Extensive knowledge of opera isn’t essential to appreciating Nathan Gunn Flying Solo, a one-man show written by Hershey Felder and starring the estimable baritone Gunn. But it might help. The arc of Gunn’s biographical story, which he recounts onstage for 90 minutes at the San Diego Rep, is his operatic career, most notably at the Met in NYC. Further, among the selections he performs, those from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” or Benjamin Britten’s “Billy Budd” contain all the passion that is less present in renderings of, for example, “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’” from Oklahoma. Clearly, Gunn’s heart is in opera.
The undercurrent of the narrative Felder has written for Gunn is the opera star’s relationship with his father, a father like so many (especially on screen or onstage) who is emotionally reluctant. Gunn must be commended for reliving that relationship each performance. (Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 6/6/18.)
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat