Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nathan Gunn: Son of God

Nathan Gunn (right) to play Yeshua (Jesus Christ)
Fans of Nathan Gunn already think he's godlike, so it only seems logical that he was destined to play the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The San Francisco Opera just announced a delightfully ambitious season that includes Mark Adamo's "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene." The opera draws on the Gnostic Gospels, the Canonical Gospels, and decades of biblical scholarship to reimagine the story of the New Testament through the eyes of its lone substantial female character.

Nathan Gunn practicing his Jesus portrayal as Billy Budd

This opera will undoubtedly stir up some controversy, as it looks at the woman who Jesus loved in a whole new light. Mary Magdalene will be played by the Nicole Kidman-esque Sasha Cooke, so we can surely expect a non-traditional Mary-Jesus narrative. We can also expect to hear from the Catholic Church, so this opera will undoubtedly create some press controversy (and opera in the mainstream press is a good thing!). Kudos to the San Francisco Opera for taking a risk and challenging opera audiences and for bringing us an exciting new work.

Speaking of exciting new works, the San Francisco Opera is also presenting Nolan Gasser's "The Secret Garden" and Jake Heggie's "Moby-Dick." David Gockley and the San Francisco Opera family deserves special praise for bringing three new American works to the public in one season during difficult economic times when most companies are reduced to producing an endless stream of lackluster old war horses.

Marco Vratogna sings "Quei due vedesti?" from Simon Boccanegra:

Of course, no opera could survive without the standard repertory and the San Francisco Opera's 2012-13 season includes some great theater. Operas include Bellini's "I Capuleti e i Montecchi," Verdi's "Rigoletto," Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann," Wagner's "Lohengrin," Puccini's "Tosca," and Mozart's "Così fan tutte."

Christian Van Horn (left) and Philippe Sly (right)

A number of barihunks have also been cast, including the imposing Christian Van Horn as the four villains in "Tales of Hoffman," Marco Vratogna as Rigoletto, Morgan Smith as Starbuck in "Moby-Dick" and the exciting leading role/mainstage debut of Phillipe Sly as Guglielmo in "Così fan tutte." We've been predicting major stardom for the Met Auditions winner Philippe Sly and we're thrilled that he's been cast in a starring role on a major stage.

We're pretty sure that the San Francisco Opera is the opera hot spot for music lovers this year. Visit the San Francisco Opera website for tickets and additional information.


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