Saturday, July 30, 2016

Brad Baron singing, directing, writing, blogging (and posing)

Brad Baron and some of his selfies from social media
We finally got some video from barihunk Brad Baron's graduation recital at the Louisiana State University School of Music's Recital Hall on April 22, 2016. Baron graduated from Princeton University with an AB in English and Certificates in Theatre and Vocal Performance recently received his Masters of Music at Louisiana State University. 

Brad Baron sings Finzi's "Let Us Garlands Bring":

Brad Baron sings Schubert's "Erlkönig":

Brad Baron sings Poulenc's "Hôtel":

The multi-talented singer, also works as an actor, writer, playwright, blogger (Life of a Gay Pirate), gamer commentator, librettist and now director.

His play Last Ditch Playlist, which he's been developing for three years will be presented in a fully staged production at the Dixon Place MainStage in New York City on August 18th at 7:30 pm. He'll be directing the piece, as well. According to the theater website, "Last Ditch Playlist is an ode to the memory of a unraveling gay romance. Aaron and Wes’ joy and pain are evoked with sweeping sincerity in this new stage work, peeling away layers of the relationship as it is replayed ‘on shuffle’ in gripping scenes of intimacy, recollections, phone calls, internet chats, and lyricism."

The men of Brad Baron's play Last Ditch Playlist
In recent years he has contributed works to the New Jersey One Minute Play Festival, the Rainbow Festival with the La Strada Ensemble Theater, Luna Stage’s Annual Short Play Festival, the New Playwrights Series at The Villagers Theater, and the Gay Play Series with the Ringwald Theatre, where his work Homochondria was presented. He is currently working on a short comic libretto for Coffee Companion with composer Marc Hoffeditz and collaborators Esha Datta and Jennifer Peterson.

As a singer, he was an Encouragement Award winner in the Violetta DuPont Competition, a finalist in Classical Idol 8, a semi-finalist in the Lyndon Woodside Oratorio Solo Competition, and a semi-finalist in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition. He has performed at the Des Moines Metro Opera, Bronx Opera Company and Ohio Light Opera. He will be joining Opera Memphis this Fall as an Artist in Residence, where he will be performing Antonio in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and The Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance during their 2016-2017 season.

We first got to know Brad Baron through Twitter and his entertaining tweets @BaronAsInRed.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Timothy McDevitt and Corey Crider together in South Pacific

Timothy McDevitt and Corey Crider
We got some great photos of barihunks Timothy McDevitt and Corey Crider together, who are performing in Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific at Ash Lawn Opera.

McDevitt is performing the role of the courageous Lt. Cable and Crider takes on the dashing leading man Emile de Becque. They're joined by Sharin Apostolou as Nelli Forbush, Daryl Freedman as Bloody Mary and Clayton Brown as Luther Billis. The production is directed by John de los Santos and conducted by Andy Anderson.

Timothy McDevitt in South Pacific
Tickets for the remaining shows on July 29 and 30 are available at the Paramount Theater website.

Crider will reprise his role with Opera Roanoke on October 7 and 9 at the Shaftman Performance Hall.Upcoming shows for McDevitt include Vasco Mendonca's The House Taken Over at the National Sawdust from October 7-9 and Thou Swell with the New York City Ballet, where he'll sing music by Richard Rodgers. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Douglas Williams stars in Mascagni's Iris at Bardscape

Douglas Williams and Talise Trevigne in Iris
Bass-barihunk Douglas Williams portrays the villainous Kyoto in Mascagni's opera Iris with Bard Summerscape at the Fisher Center. He's joined by soprano Talise Trevigne as the vulnerable Iris, Matt Boehler (who has appeared on this site) as Il Cieco and tenor Gerard Schneider as the fickle Osaka.

Williams has previously collaborated with Iris director James Darrah on Agrippina for Opera Omaha, which we wrote about in 2014 for having the "Hottest Cast in Opera." He has also worked with Darrah on Jonathan Dove’s monodrama, The Other Euridice for Bay Chamber Concerts. On August 21, he'll perform Escamillo with the director at the Rockport Opera House in the Bizet/Brooks version of La tragédie de Carmen.

Composed by Puccini’s friend Pietro Mascagni, who composed the better known opera Cavalleria rusticana, Iris debuted in Rome in 1898, ushering in a wave of fin-de-siècle exotic opera. Mascagni’s dreamlike score provides the backdrop for Luigi Illica’s haunting libretto recounting the tragic story of Iris, an innocent young girl tricked into abandoning her elderly blind father and lured to a brothel in Tokyo’s notorious red-light district.

Remaining performances on July 27, 29 and 31. Tickets are available online.

On August 25, Williams will sing Scarlatti's La Gloria di Primavera with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and conductor Nicholas McGegan at Tanglewood. On September 17 and 18, he makes his Mozart debut as Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with the Milwaukee Symphony and conductor Edo de Waart. He'll be joined by fellow barihunk Gordon Bintner as Count Almaviva. Tickets are available online.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Benson Wilson wins 2016 Lexus Song Quest

Benson Wilson
Benson Wilson has won the Lexus Song Quest at today's Grand Final Gala at the Auckland Town Hall. Benson will receive a cash prize of $20,000 and a Study Scholarship of $27,000, plus economy international travel up to the value of $3,000. Benson said he was “blessed to receive this honor and was ready to step up to the challenge.”

Second place was awarded to Auckland tenor Filipe Manu, third place went to Hamilton soprano Madison Nonoa, and Auckland bass-baritone Tavis Gravatt took fourth place. The Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation scholarship ‘for the singer who shows the most promise’ was also awarded to Madison Nonoa.

The four finalists each performed three pieces in front of a live audience, one accompanied by pianist Terence Dennis, and two arias alongside the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Edo de Waart.

Reader Submission: Aussie Barihunk Nathan Lay

Baritone Nathan Lay (Photo on right by Leesa Needham)
Australian barihunk Nathan Lay is currently singing Mr Mayor in Richard Mills' opera The Pied Piper at the Victorian Opera in Melbourne. The children's opera is based on Robert Browning’s classic poem The Pied Piper of Hamelin. There are performances on July 28, 29 and 30 and tickets and additional cast information is available online.

He has been a regular at the Victorian Opera where he recently completed his second year in their young artist program. During his time with the company, he has performed Baron Douphol in Verdi's La traviata, the Father in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Sir Riccardo Forth in Bellini's I Puritani and the quartet in Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins.

Lay recently won the 2016 Australian International Opera Award Scholarship, which is valued at $54,000. The prize includes all of the expenses for one year of full time academic study at the Wales International Academy of Voice under the guidance of its internationally tenor and director Dennis O’Neil CBE. He will commence his studies in September 2016.

Nathan Lay sings Britten's "Look! Through the port..." from Billy Budd:

Nathan completed his Bachelor of Music at the Melba Conservatorium of Music in 2008. He has since established his career in the Melbourne opera and oratorio scene. In 2010, Nathan won the National Liederfest, and Australian Music Events’ “Opera Scholar of the Year”. In 2013, he won the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria competition, and also received 3rd Place in the prestigious Herald Sun Aria competition at Hamer Hall.
In 2013, he made his first appearances with Opera Australia in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera and Aida. He also played Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte for Melbourne Opera.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Introducing German Barihunk and Model Roman Grübner

Roman Grübner
Roman Grübner began his musical studies at age seven at the the Balettausbildung Staatstheater Schwerin studying piano and voice. At 16, he won the second prize of an all-German youth competition. He continued his studies at the Academy of Music "Hans Eissler" and the Carl Phillip Emanuel Bach Gymnasium of Music in Berlin.

From 2007 to 2009, Grübner was an ensemble member at the Mecklenburg State Theatre in Schwerin, where he sang Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Mercutio in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Figaro in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Morales in Bizet’s Carmen. He been a featured guest artist at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and part of the ensemble at the Stadttheater St Gallen, where he performed Harlekin an Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, Roberto in Mozart's La finta giardiniera, Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Pappacoda in Johann Strauss’ Eine Nacht in Venedig.

Roman Grübner
In 2009, he made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio conducted by Roy Goodman. The following year, he returned to perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion. At the Berlin Philharmonic, he’s performed Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Puccini’s Messe di Gloria and Mendelssohn’s Paulus.

His songs repertoire includes more than 350 songs by Schubert, Wolf, Richard Strauss, Mahler and Grieg. He can be seen on the DVD of  Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos starring Renee Fleming and conducted by Christian Thielemann.

Grübner has also worked as an actor and model. He'll also be appearing in our 10th Anniversary "Barihunks in Bed" commemorative calendar.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Barihunk Sextet in Lakes Area Music Festival's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Barihunk sextet Eric Broker, Andrew Lovato, Sam Parkinson, John Taylor Ward, Rodolfo Nieto and Benjamin Sieverding (Clockwise from top left)
Last year we had our first barihunk sextet posting when Hamstead Garden Opera in the U.K. double cast Mozart's Don Giovanni with six barihunks. Now we have our first barihunk sextet all performing on the same night in the Lakes Area Music Festival's production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream on August 13 and 14.

The "dream" cast includes John Taylor Ward as Bottom, Andrew Lovato as Demetrius, Rodolfo Nieto as Theseus, Benjamin Sieverding as Quince, Eric Broker as Starveling and Sam Parkinson as Snug. John Taylor Ward not only performs in the opera, but he serves as Associate Artistic Director of the company and he wrote the program notes.

John Taylor Ward sings Schumann's "Du bist wie eine Blume"

On August 11, there will be an open rehearsal at the Tornstrom Auditorium, which includes a discussion with soprano Abigail Dueppen and countertenor Daniel Moody at 1:30 PM. The will also be a pre-concert lecture 30 minutes before each performance featuring Minnesota Public Radio host John Birge, conductor Andrew Altenbach and director JJ Hudson. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

The Lakes Area Music Festival was founded in 2009 and puts on six free concerts annually, which include chamber music, symphonic works and opera. They utilize 140 artists from ensembles and conservatories such as the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, New World Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music and the Curtis Institute.