Monday, November 24, 2014

Günter Papendell back in Berlin's colorful Don Giovanni

German barihunk Günter Papendell seems to live on the stage of he Komische Oper in Berlin in a tank top or shirtless (and we're not complaining!). He's returning to the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni on November 30th in the colorful, whimsical and provocative production by Herbert Fritsch. You might recall we posted about him the last time he sang the role in Berlin, so you may have guessed that it's a favorite performance of ours.

Günter Papendell at the Komische Oper in Berlin
Papendell has been with the Komische Oper since 2007, appearing as Marcello in La Bohème, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Kothner in Meistersinger, Jeletzky in Pique Dame, Förster in Schlaues Füchslein, Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, Odysseus in the Monteverdi trilogy, Demetrius in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pollux in Castor et Pollux by Rameau, Mary in Die Soldaten by Zimmermann and Marquis Posa in Don Carlo.

Next year, Papendell sings the title role in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, Achilla in Handel's Giulio Cesare and a return as Odysseus in the Monteverdi trilogy. 

Doug Carpenter & Richard Alexandre Rittelmann
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Watch Luca Pisaroni live from Vienna

Luca Pisaroni as Count Almaviva
The Vienna State Opera's live streaming opera service will be presenting Luca Pisaroni in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro on February 25th at 5:30 PM CET/11:30 AM EST/8:30 AM PST). The service requires a log-in and the first seven days are free. On demand operas will cost €14.00 ($17.40) for a single opera with subscriptions available. The service also includes the option to view multilingual subtitles and to follow along with the score.

The cast also includes  Adam Plachetka as Figaro, Olga Bezsmertna as the Countess and Anita Hertig as Susanna.

The Vienna State Opera produces more than 40 live broadcasts annually, and is making nearly all of its 2014-15 season productions available in Ultra HD via the Internet, smart TVs and mobile devices. Click HERE to start watching now.

Pisaroni returns to the U.S. early in the new year, with a performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis in January with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. He then heads to the Met in February for a run as Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Peter Mattei sings the title role.

Don't forget to order your 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar before the busy shopping season begins.

Craig Verm in the 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jérôme Varnier & Stéphane Degout in London Pelléas et Mélisande

Jérôme Varnier photographed by L'Oiseleur des Longchamps
Two of our favorite barihunks, Jérôme Varnier and Stéphane Degout, will share the stage in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London on Thursday, November 27th. Esa-Pekka Salonen will lead the performance which also includes Felicity Palmer as Geneviève, Monica Bacelli as Mélisande and Laurent Naouri as Golaud. Varnier is singing Arkël, which has become somewhat of a signature role, and Degout is singing Pelleas.

Tickets and additional concert information are available online.

Pelléas et Mélisande appears a lot on Varnier's upcoming performances, including singing Arkël at l'Opéra National de Lyon, and the dual roles of Un Médecin and Le Berger at the Paris Opera. He'll be joined in Paris in Robert Wilson's famous production by Stéphane Degout, who is singing Pelleas. Performances in Paris run from Febuary 7-28 and tickets are available online.

We also wanted to share with you the newest photo of Jérôme Varnier [above] taken by fellow barihunk/photographer L'Oiseleur des Longchamps. The latter appears in our new 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar [below]. We hope to feature more of his amazing work in the future.
L'Oiseleur des Longchamps (left)
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Roman Trekel to perform controversial Henze oratorio

Roman Trekel
The world of opera has seen its fair share of controversies, including the political censorship of Verdi operas, outrage over the sexual nature of Richard Strauss' Salome and the recent protests over John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer at the Metropolitan Opera.

Much of this pales to the reaction that greeted Hans Werner Henze's oratorio Das Floß der Medusa (The Raft of the Medusa) in Hamburg, Germany in 1968. The piece, which was written as a requiem for Che Guevera, had advertisements torn down, protests, chanting and the chorus actually walkng off the stage chanting that they wouldn't sing under the "red flag," a reference to the communist flag that had been hoisted by students. Scuffles ensued in the audience, the police had to be called and the performance was cancelled.

The piece has subsequently had a few performances without incident and is scheduled for two performances beginning tonight with baritone Roman Terkel and the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. 

The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault
Das Floß der Medusa tells the story of the French frigate Meduse, which ran aground off the west coast of Africa in 1816. It marks an ignominious episode in French political and maritime history, and was later immortalized in the painting of the same name by Théodore Géricault. 

The piece is written for soprano, baritone, speaker, choir, children’s choir and orchestra. The choir, as a collective mass, plays an important role and expresses its visions of death in floating, nearly impossible sounds. At the apotheosis, which features the Vietnam war, Henze based his rhythmic patterns on the chants in honor of Ho Chi Minh. As Henze's oratorio builds to its climax, the "dead" move from the choir of the living to that of the dead, which is full of both adults and children, creating an imbalance on the stage.

Tickets and additional information are available online

2015 Barihunk Calendar
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rodolfo Nieto in free night of love songs

Rodolfo Nieto
American barihunk Rodolfo Nieto, who we introduced to readers during his run as Jose Castro in Minnesota Opera's La Fanciulla del West two months ago, will be giving a free recital on Friday, November 21st. The free concert at Bemis Rehearsal Hall will include love songs by Richard Strauss, Schubert, Chausson, Fauré, and Tosti.

The concert is free, but an RSVP is requested.  If you can't make the recital, you can listen to him HERE singing some Schubert songs.

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Xavier Rivera

Barihunks Calendar model Pietro di Bianco wins Paris Opera Award; Barihunks sweep top prizes

Pietro di Bianco, Sam Roberts-Smith and Xiaohan Zhai
Baritones are once again dominating a major singing competition, as a third of the finalists at the prestigious Paris Opera Awards were from our favorite voice range. Pietro di Bianco, Sam Roberts-Smith and Xiaohan Zhai have all advanced to the final round and di Bianco walked away with the top prize for male singers. Soprano Daria Terekhova took the top prize for women. 

In fact, all three of the top prizes plus the audience prize went to the low voices. Xiaohan Zhai took second place and Sam Roberts-Smith won both third place and the Special Jury Prize for the best performance. Marina Nachkebiya and Leonie Renaud took second and third place for the women. 

Di Bianco will receive €5000 ($6300 US) for taking the top prize, Zhai receives €3000 ($3800 US) and Roberts-Smith €1000 ($1250 US) for each of his prizes.

Pietro di Bianco, Michael Hewitt and Michael Scarcelle in the Barihunks Calendar
You can enjoy Pietro di Bianco for the entire month of February in our new Viva, Italia! Barihunks Calendar, which is available by clicking below. 
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Jonathan Estabrooks to sing Lerner & Loewe

Jonathan Estabrooks
Canadian barihunk Jonathan Estabrooks is returning to his native country to perform with the Vancouver Symphony. He'll be making a familiar foray from opera to the world of musical theater, as he joins soprano Amy Wallis and tenor David Curry in an evening of music by Lerner and Loewe. They'll perform under the baton of Steven Reineke on Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22 at the Orpheum Theater. Tickets are available online.

The duo is known for creating some of the greatest musicals of all time, including Camelot, My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, and Gigi. Estabrooks will be performing such familiar hits as If Ever I Would Leave You, They Call the Wind Maria and Gigi.

Estabrooks will also be signing copies of his debut album ‘These Miles’ after the show in the main lobby.

If you can't make it to Vancouver, you have plenty of time to buy tickets for his performances with the Seattle Symphony and Steven Reineke when he takes on the Broadway classics of Rodgers & Hammerstein from March 6-8, 2015. Tickets are available online

Jonathan Estabrooks isn't in this year's Barihunks calendar, but he has appeared in previous years. However, you can still enjoy 19 more of the hottest guys in the opera world by ordering your copy today. Just click the handy LULU button below.
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