(Above: Nathan Gunn & Nicole Cabell in LOC's The Pearl Fishers. Photo courtesy Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago)
O.C. can't help it...she always roots for the Unterdawg, which is why we've been eying The Lyric Opera of Chicago's current production of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. Exiting to enthusiasticreviews from the Monday, October 6th premiere, this creamy little pearl got swallowed alive by the season opener hype of Natalie Dessay & Jonas Kaufmann's Manon. Not that these two saengers don't deserve all the attention that they can get... It's just that we're flabbergasted at how we've heard almost nothing about the bare-chested duets betweenThe Pearl Fisherstars Nathan Gunn (Zurga) & Eric Cutler (Nadir). omg who wouldn't want sexy time with these two?
We dug a little deeper into the stacks and discovered American Bass-Baritone Christian Van Horn, who is singing Nourabad, and can definitely hold his own sandwiched between the hot manmeat sampler of Gunn/Cutler pecs. A recent graduate of the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists, this towering Chris Meloni look-a-like keeps an awesome blog, where he writes about all his adventures. He's been at it since this past summer, and candidly shares behind the scenes photos and observations via his colleagues and ports of call. But the particular entry that won us over was his homage to "The Karate Kid" and his mecca-like journey to the Kobra Kai DoJo in L.A. omg what's not to love?
We bid a fond farewell to Xtian on November 4th when he sings his final show of The Pearl Fishers, and swaps bratwurst for weisswurst at Munich's Bayerische Staatsoper, where he sings through January 2009 (Colline in La Bohème, Der Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, and Oroveso in Norma).
The best part of his blog? Upon request, on his time off from busy rehearsals, Xtian will craft you a very kewl, personalized post card if you send him your address. Sorry guys, naked pictures are not guaranteed no matter how much Van Horn might make u Van Horny.
What I love so much about Freni is that she sings with 110 percent heart. The voice is so beautiful, and it's unpretentious. It's honest, and you can't help but cry when you listen to her sing. She is my vocal idol.
Cabell's right, you know -- she nails exactly what makes Freni so special, the clarity and the simplicity and the beauty of her singing, and how they richochet off each other, making it all so memorable.