Baritone Nathan Gunn Learning New Tricks
Baritone Nathan Gunn calls himself “old‑school” when it comes to recitals. “That’s just how I was raised, and I’ve been trying to break out of that mode,” Gunn said in a recent interview.89.3 WFPL
“Old-school,” in this sense, means that the performer doesn’t actually speak to the audience or interact with them in any way other than the music being presented. That’s the traditional format — the idea being that the music speaks for itself, maybe with the aid of some printed program notes.
But more performers, like Gunn, are learning to talk to the audience. And he’s embracing the change.
“[That makes it] more of an evening, a conversation,” said Gunn. “It’s also a very effective way of making music, and the point is to communicate to other human beings.”
Gunn will be singing, and speaking, at the University of Louisville Comstock Recital Hall this Saturday evening, as part of the Speed Concert Series. He’ll be accompanied by his wife, pianist Julie Gunn, who collaborated with him on choosing the songs for the program.
One of the most in-demand baritones working in opera today, Gunn has been seen on stages throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, and the Royal Opera House. Many critics see him as part of a “new generation” of opera singers who not only have beautiful voices but deliver strong acting alongside movie-star looks. In 2006, The New York Times cheekily suggested that he might also capable of singing with his shirt on, a nod to his occasional bare-chested appearances in various opera roles.
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