Naomi and Nathan on Nabucco – interview

One evening earlier this week I was lucky enough to sit down* with Minneapolis tenor Nathan Bird and talk a little bit about the Minnesota Opera’s upcoming production of Verdi’s Nabucco.

*Actually, he didn’t really sit down at all as he was tending to our children and getting himself some food before heading out the door for rehearsal.

ME: Tell us about Nabucco.

NATHAN: It’s an opera written by Giuseppe Verdi – or “Jo Green” – that is based on the story of the Hebrews in exile in Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar – “Nabucco” in Italian.  It is also as much about the Austrian occupation of Italy at the time it was written.

ME: What is your character?

NATHAN: As a chorus member I play several different characters – a Hebrew warrior, an Austrian nobleman, an oracle.

ME: Tell us about one of your favorite songs.

NATHAN: I haven’t heard the soloists yet…   “Va, Pensiero is the most famous.  It has these large sweeping lines that start in unison.  It’s also one of the largest songs (most people singing).  My favorite one thus far is -*spoiler alert*- after Nebuchadnezzar is struck by lightening there is this huge effect kind of mirroring the lightening in the orchestration…this descending line.  Then the chorus comes in at basically a tripple p and – I don’t remember exactly what we say, but it’s basically, “Oh crap!”

ME: Of all your friends and family, who do you think would most enjoy this opera?

NATHAN: This opera can really be appreciated by men, maybe more than women.  While I’m a sucker for a love story, any time the tenors are the warriors it’s bound to be a good man show.  Specifically?….My brother Andrew.

ME: Who do you think is most likely to walk out of the Ordway humming something from the opera?

NATHAN: Christy Andersen. (College friend and soprano)

ME: What’s the best part of your costumes?

NATHAN: The blood-stained spear…  No…the tux with tails.

ME: What do you enjoy most about rehearsals?

NATHAN: I enjoy that the director and his assistant have been so strongly encouraging us to be in character the whole time.  The acting and character development starts even before the memorization.


Saturday September 22, 2012 8pm

Tuesday September 25, 2012 7:30pm

Thursday September 27, 2012 7:30pm

Saturday September 29, 2012 7:30pm

Sunday September 30, 2012 2pm


By Naomi Bird

Wife of tenor Nathan Bird, pianist, organist, former music therapist, writer, tea-drinker, mom of two mini-sopranos and two mini-tenors, and learner of loving the arts.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s