Artist Interview Series: Nathan Granner

Oh What a Beautiful Mornin' in Cville.

You have followed the most interesting career path:  you trained as an opera singer, you appeared on PBS as a member of Sony Masterworks The American Tenors, whose 2003 album was Number Five on Billboard's Crossover Classical Chart, and you're performing a musical with us!

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the career I have.  I wouldn't wish a broken bone or the life of a career artist on anyone. So much goes into it. There are daunting hurdles and hidden pitfalls; the lack of stability can be quite unnerving... BUT I never dreamed I would be able to see and experience so much. I am still hungry for more though.

Although Oklahoma! takes place a hundred years ago, how do you feel that the piece and, in particular, Curly resonate today?

Although the labor is different, I see massive similarities in the hard-living lives people lead to this day. Sure, the machinery is different, but rural life is still rooted in a steep work ethic, faith and community. I have folks in my life that to this day are farmers and actual cowboys. Their lives are almost unreal compared to the shiny city and urban sprawl. I'm a city person now. But growing up in a really really small town in Iowa, I still feel my country roots and still grab a stalk of wheat to chew when I go out walking.

In 2008 you founded a weekly online Arts magazine in Kansas City -- are you concerned about the future of the arts?

That is a great question! The Kansas City Star laid off the Classical Music journalist, who covered the symphony, ballet and... the opera. We fought back and started our own publication. Because of the dedication and resilience of the writers and editorial staff at KCMetropolis.org, this little organization covers the Kansas City metro more deeply than the local papers did in my lifetime.

I am NOT concerned about the arts in the USA! I AM concerned about how folks make a living as artists and as people who work in the sector. It's hard to connect the right dots though. Money and Art play their own parts and can often be used against each other, hurting the larger picture. But with the current struggles we have, I have seen heroes stand up and demand to be seen and heard. I have also seen a massive proliferation of GREAT ART in the past 20 years, since I was a kid working my way through the food-chain.

You have performed in as far flung places as Perm, Russia and Szczecin, Poland.  Are you looking forward to spending the summer in Charlottesville?

BEST thing about live theater is the chance for me to live and BE in a place for a good amount of time. I love to meet new people. Getting to know folks is really amazing. Not just the cast though, I mean being a townie. I love to gambol around town and find the hippest coffee shops and swanky eateries and divey-est dives. I quest for deep experiences.

It's been hard to plant my feet these past few years I have to admit. I'm always busy rustling up work or coming up with a new project... but I really cannot wait to settle down and call Charlottesville home, at least for a little while!