Raw, Idiom: b. Informal. in the nude; naked: sunbathing in the raw

Last night I had a hot date at the Herbst with the dreamily inimitable Nathan Gunn. (Never mind the fact that his wife was playing piano, or that there were 200ish other people there all roughly around the age of eighty and/or breathing heavily with the aid of respirators.) Nope, just Mr. Barihunk himself, me, and a Schubert cycle of 19th century love/death songs ending in self-imposed drowning in a bubbling brook.

What can I say? It was mad intimate.

I've had a soft spot for baritones ever since Gordon MacRae's chestnut voice hit my kid ears, and Gunn follows in a long line of descendants, by way of Hugh Jackman and his ilk. Over the years, I've drooled over his stand-out starring turns in Billy Budd and The Barber of Seville with the SF Opera, so you'd better believe I'm always looking forward to the next performance. Last night, in a setting much less formal than the opera house, Gunn certainly didn't disappoint. In spite of not knowing a word of Schubert's German, I was rapt. (Though there was distressingly little nudity involved, compared to Gunn's roles in Budd and Seville. I've never felt more let-down by the sight of a man in a full tuxedo.)

Check out Gunn's homepage for more on this rockstar baritone; he mentions a desire to play Carousel's Billy Bigelow someday, and I'd certainly hop a train anywhere to see that in action. Then read up on the LA Times' feature from last fall, which explores the increasing opera-world trend toward featuring hunky eye-candy triple-threats like Gunn.

Not gonna lie, folks. Sex sells.


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