Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jake Heggie's "The End of the Affair" comes to Berkeley

Carrie Hennessey and Keith Phares (Photo: Mellopix)
The West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California, is following up their critically-acclaimed production of Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox with another 20th Century work, as they open Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair this Sunday, August 3rd.

The End of the Affair premiered ten years ago at the Houston Grand Opera with barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the lead role of Maurice. The West Edge Opera has hired barihunk Keith Phares for the role of the writer writer Maurice Bendrix. The libretto's last ten minutes were revised to alter the ending for performances at the Seattle Opera and the Madison Opera (with barihunk Philip Cutlip).

Carrie Hennessey and Keith Phares (Photo: Mellopix)
Based on the Graham Greene novel of the same title, it is set in London in 1944 and 1946 and focuses on Maurice and Sarah, who vows to end their illicit affair if his life is spared in a bombing. His survival leads to Sarah's religious conversion and Maurice's railing against God for it. After returning to her husband, Maurice hires a private detective to investigate her under direction of her cuckholded husband Henry. 

For those unfamiliar with the work, there is a quartet for lovers of the male voice that includes three baritones and a tenor. In the quartet the four men share their feelings about how Sarah has changed their lives.

Keith Phares in The End of the Affair (Photo: Mellopix)
Performances are on Sunday, August 3 at 3:00 p.m.. Thursday, August 7 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, August 9 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available online. There are also two performance of Hydrogen Jukebox remaining on August 2 and 8, as well as performance of Puccini's La bohème on August 1 and 10. 

Opera Australia hits the road

Sam Roberts-Smith
Opera Australia is taking a Mozart's The Magic Flute and transporting it to a modern day archaeological dig in Egypt, even including a mummy in the cast.

But the real transporting is of the sets and cast, as they take the production across the vast Australian outback to parts unknown. The opera will be performed in 26 cities, including Morundah with a population of ten. The town had no place to perform, so a farmer built a pig shed, which has been dubbed the Paradise Palladium. 

Starring as Tamino, and on alternating nights the Armed Man 1, is barihunk turned hunkentenor turned barihunk Sam Roberts-Smith. If you're confused, check out our recent post about Sam Roberts-Smith's fach change. Christopher Hillier, is singing Papageno and on alternating nights the role of Armed Man 2.

This is Opera Australia's third production to hit the road and it already appears to have been a hit with audiences in Ballarat, Bendigo, Dandenong, Marysville and Nunawading. There are alternating casts, so check out the Opera Australia website for cast information and tour dates.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Barihunk Trio in Salzburg Don Giovanni

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Luca Pisaroni
The Salzburg Festival has assembled three of the most popular barihunks for their production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is singing the title role, Luca Pisaroni is his sidekick Leporello and Alessio Arduini is Masetto. Fans of a pulchritudinous men will be pleased to know that Don Giovanni and Masetto both show off their upper torsos liberally in Sven-Eric Bechtolf's production. 

There are six performances remaining between July 30 and August 18, but two of the shows are already completely sold out. If you plan on attending, go to the Festival website and order your tickets today.

If you can't make a live performance, the production is being recorded by ServusTV in cooperation with UNITEL CLASSICA and will be broadcast as live on Sunday, August 3 at 7:30 PM. If you live in Europe, you can download the ServusTV app to your iPad.

If you're in the United States, you can catch Alessio Arduini at the Metropolitan Opera in Puccini's La bohème as Schaunard this November with Kristine Opolais as Mimi. Luca Pisaroni's next U.S. performance in a complete opera is also at the Met in their Don Giovanni, which runs in February and March 2015. Ildebrando D'Arcangelo's next U.S. stage appearance is also in Don Giovanni, but on the other coast, when he sings the title role at the revived San Diego Opera. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Edward Nelson to sing title role in Don Giovanni

Edward Nelson (Photo by James Darrah)
The Merola Opera Program has cast barihunk Edward Nelson in their upcoming performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni. The opera is being directed by James Darrah and conducted by Martin Katz.

The California native studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and took 1st Place at the 2013 Mid-South Region Metropolitan Opera Auditions. He has performed the title role in Britten's Owen Wingrave, Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola, the Forester in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen and Le Podestat in Bizet's Le docteur Miracle.

Edward Nelson with Yujin Kim

Edward Nelson
The remainder of the cast includes Szymon Wach as Leporello, Rhys Lloyd Talbot as Masetto, Scott Russell  as the Commendatore, Amanda Woodbury as Donna Anna, Yujin Kim as Zerlina, Benjamin Werley as Don Ottavio and Karen Chia-Ling Ho as Donna Elvira.

Performances are on Thursday, July 31 and August 2 at the Everett Auditorium in San Francisco. Tickets are available at the San Francisco Opera website.

You can follow Edward Nelson on YouTube or Facebook.

Seth Carico returns to hometown for "King and I"

Seth Carico in King & I
We've been following Seth Carico since his amazing turn as Victor in Jorge Martin's Before Night Falls at the Fort Worth Opera Festival. We followed him from his larger-than-life portrayal of the Castro-esque revolutionary leader to his fitness obsession and invitation to appear in our Barihunks calendar.

He eventually landed for a year at the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco before being snatched away by the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he has impressed audiences in Billy Budd, Les Troyens, Don Giovanni, Tosca, Die Zauberflöte, Otello, Rigoletto, Le nozze di Figaro, and Champert’s Hoffmann. 

Carico recently returned to his hometown of Signal Mountain, Tennessee to perform in the "King and I," where he started his career as one of the King's children in 1991. This time he'll be the king and perhaps surrounded by some children who dream of following in his footsteps. 

He was recently interviewed by Chattanooga's Chatter magazine about his career and his return to his hometown, which you can read in its entirety HERE

In the article he also talks about his obsession with fitness, stating:
"I’d say the biggest part of my life other than singing is fitness. It’s become a real obsession of mine. I was really unhealthy a few years ago. I was doing a show, and I felt really terrible and decided that something had to change. I had to get in shape. It was actually The King and I in Virginia that gave me my deadline to get in shape, because I knew I would be shirtless for that show. I lost 75 pounds, and I kept it off. Now it’s become an important part of who I am as a performer and who I am as a person."
On August 14th, he'll be appearing in Richard Strauss' Salome at the Proms in London under the baton of Donald Runnicles. He then returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin where he'll be performing Junius in Brittens' The Rape of Lucretia, Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen and The Speaker in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Peter Brathwaite in "Adults Only" Micro-opera

Peter Brathwaite rehearsing "Flat Pack"
Tête à Tête, a British opera company that produces new works and find new ways of producing old works is presenting a new 30-minute micro-opera called "Flat Pack." The piece stars Barihunk Calendar model Peter Brathwaite as Simon and Aled Jones as Viola. Tête à Tête has produced over 70 stage works by more than 50 different composers for audiences throughout the UK and abroad.

The piece, which has an "adults only" warning, is described as a microdrama about putting together IKEA furniture. Part of the text reads, "Insert screw A into hole G on shelf E using Allen Key 2."'

We've heard that Brathwaite has been sensational in rehearsals and even managed to get a picture of him working through the piece.

The Festival in the White Lab of Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design, with performances on Thursday, July 31and Friday, August 1 at 8pm. Tickets are available online.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bevy of Barihunks at 2014 Seagle Music Colony

Bottom Row - Austin Siebert, George Arvidson, Clay Thompson, Nate Mattingly, Mason Jarboe, Michael Miller
Top Row - Keith Browning, Trevor Martin, Michael Hewitt, Damian Faul
The Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York, which was one of our first recipients of a grant from our calendar sales, has assembled quite a bevy of barihunks this season. The minute we saw the roster, we offered to ship off some of our tee-shirts in exchange for a group of photo. Wow, were we pleased when the photos arrived.

The training program just wrapped up performances of Lerner & Loewe's Camelot, a children's performance of Hansel & Gretel, Rossini's The Italian Girl in Algiers and Side by Side by Sondheim. From July 30-August 2, they'll present Carlisle Floyd's Susannah, followed by Bernstein's West Side Story and a Vespers concert.

L to R = Michael Miller, Mason Jarboe, Austin Siebert, Trevor Martin, Michael Hewitt, Keith Browning, Damian Faul, George Arvidson, Nate Mattingly and Clay Thompson
The critical role of Olin Blitch in Susannah will be shared by Nathaniel Mattingly (July 30, Aug. 1), William Clay Thompson (July 31, Aug. 2), Trevor Martin will sing Elder McLean and George Arvidson will sing Elder Ott. In West Side Story Trevor Martin will sing Bernardo, William Clay Thompson will sing Detective Schrank, George Arvidson is Riff and Austin Siebert as Diesel.

In the recently completed performances of The Italian Girl in Algiers, directed by John De Los Santos, the role of Mustafa was alternated between Austin Seibert and Michael Hewitt (who has appeared in the Barihunks calendar), while Mason Jarboe sang Haly.

Michael Hewitt as he appeared in the 2013 Barihunks calendar
Camelot featured Damian Faul as Merlyn, Trevor Martin as Arthur, Michael Hewitt as Lancelot nad William Clay Thompson as Mordred.

Seagle Music Colony is the oldest summer vocal training program in the United States and was awarded the "Best Cultural Event" in the Adirondacks by the Adirondack Local Government Conference Committee.  We highly suggest that you join Barihunk in financially supporting this great program. If you're interested in making a donation, please click HERE.

Shirtless pictures from Edwin Crossley-Mercer in L.A. "Nozze"

We posted about the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Mozart -Da Ponte Trilogy with a barihunk in Le nozze di Figaro trio back May. The main eye candy in that production, which also included Christopher Maltman and Brandon Cedel, was an oft-shirtless Edwin Crossley-Mercer as Figaro.

The production set was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, with costumes by couturier Azzedine Alaïa. On alternating nights you barihunk connoisseurs feasted their eyes on a Don Giovanni cast that included barihunks Mariusz Kwiecien and Ryan Kuster.

(Click to enlarge)
We posted a semi-shirtless of picture of Crossley-Mercer back in May, but we now have additional photos from the production. We can see why we received a generous amount of emails begging us to find some photos.

If you want to catch Crossley-Mercey live, on August 10th, he'll be performing a song recital with accompanist Fernando Pérez at the Sala Verdi in Montevideo, Uruguay. From October 13-21 he reprises his huge success as Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris. Tickets and additional cast information are available online

Edwin Crossley Mercer sings Brahms' "Wie soll ich die Freude"

Also, don't forget about his upcoming release of Michael Linton's 17-movement song cycle Carmina Catulli, which we posted about last week. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo performs Verdi's Requiem on PBS

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and the Hollywood Bowl
The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s performance of Verdi's Requiem from last summer, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth will be broadcast on PBS's Great Performances, Friday, August 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

The performance features Italian barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, a favorite of Los Angeles audiences, where he has performed in Bizet's Carmen and Mozart's Don Giovanni. He'll be joined by soprano Julianna Di Giacomo, mezzo Michelle DeYoung and hunkentenor Vittorio Grigolo, as well as the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the L.A. Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.

D'Arcangelo is currently at the Salzburg Festival performing the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni, which he will then perform in Oslo. He returns to the United States in the same role in February 2015 at the newly revived and reorganized San Diego Opera.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zachary James on PBS "Sweeney Todd" with Emma Thompson

Zachary James in PBS' "Sweeney Todd" (right)
Keep an eye out for a tall, sexy, bald guy with a muscle shirt during the September 26th broadcast of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street on PBS. That's Zachary James, who has sung the title role in Sweeney Todd, but appears as part of the ensemble in this production.

The show, which stars Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson and legendary opera singer Byrn Terfel, will air as part of public television's Live From Lincoln Center.  Audra McDonald, who hosts the broadcast, also appears in the uncredited role of the beggar woman.

The production, directed by Lonny Price and conducted by Alan Gilbert, played to sold out crowds at Avery Fisher Hall from March 5 through March 8.

Zachary James returns to the operatic stage from September 15-20, when he portrays Abraham Lincoln in Philip Glass' The Perfect American. The opera imagines the final months of Walt Disney’s life, including mythical imaginings of Abraham Lincoln and Andy Warhol. British baritone Christopher Purves will be portraying Walt Disney. Additional information and tickets are available online.

In October, he returns to the United States to take on the title role in Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle opposite soprano Megan Nielson at Opera Ithaca

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Barihunk Tom Forde in new Doritos commercials

Doritos Loaded and barihunk Tom Forde as "Omar" the 7-11 clerk
Doritos has a new ad campaign out for their Doritos Loaded product, which is a warm, nacho-cheese-filled, triangular cheese stick coated with Dorito powder?

A few weeks ago, the product was launched in Los Angeles before the nationwide July 2nd launch of the product. The is even a fan website and a hashtag on Twitter (#DoritosLoaded) where consumers can post their reactions to the new snack.

At 1:24 of the ad barihunk Tom Forde makes a hysterical appearance as Omar the 7-11 clerk.

For those of you trying to keep your barihunk figures, we should warn you that a box of four bites has 6 grams of fat, 360 calories and 1,080 milligrams of sodium.

You can catch more of Tom Forde on both television and in the theater. On August 16, he'll appear on the National Geographic show "Brain Games." He'll be appearing in two shows with the Madison Opera next year, Judge Turpin in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Basilio in Rossini's Barber of Seville. Sweeney Todd runs will be performed on February 6, 7 and 8 and the cast includes the amazing Meredith Arwady as Mrs. Lovett. The Barber of Seville will be performed on April 24 and 26. Visit the Madison Opera website for additional information.

Ryan Kuster in Weber rarity "Euryanthe"

Ryan Kuster as Escamillo at Virginia Opera
Bard SummerScape 2014 is presenting Carl Maria von Weber's rarely performed Euryanthe with barihunk Ryan Kuster as Lysiart. There will be five performances running from July 25-August 3. Revivals of the complete opera are rare, especially in the United States, where it has not been seen since the Metropolitan Opera’s 1914 staging 100 years ago. A check on Opera Critic showed the last fully staged performance at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2010. Oper Frankfurt will present the opera next April with Erika Sunnegardh, Eric Cutler, Heidi Melton and James Rutherford.   

Ryan Kuster, who was part of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellows in San Francisco, has become an audience favorite on the West Coast.  In 2012, he made his symphonic debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing the role of Masetto in their highly acclaimed production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by Christopher Alden and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. At the San Francisco Opera he has performed the Mandarin in Puccini's Turandot, Astolfo in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen (for families), Count Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto, the 4th Noble in Wagner's Lohengrin,  Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca.

The rest of the cast, which will be directed by Kevin Newbury,  includes Ellie Dehn as Euryanthe, William Burden as her fiancé Adolar, Wendy Bryn Harmer as Euryanthe’s rival Eglantine and Peter Volpe as King Ludwig. Performances will be at the beautiful Frank Gehry-designed Sosnoff Theater at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.T Tickets are available online.

Weber's greatest single success was probably his 1821 opera Der Freischütz. With his next opera, Weber wanted to break new ground. So in Euryanthe the spoken dialogue disappeared, replaced by continuous music. However, even the composer's great music couldn't save the opera from a ridiculous libretto, which has attributed to its relative obscurity. Perhaps the most well-known music from the opera is its overture, which is often performed by orchestras. It uses material from the opera, including Adolar's rebuttal of Lysiart and his second act romance.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Vittorio Prato's busy year of Donizetti

Vittorio Prato working out and in Rameau's Les Indes Galantes
Italian barihunk Vittorio Prato just made his debut in Bad Kissingen, Germany as Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore (Der Liebestrank for our German readers).  Prato was a replacement for Fabio Capitanucci, who had a scheduling conflict with the Montpellier Festival. From all accounts Prato was a huge success and we have some rehearsal footage of him singing the village sergeant's aria "Come Paride vezzoso."

Prato will be singing some obscure Donizetti this Fall at the Bergamo Music Festival when he sings Max in Betly, ossia La capanna svizzera. It's been a busy year for him singing Donizetti, having performed Doctor Malatesta in Munich and Verona.

Betly is a one act opera giacosa that was composed during the summer of 1836. It is a love story full of pastoral naïveté, whose humor is both gentle and pointed. There are a number of comic scenes for Max and his regiment, as they try to intimidate Betly, and turn the quaking Danielle into a hero for her. The text for Betly was adapted from a libretto by Eugene Scribe for an opera called La Chalet

Betly premiered on August 24, 1836 at the Teatro Nuovo of Naples. It was very well received, and remained popular until the middle of the century when its popularity died out. It has begun to regain favor in recent years and Donizetti intended it to be performed with another of his one-act operas, Il Campanello.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Barihunky season at innovative West Edge Opera

Hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock and barihunks Kenneth Kellogg and Efraín Solis
The innovative West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California is once again challenging audiences with a performance of Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox in an alternative space. The opera will take place in the foyer of the Ed Roberts Campus, which is an internationally recognized center dedicated to disability rights and universal access.

The cast includes some eye candy, as well, with hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock and barihunks Kenneth Kellogg and Efraín Solis. The female side of the cast is rounded out by Sara Duchovnay, Molly Mahoney and Nicole Takesono. Performances are on July 27, August 2 and August 8, and tickets are available online.

The interior of the Ed Roberts Campus and V. Savoy McIlwain
Philip Glass' opera set to the poetry of counter-culture poet Allen Ginsberg. The text deals with a variety of topics from the 1950's through the 1980's ranging from the sexual revolution, eastern philosophy, drugs, the environment, the threat of nuclear destruction, Iran-Contra scandal and meditation. The six vocal parts were thought to represent six archetypal American characters- a waitress, a policeman, a businessman, a cheerleader, a priest, and a mechanic.

Unlike other Glass operas that deal with social issues, Hydrogen Jukebox is sung in English. In other operas, he has used languages unfamiliar to most opera-goers, including Sanskrit for Satyagraha, ancient Egyptian for Akhnaten, Latin for the CIVIL warS, or just numbers and syllables in Einstein on the Beach.

The rest of the West Edge Opera season includes Puccini's La bohème and Jake Heggie's The End of the Affair, cast with an abundance of barihunks. La bohème features casting appropriate to a venue dedicated disability rights, as blind barihunk Brandon Keith Biggs will sing Colline in a cast that also includes Jordan Eldredge as Schaunard and V. Savoy McIlwain as Marcello. Biggs sight impairment is due to having Leber's Congenital Amaurosis, a rare inherited eye disease that appears at birth or in the first few months of life, and affects around 1 in 80,000 of the population. Performances are on July 26, August 1st and 10th. Tickets are available online.

Jake Heggie, who is one of the world's premiere composers for the baritone voice, rounds out the season with his The End of the Affair, based  on Graham Greene’s novel. It will feature Keith Phares in the key role of Maurice Bendrix. Performances are on August 3, 7 and 9 and tickets are available online.

Pietro di Bianco in Paris Opera Awards

Pietro di Bianco
We recently posted about barihunks Sam Roberts-Smith and Yu Di appearing in the Final 50 of the Paris Opera Awards. 

We've now learned that another of our favorite barihunks will be in the Final 50, as well. Italian barihunk Pietro di Bianco, who we introduced to readers back in February, will also be competing to make it into the Final 10, where contestants will perform with a full orchestra in a gala concert in honor of soprano Joan Sutherland. The singers will perform not just for the Grand Jury, but for agents and music professionals from across the globe. 

Yu Di and Sam Roberts-Smith
After the performance, three male and three female singers will be selected as winners, with a prize of €5000 (US $6750) for 1st place, €3000 (US $4050) for 2nd place and €1000 (US $1350) for 3rd place.  Special prizes for Best Artistic Performance and Audience Favorite will earn the winners €1000.

The competition starts with 50 singers and ends with prizes for three male and three female singers. Ten singers will perform in a gala finale on November 19th. Each singer can place two video clips on their profile and the public can vote for their favorite singers. 
Make sure to check out the Paris Awards website and cast your vote. The site is in French, but many pages are translatable to other languages by clicking on the flags on the top right of the page. 

Pietro di Bianco as Leporello in Paris:

Born in 1983, Pietro Di Bianco studied piano at the Conservatoire Giuseppe Martucci of Salerno, where he graduated in 2004. He studied chamber music at the Accademia nazionale de Santa Cecilia and won several national competitions. He was hired as a piano accompanist at the music conservatories in Salerno and Potenza.
He then took up singing at the conservatory in Aquila and graduated in 2009. He worked with the great soprano Renata Scotto at the opera in Santa Cecilia and with the legendary baritone Renato Bruson in Sienna. He was a finalist at the 62nd Concours européen Associazione lirica concertistica Italiana at the Teatro de Como. He is currently honing his skills with the Bulgarian soprano Raina Kabaiwanska. 
He recently received critical acclaim for his performance as Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra National de Paris in a cast that featured fellow barihunk Damian Pass as Masetto.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Edwin Crossley-Mercer song recital set for release

Edwin Crossley-Mercer
We posted about Michael Linton's 17-movement song cycle Carmina Catulli late last year featuring barihunk Edwin Crossley-Mercer. The performance was at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and was taped for future release. That performance will now be available on CD and at Digital Stores on August 19th. You can watch a trailer below.

If you want to catch Crossley-Mercey live, on August 10th, he'll be performing a song recital with accompanist Fernando Pérez at the Sala Verdi in Montevideo, Uruguay. From October 13-21 he reprises his huge success as Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

Hear LA Opera's Carmen online

No sooner had we posted about the Santa Fe Opera's Carmen than we received an email from an L.A. Opera loyalist who reminded us that they had Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Escamillo in their production last Fall. There will be a radio and online broadcast of one of the performances at WRTI radio beginning at 1 PM PST/10 AM EST.

The performances were conducted by Placido Domingo and the cast includes Patricia Bardon as Carmen, Brandon Jovanovich as Don José, and Pretty Yende as Micaëla.

Carmen performance with Barihunk Trio added at Santa Fe Opera

Evan Hughes (left & far right) and Daniela Mack as Carmen (Production photo: Ken Howard)
Due to a heavy demand for tickets, the Santa Fe Opera has added another performance of Bizet’s Carmen to the final week of its current season. The opera features the barihunk trio of Kostas Smoriginas as Escamillo, Evans Hughes as Zuniga and Dan Kempson as Le Dancaire. The sensational mezzo Daniela Mack, who was the runner up at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, is singing the title role.

A performance has been added on August 18th, making a total of thirteen performances of the popular French opera. The opera’s season will end with a performance of Carmen on August 23rd. Tickets are available online.

All three barihunks have been featured on our site before.

Kostas Smoriginas (photo: Ken Howard)
Lithuanian barihunk Kostas Smoriginas is making his Santa Fe Opera debut with this production and he appears to be an instant favorite with audiences. In 2010, he made his American opera debut as Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Washington National Opera, a role he later repeated at the San Francisco Opera. He returned to Great Britain to appear as Escamillo in Carmen in Opera North’s new production, having made his debut in the role at Berlin’s Staatsoper.

Evan Hughes is a grand prize winner in the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, who is also making his debut with the Santa Fe Opera. A member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, he won praise as Don Alfonso in the 2012 production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte at Lincoln Center. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013 as Crebillon in Puccini’s La Rondine .

Dan Kempson from Barihunks calendar (left) and in Santa Fe's Carmen (photo: Ken Howard)
Dan Kempson made his Santa Fe Opera debut during the 2012-13 season as Le notaire in Offenbach's Grande-Duchesse of Gerolstein. We recently featured him in performances of Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox with Skylight Music Theatre and as Lieutenant Gordon in Fort Worth Opera’s production of Kevin Puts’ Silent Night. He will be making his debut with the Opera San Antonio as Badger the Miner in Tobias Picker's The Fantastic Mr. Fox on September 23rd.

Introducing Barihunk Benoit Pitre

Benoit Pitre
Canadian Bass-Barihunk Benoit Pitre is new to our site. He came to our attention when we noticed that he'll be performing Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro beginning next week on July 23th at the Neues Theatre in Halle before moving the production for three performance at Hauptstadtoper in Berlin.

Pitre received his degree in music performance from McGill University, following initial musical studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Benoit Pitre and Kirstin Hasselmann  (Photo: Christina Kämper)
He recently performed the roles of Don Pizzaro and Don Fernando in the Stefan Neugebauer production of Beethoven's Fidelio in Berlin and Lord Cecil in Opera Sacra's production of Donizetti's Maria Stuarda. Previous operatic engagements saw him as the Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Festivale della Lirica in Vale, Argentina and as Guglielmo in Mozart's Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Volkstheater Weimar. He also traveled as Peter in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel and Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte on outreach tours throughout Austria, Germany and northern Italy during his first years in Europe.

Also committed to song recitals and promoting contemporary repertoire, he performed on multiple occasions with luminaries such as accompanist Roger Vignoles. Earlier this month he performed a series of recitals promoting songs of his native Quebec and contemporary New York composers.
Pitre was a recipient of a Tanglewood Music Center and a Junge Musiker Stiftung Bayreuth fellowship.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Curtis Sullivan and baritone trio Bravura

Curtis Sullivan
We've been following Canadian barihunk Curtis Sullivan for some time, particularly in his sexy portrayals with Opera Atelier.

He's also part of a baritone trio comprised of Canadian singers called Bravura, which has been performing since January, 2010. The group is comprised of comprised of George Masswohl, James Levesque and Sullivan, who have varied experience in musical theatre, jazz, and opera. The trios repertoire ranges from classic Broadway and pop, to Italian folk and classical music.

They now have a Facebook fan page where you can keep up to date on their activities. 

Also, we should mention that there is big news from Opera Atelier, who are suddenly becoming a worldwide phenomenon,  with three trips to Versailles three times, as well as performances in Salzburg and Milan. We've learned that the San Francisco Opera is now in discussions with the innovative Canadian company to perform with them. We will have more details when they become available.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Barihunks Garland and Okulitch in La Calisto profile

Andrew Garland in la Calisto - (Photo:Philip Groshong - Cincinnati Opera)
It's seldom that you see two baritones featured in an article about opera, but that just happened with Andrew Garland and Daniel Okulitch. The two are appearing together in the Cincinnati Opera's first baroque opera production, Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto. Two alums of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), were profiled in Citybeat Cincinnati. 

Read the entire article HERE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Steven LaBrie in Rossini's Le Comte Ory

Taylor Stayton (left) and Steven LaBrie (right)
There are still two opportunities to see one of the comic masterpieces of the operatic canon, Rossini's Le Comte Ory, which is playing tonight and on July 18th at the Des Moines Metro Opera.

Barihunk and MAC model Steven LaBrie as Raimbaud heads a brilliantly talented cast that includes tenor Taylor Stayton as Le Comte Ory, Sydney Mancasola as Comtesse Adèle, Wayne Tigges as the tutor and Margaret Lattimore as Ragonde. Tickets are available online.

"Sister" Steven LaBrie in Le Comte Ory
The opera was first performed on August 20, 1828 at the Salle Le Peletier by the Paris Opera. It's American premiere was on December 16, 1830 at the Théâtre d'Orléans in New Orleans. Often described as either a comedy or a farce, it is rapidly gaining in popularity throughout the world and is now considered one of the finest comedies in the repertory.

The story centers around Count Ory, who is determined to win the countess Adèle. He will do anything to get access to the castle where the women are, including disguising himself and his men as nuns.

The Metropolitan Opera had a huge hit with the opera in 2011 with a cast that included Juan Diego Flórez, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato and barihunk Stéphane Degout. The performance has been released on DVD. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Matt Worth sings Bernstein in a castle

Matt Worth and the Castello di Amorosa
Barihunk Matt Worth will be singing Sam in Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti with the Festival del Sole in California's Napa Valley on Thursday, July 17th.

This is the Festival's first full-length production of an opera and it will be performed at the majestic Castello di Amorosa, an authentically-styled 13th century Tuscan castle and winery. The castle sits on over thirty acres of estate vineyards and was built over the course of fourteen years by Dario Sattui, a fourth-generation winemaker.  The 121,000 sq ft castle boasts 8 levels, 5 towers, and 107 rooms, 95 of which are used for making or storing wine.

Samuel de Beck Spitzer sings "There are laws about men" from Trouble in Tahiti:

Leonard Bernstein was on his honeymoon in 1951 when he began composing his one-act opera, Trouble in Tahiti, a candid portrait of the troubled marriage of a young suburban couple. Written between his biggest Broadway successes— On the Town in 1944 and Candide and West Side Story in 1956 and 1957, respectively— Trouble in Tahiti draws upon popular songs styles to deliver an uncompromising critique of post-war American materialism. Beneath the couple's marital discord is a profound longing for love and intimacy. Their spiritual emptiness, in contrast to a veneer of happy consumerism, creates the heart of the drama and is emphasized by sudden stylistic shifts in the music.

The opera focuses in on the domestic conflict of Sam and Dinah, a young couple who, in contrast to the perfect picture of suburban life painted by the Trio, are desperately unhappy. Starting with an argument over breakfast, the piece explores a day in their life—Sam's as a successful businessman, and Dinah's as a frustrated housewife.

Bernstein dedicated the piece to his close friend Marc Blitzstein, who had led him toward music theater. Tickets for Trouble in Tahiti are available online.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Morgan Pearse in recital at Wigmore Hall

Morgan Pearse
Australian barihunk Morgan Pearse will be performing at Wigmore Hall tonight with accompanist James Baillieu, as well as the Françoise-Green Piano Duo. Pearse and the Françoise-Green Piano Duo are 2013 winners of the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition for singer and ensemble respectively.

Pearse will be performing Schumann's Liederkreis Op. 39 and Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel. Other music on the program includes the Schumann/Debussy Six studies in canon form Op. 56, Bach/Kurtág Chorales and a selection from György Kurtág's Játékok.

Pearse joins a long list of notable winners of the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition, including Keith Lewis, Jean Rigby, Susan Bullock, Elizabeth Watts, Cheryl Barker, Gillian Keith and Lucy Crowe. Tickets for the July 14th concert are available online.

Last year, Morgan performed the title role in Britten's Owen Wingrave for Sydney Chamber Opera, and as bass soloist in Handel's Messiah for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. Pearse is headed to the United States to continue his studies at the Houston Grand Opera’s Opera Studio, where he is slated to sing Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Papageno in Mozart's Magic Flute, Yamadori  in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Anthony in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. 

Ryan McKinny returns to Glimmerglass as Billy Bigelow

(Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)
Über-barihunk Ryan McKinny, whose photos from the Glimmerglass Festival's production of Wagner's The Flying Dutchman last summer instantly went viral, is now appearing as Billy Bigelow in their new production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. The production opened last night and runs through August 22nd. 

Performances on August 12 and 19 will feature the young barihunk Chris Carr as Billy Bigelow. The production also features Glimmerglass Young Artist Ben Edquist as Jigger Craigin. Edquist, who took first place in the Lotte Lenya Competition, is completing his Masters in Music at Rice University.

Ben Edquist
Ben Edquist as Jigger Craigin (Photos: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)

Carousel is one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most famous musicals, and was reportedly the composer’s favourite score. The show was turned into an MGM film in 1956 which starred Gordon McRae and Shirley Jones. The original 1945 Broadway production featured the legendary John Raitt as Billy Bigelow. Carousel tells the story of a carousel barker’s struggles to rise above challenging circumstances. The musical includes such favorites as “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Ryan McKinny as Billy Bigelow and Andrea Carroll as Julie Jordan (Photo: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival)
Carousel will run in repertory with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, Strauss’ Ariadne in Naxos and Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy.
For more information on the 2014 Glimmerglass Festival and performance dates and times, call the Box Office at (607) 547-2255 or visit their website.

Daniel Okulitch brings fishy realness to Cincinnati

We've had a few straight barihunks on this site appearing in drag for the sake of art, including the inimitable duo of Seth Carico and Michael Mayes in Fort Worth, who were promoting a performance of Mark Adamo's Lysistrata.

Now comes barihunk Daniel Okulitch, who is appearing as Jove in Francesco Cavalli's La Calisto at the Cincinnati Opera. Amazingly, this is the company's first foray in baroque opera in it's 94-year history.

ove hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguise. - See more at:
Okulitch's drag get up isn't part of some German regie concept that was imported to Cincinnati, but an actual part of the plot. Jove, the ruler of the gods, hatches a plan to wend his way into the heart and bedroom of Calisto by donning a Diana-like disguise. But when Jove’s wife Juno, sung by Alexandra Deshorties, catches wind of the scheme, her fury knows no bounds.

The cast also includes barihunk Andrew Garland as Mercurio [pictures coming!].

There will be five performances between July 17-27 at the Corbett Theater. Tickets are available online.
Alexandra Deshorties
ove hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguise. - See more at: hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguiseJove hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguise
ove hatches a plan to wend his way into her heart (and her bed) by donning a Diana-like disguise. - See more at:

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Zachary Gordin back in San Francisco for song recital

Fresh from his return appearance at the Olympic Music Festival, the ever popular Zachary Gordin returns to San Francisco for a song recital with accompanist Bryan Nies. The two will perform as part of the Old First Concerts series in the City by the Bay on Friday, August 15th.

The duo will perform songs of Reynaldo Hahn’s Chansons Grises, as well as his À Chloris, Dans la nuit, Trois jours de vendage, Néère, and more.  They will then switch to British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ song cycle The House of Life.

Tickets are available online.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Baritone Brigade in Baltimore Gondoliers

Jeffrey Williams (left);  Jeffrey Williams, Andrew Pardini and Alexis Tantau (right)
Barihunk Jeffrey Williams, who we introduced to readers in December 2012, will be singing the role of Don Alhambra in the Young Victorian Theatre Company's production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers. He's joined in the cast by a number of luscious low voices, including Spencer Adamson as Antonio [see photo below], Andrew Adelsberger as Duke of Plaza Toro, Timothy Kjer as Giorgio and Andrew Pardini as Giuseppe Palmieri.

Performances are on Saturday, July 12, Sunday, July 13, Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20 at the  Sinex Theater in Baltimore. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

Spencer Adamson and the cast of Gondoliers
The Gondoliers, or, The King of Barataria, was the twelfth opera written together by Gilbert and Sullivan. Opening on December 7, 1889 at the Savoy Theatre, The Gondoliers ran for 554 performances, and was the last of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas that would achieve wide popularity.

The story of the opera concerns the young bride of the heir to the throne of Barataria who arrives in Venice to join her husband. It turns out, however, that he cannot be identified, since he was entrusted to the care of a drunken gondolier who mixed up the prince with his own son. To complicate matters, the King of Barataria has just been killed. The two young gondoliers must now jointly rule the kingdom until the nurse of the prince can be brought in to determine which of them is the rightful king. Moreover, when the young queen arrives to claim her husband, she finds that the two gondoliers have both recently married local girls. A last complicating factor is that she, herself, is in love with another man.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Reader Submission: Edward Laurenson from New Zealand

Edward Laurenson
25-year-old New Zealand native Edward Laurenson is our latest reader submission. He graduated from the University of Auckland in 2010 with a Bachelor of Commerce, and completed his Honours in 2011. The lyric baritone was influenced to become a singer listening to Freddie Mercury of Queen.

In 2012-13, he was selected to be an Emerging Artist with The Dame Malvina Major Foundation, and subsequently performed in the New Zealand Opera production of Puccini's Madame Butterfly. He has also been a regular performer with the Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, where he performed major roles.

Before pursing a career in opera full-time, he performed in a number of musicals, including Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, he Tin Man in The Wiz, Tony in Bernstein's West Side Story and Danny in Grease.

Edward Laurenson talks about his career:

In 2012, he was awarded Vocal National Young Performer of the Year at Performing Arts Competitions Association of New Zealand, and the Lieder prize at the New Zealand Aria competition. He has also won the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Award, as well as the Australian Opera Awards Committee’s Sheila Prior Memorial Prize, Phoebe Patrick Award and the David Harper Award.

 Edward Laurenson sings "Hai già vinta la causa!" from Marriage of Figaro:

He is currently one of six finalists in the 2014 Lexus Song Quest competition, with winners being announced on July 26th. The Lexus Song Quest has launched the careers of some of New Zealand’s most celebrated opera stars including Dames Kiri Te Kanawa, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Amitai Pati, Malvina Major, Jonathan Lemalu, Madeleine Pierard and Phillip Rhodes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reader Submission: Model turned Barihunk Oleg Loza

Oleg Loza
Our latest Reader Submission is the Moscow bass-barihunk Oleg Loza. We hear numerous barihunks described as having "model looks," but Loza actually was a model at the Slava Zaitsev Model Agency. He modeled while completing his Master's Degree in Voice at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.

Loza reminds many of his fellow compatriot Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who shares his flowing long hair that gives them both a pop star vibe. Like Hvorostovsky, he is a serious classical singer, who originally studied voice and choral conducting before pursuing a career as a singer. In 2009, he won the prestigious Feodor Chaliapin Singing Competition in Yalta.

Oleg Loza sings Valentin's aria from Gounod's Faust:

After graduating from the Conservatory in 2012, he made his professional debut as Norton in Rossini's La cambiale di matrimonio at the Wiener Kammeroper in Austria. He followed that up with a run as Schaunard in Puccini's La boheme at both the Wiener Kammeroper and Amsterdam's Het Companientheater.

Since that time, he's been a young artist with the Zürich Opera, where he has performed Usciere in Verdi's Rigoletto and Deputato in Verdi's Don Carlo. He is currently singing Happy in Puccini's La fanciulla del West, which runs through July 13th and will run again September 24-October 10.

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