top of page

Polar Express and Gertrude McFuzz

Featuring Nathan Gunn and Isabel Leonard

Music by Rob Kapilow with the Metamorphosis Chamber Orchestra

and introducing Olivia Lombardi as Gertrude

Two of the most famous and iconic Children’s Classics are turned into musical extravaganza by Composer Rob Kapilow, one of the most successful

and most performed composers on the planet. He is joined by International Superstars Nathan Gunn, who sings Polar Express and Isabel Leonard who sings Gertrude McFuzz.  The absolute perfect CD for Christmas, POLAR EXPRESS is one of the most recognizable and beloved children’s book. This piece is already the best seller at Schirmer’s and now there is finally a recording. Accompanied by full orchestra, this is a must have for Christmas and all times of the year.

Polar Express Highlight

Nathan Gunn

Isabel Leonard

Rob Kapilow

Electronic Press Kit

"Both The Polar Express and Gertrude McFuzz are delightfully theatrical, a credit to Kapilow's

music as well as the performances on this recording, and they may work well on stage;

however, the magic in this recording is that it recreates the intimate experience of a parent

reading to their child, inspiring dreams

and nurturing imaginations." 

Steven Jude Tietjen, Opera News, April 2015

I love this new recording of Rob Kapilow's settings of Dr. Seuss's Gertrude McFuzz and

Chris von Allsburg's story The Polar Express.
Both pieces are favorites in the "family music" repertoire for young people's concerts, and it's a delight to hear them both.
Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard sings the story of Gertrude McFuzz,

a clever young bird who wants more feathers to become more

beautiful. She learns beauty comes at a price, and eventually regains her former form in order to be able to fly.

Baritone Nathan Gunn sings The Polar Express, the story of a young boy

who learns there actually is a Santa Claus by taking a trip on the Polar Express, a train to the North Pole.

Both singers are very accomplished in the opera world.

They both sing these pieces with great love and care to phrasing and text, and

there didn't seem to be a single word I couldn't understand. That is great praise for any singer, in my book!
I think this CD would be a great holiday gift for any child

who loves a good story, who loves singing, or who loves fun. I recommend it highly.

David Browning, Taminophile

 Kapilow is especially sensitive to Van Allsburg’s pacing: listeners can easily hear the places where

the composer moves from one page of the book to the next. The music is supportive of the narration

but also has a delightful character all its own. In The Polar Express, for instance, snatches of

Christmas carols are woven into the musical tale, while in Gertrude McFuzz, 

little bits of well-known tunes are included in a score that nicely characterizes the participants –

Gertrude’s Uncle Dake, for example, gets a jazzy beat,

while Gertrude herself is accompanied by rather whiny notes that neatly

complement her temper tantrums. The performers are all first-rate,

not over-intellectualizing any of the words but not talking down to the

intended audience, either. Nathan Gunn narrates with seriousness

befitting that of an older man looking back on childhood

while retaining a sense of wonder and communicating it to children,

while Isabel Leonard offers bounce and brightness and just enough

snottiness to show a narrative disapproval of the demands of Olivia Lombardi,

who gets her comeuppance in typically gratifying and amusing Seussian fashion.

Gertrude McFuzz Highlight

bottom of page