The Polar Express
Audio CD / 2014
“Written in 1985, Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express tells of a boy disillusioned with Christmas until a mysterious train appears at his doorstep and takes him to the North Pole. There, he is chosen by Santa Claus to receive the first gift. The boy chooses a silver bell from one of Santa’s sleigh but on the train ride home discovers that it has fallen through a hole in his robe and is now gone. On Christmas Day, he opens a package from “Mr. C.” containing the silver bell. Only he and his sister can hear it. As they grow up, his sister and the other children can no longer hear the jingling of the bell, but the boy still can. He retains the innocence of childhood and can still hear magic of Christmas.
If you were to remove the words, the music alone would tell the story, but baritone Nathan Gunn’s narration could become legendary. He sings Van Allsburg’s story as if he is reading it to one of his children, shifting his voice to play the parts of the narrator, the boy and Santa Claus.” – – Steven Jude Tietjen, Opera News, April 2015