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
Mildly less controversial is our 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar, which is available by clicking on the LULU button below. 
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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.

Make sure to order your Barihunks Charity calendar by clicking below and enjoy 19 of opera's hottest men all year.
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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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Colorado native Keith Miller returns home for free concert

Donovan Singletary, Christopher Temporelli and Keith Miller
Sterling, Colorado probably doesn't get many Metropolitan Opera stars performing in their town of 18,000 people. The city, which was a stop on the Overland Trail during the mass migration to California after the Gold Rush is a good two hour drive northeast of Denver on the way to rural Nebraska. But fortunately for the good citizens of Sterling, Met star Keith Miller grew up a little further down the road in Ovid, Colorado.

On Saturday, November 22, he will perform at First Presbyterian Church in Sterling at 2 PM. The concert is free with a suggested offering to the church. He will be joined by soprano Melissa Zapin and pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski in a program of holiday standards, as well as music from Gounod's Faust, Puccini's La boheme and Gianni Schicchi, and Mozart's Don Giovanni and Le nozze de Figaro

Miller, has deep roots in the area, having played fullback for the University of Colorado and being drafted into the NFL. It's also no coincidence that Sterling would want someone with his background in sports and music, as the Valley School District has won awards for having some of the best music and athletic programs in Colorado.

Miller is featured in our Barihunk calendar for the second year in a row. This year as part of our Viva, Italia! theme, he was part of a photo shoot in New York City's Little Italy with fellow barihunks Donovan Singletary and Christopher Temporelli. You can order you calendar by clicking below.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Benjamin Werth joins the Aachen gang

Benjamin Werth in West Side Story
American barihunk Benjamin Werth, who has made his career in Europe in recent years, is making his debut with the opera at Theater Aachen in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. Werth is singing Riff, the gang leader of the Jets who suggests the rumble with the Sharks.

Since 2009, Werth has been part of the ensemble of the Landestheater Coburg where he sang Orest in Gluck's Iphigenie auf Tauris, Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Renato in Verdi's Un ballo in Maschera, Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville, Zurga in Bizet's The Pearl Fishers and the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. This won't be his first foray into Broadway musicals, as he performed Sam in George Gershwin's Crazy for You in 2011.

Jochen Kool
An additional bonus in this production is the physical dancing of Jochen Kool, who portrays fellow Jets gang member A-Rab. 

Performance begin on Friday, November 21st and run through the Spring of 2015. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

The 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar is available in plenty of time for the holidays. Order yours today!
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