award named in her honor. “There are certain performers, when they come on stage, they need a spotlight,” said Sills of the handsome baritone. “And then, there’s the other kind, who brings his own spotlight.” In 2008, People Magazine nominated him as the “Sexiest Man Alive”.

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NATHAN GUNN, Baritone

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NATHAN GUNN – As “Billy”, Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd

It was just announced that Gunn’s acclaimed recording of a signature role — Britten: Billy Budd, a Virgin Classics release recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding conductor — is among the nominees for a 2010 Grammy Award for “Best Opera Recording.” The baritone has also had impact in the popular culture, appearing on TV’s “The Colbert Report”.

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NATHAN GUNN – As “Lancelot” (Camelot)
and with soprano Patricia Racette in An American Tragedy

The Herbst recital reflects Gunn’s most serious performance persona. Die schöne Müllerin is a classic of the German lieder repertoire. In the late 19th century, young Berlin intellectuals invented a parlor game that was at once serious and ironic, based on the old mill-romance. They wrote and recited poems on the subject and acted out the parts. One of them, the aptly named Wilhelm Müller (“miller” in German), collected 23 of his mill-romance poems and published them as Die Schöne Müllerin (“The Beautiful Maid of the Mill”) in 1821. Two years later, the same year that he was hospitalized for complications from syphilis, Schubert set the poems to music. There is evidence the composer wrote the first songs while still bed-ridden. He dispensed with the irony, eliminated three of the poems, and transformed the slightly tongue-in-cheek treatment into a much more serious retelling of the old mill-romance. Die Schöne Müllerin is an interior drama — a set of 20 songs that reveal the complications of a young wanderer and his unrequited love for the miller’s daughter. The stream which powers the nearby mill will claim him as its own.

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Nathan and Julie at the Schubert Club, Cincinnati

Nathan will be accompanied by his wife, Julie Gunn, an associate professor of vocal coaching and accompanying at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where Nathan is a professor of voice. The couple live in Champaign, Illinois with their five children. Julie Gunn also served as music director for her husband’s recently released solo disc for Sony/BMG Records, Just Before Sunrise. The CD includes arrangements of songs by Billy Joel, Sting, Charles Ives and others.

Click here for ticket information: NATHAN GUNN

Click on the title to order these CDs with Nathan Gunn::

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BILLY BUDD – Opera by Benjamin Britten with Nathan Gunn in the title role. Conducted by Daniel Harding; and featuring Ian Bostridge, Jonathan Lemalu, Gidon Saks, Neal Davies, and Matthew Rose.
Just Before Sunrise – Disc includes: The Briar And The Rose, Polka Dots And Moonbeams, When You Are Old And Gray, I Have Loved Hours At Sea, and more.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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