Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Erwin Schrott's Don Giovanni to be screened worldwide

Erwin Schrott in Don Giovanni (Photo: Mark Douet, ROH)
Erwin Schrott is currently performing the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House in London, which runs through October 10th. If you can't make the performance, you're in luck, as it will be shown in theaters in 53 countries encompassing 1,000 movie houses. Screenings will be on October 6 and 13.

Schrott will be joined by barihunks Roberto Tagliavini as Leporello and Leon Košavić as Masetto, along with Malin Byström as Donna Anna, Daniel Behle as Don Ottavio, Christine Rice as Donna Elvira, Louise Alder as Zerlina and Peter Magoulas as the Commendatore. 

Roberto Tagliavini and Leon Košavić
Kasper Holten’s production casts Don Giovanni as an artist who thrives on an audience enticed by his creative gifts. 

Schrott next heads to the Teatro Real in Madrid to perform Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore from October 29-November 12.  Tagliavini heads off to the Opéra de Lyon to sing de Silva in Verdi's Ernani opening on November 8th. Košavić will head to the Opera Vlaanderen to sing Herzog Alba in Schreker's rarely performed Der Schmied von Gent.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Mikhail Timoshenko wins Wigmore Hall Song Competition

Elitsa Desseva and Mikhail Timoshenko at Wigmore Hall
25-year-old Russian bass-barihunk Mikhail Timoshenko won the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, taking home the £10,000 prize money.

Timoshenko performed Holst's Ushas, Vaughan Williams' Let Beauty Awake, Copland's The Boatmen's Dance, Tchaikovsky's Podvig and Mahler's Ich hab' ein glühend Messer.

The £5,000 second prize place was awarded to 29-year-old British soprano Harriet Burns, while third place, with a prize of £2,500, went to British mezzo-soprano Beth Taylor. British tenor Kieran Carrel took home fourth place. Michael Pandya, the 25-year old British pianist who partnered Harriet Burns, won the £5,000 Pianist’s Prize.

The Wigmore finals. Timoshenko appears at 2:03:00

 Baritones have historically fared well at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. In 2017, three baritones swept the top honors, including Julien Van Mellaerts, John Brancy and Josh Quinn. In 2015, barihunks Samuel Hasselhorn and James Newby took Second and Third Prize respecively. In 2013, Gavan Ring walked home with the Second Place Prize. In 2011, Dominik Köninger launched his career by winning the top prize.

Timoshenko studied at the Mednogorsk Conservatoire and the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar. He has won numerous competitions including first prize at the Franz Schubert und die Musik der Moderne Competition in Graz, first prize at the Médoc International Singing Competition in Bordeaux, the Opera Prize by the Cercle Carpeaux, first prize at the Maria Callas International Competition and first prize at the Hugo Wolf Competition.

He joined the Paris Opera Academy in September 2015 and during the 2015-16 season he participated in several of the Academy’s concerts and recitals at the Bastille Amphitheatre. He sang in the French premiere of Joanna Lee’s Vol Retour and performed the role of Plutone in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo


Friday, September 6, 2019

Georg Nigl stars in premiere of "Macbeth Underworld"

Georg Nigl as Macbeth (photo: Hugo Segars)

Just four years after the premiere of composer Pascal Dusapin's Penthesilea, he back at the La Monnaie with his newest opera, Macbeth Underworld. The opera is being described as "...a bloodstained Gothic opera, in which the ill-fated couple is condemned to relive its own tragedy, haunting their memory and ours."

Dusapin was less inspired by Shakespeare and Verdi than the cinematic versions of Macbeth for his latest creation, which runs from September 20-October 5. A major inspiration was Roman Polanski’s 1971, a commercial failure that was criticized for its depictions of graphic violence and nudity.

Dusapin knew immediately that he wanted barihunk Georg Nigl for the title role, commenting, "For Macbeth himself it was all much more straightforward. I wanted Georg Nigl. It is my fifth production with him and he can take on anything, from incredible expressiveness through tenderness to absolute folly. The short description on his score just says ‘Macbeth est fou’ – Macbeth is mad. He doesn’t need more than that.”

Judi Dench as Lady Macbeth:


For Lady Macbeth, he drew inspiration from Judi Dench's performance in the 1979 film version. Dusapin said, "Judi Dench was a great model for the scene in which Lady Macbeth washes her hands. The rhythm of her words is spot-on. I copied them out and used them in Macbeth Underworld.”

The remainder of the cast includes Magdalena Kožená as Lady Macbeth,  Graham Clark as Porter and Kristinn Sigmundsson as the Ghost. Tickets are available online.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Watch Quirijn de Lang's Hamlet online

Quirijn de Lang as Hamlet (Image: OPERA2DAY)
Add Quirijn de Lang to the list of barihunks who have made their mark in the title role of Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, which includes Thomas Weinhappel, Thomas Oliemans, Franco Pomponi, Stéphane Degout, Edward Nelson, Régis Mengus, Bo Skovhus, Simon Keenlyside and Liam Bonner.

You can watch the Dutch baritone's performance on OperaVision on September 13th. The broadcast will start at 7 PM CET/1 PM EST/10 AM PST.

The performance is with OPERA2DAY in Den Haag, a company founded to bring opera to new audiences by presenting old standards in contemporary settings. The opera has been reduced to 2 hours from the standard 3 1/2 running time by eliminating the ballet and streamlining the story, including an ending that combines the two existing versions of the opera.

The cast also includes Lucie Chartin as Ophélie, fellow barihunk Martijn Sanders as Claudius, Martina Prins as Gertrude, Jan Willem Schaafsma as Laërte  and Patrick Pranger as Horatio. The opera is a co-production with the New European Ensemble.


If you want to see de Lang live, he can be seen in Kurt Weill's Street Scene with Opera North from January through March in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and Nottingham. He will also be singing the Count in Mozart's​ The Marriage of Figaro with the company during the same period.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lotte Lenya Competition taking applications next week

Justin Hopkins and Doug Carpenter
The Lotte Lenya Competition will begin taking applications on September 3rd. The competition seems to attract the best barihunk talent, many of whom have walked away with the top prize, including John Brancy, Trevor Martin, Lucas Meachem, Liam Bonner and Jonathan Michie, Doug Carpenter, as well as hunkentenor Noah Stewart. Bass-barihunk Justin Hopkins took away second prize in 2012.

The Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19 to 32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs within a dramatic context. It was founded in 1998 by foundation President Kim H. Kowalke, who is the Richard L. Turner Professor in Humanities at the University of Rochester and professor of musicology at the Eastman School.

John Brancy's 2018 winning set:

Singers are required to sing one theatrical selection by Kurt Weill, one song from the pre-1968  “Golden Age” of American musical theater, one song from the American musical theater repertoire of 1968 or later, and one aria from the operatic or operetta repertoire

Applicants will be required to upload an audition video that includes all four of the required repertoire selections. Applications can be found online. The competition will hand out $75,000 in prize money this year, including $20,000 for the Grand Prize.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Robert Gleadow is Mozart's Figaro of choice this season

Robert Gleadow (photo: Hugh Wesley)
Canadian bass-barihunk Robert Gleadow has become the Figaro of choice in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for many of the world's leading opera houses. He'll be singing the role at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia in Valencia from September 27-October 6. The cast will include Andrzej Filończyk as the Count, María José Moreno as the Countess, Sabina Puértolas as Susanna, Cecilia Molinari as Cherubino, Susana Cordón as Marcellina and Valeriano Lanchas as Bartolo. Tickets are available online.

He then takes the role to the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris from November 26-Decmeber 7 with fellow barihunk Stéphane Degout as the Count, the legendary Jennifer Larmore taking on Marcellina, Sabine Devieilhe as Susanna, Vannina Santoni as the Countess and Mathias Vidal as Basilio. Tickets are available online.

He then flies to the La monnaie in Belgium for more of Figaro from February 18-March 21 with fellow barihunk Björn Bürger as the Count, Simona Šaturová as the Countess, Alexander Roslavets as Basilio, Ginger Costa-Jackson as Cherubino and Rinat Shaham as Marcellina. The company is doing the entire "Mozart-Da Ponte" series this season, with Gleadow's Leporello making up a "barihunk trio" in Don Giovanni that includes Björn Bürger in the title role and Iurii Samoilov as Masetto. Samoilov also appears as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. Tickets are available online.

Marie-Adeline Henry as Donna Elvira & Robert Gleadow as Leporello (Photo: Mats Bäcker)
In Bordeaux, it will be Gleadow who sings roles in each of the "Mozart-Da Ponte" operas in May 2020, taking on Leporello, Figaro and Guglielmo. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

We asked Gleadow about the role of Figaro and he had this to say, "I'd say he's one of the most loveable characters in the operatic repertoire. He's big-hearted, hot-blooded, quick-witted, overconfident; who's easy to root for and wears his heart on his sleeve (when the Count is out of the room anyway....). We see the entire spectrum of emotion throughout his "Folle Journée". Happiness, love, naiveté, jealousy, anger, humour, finding his parents, winning the girl, and defeating a rival. A true jack of all trades!"

Robert Gleadow and Serena Malfi sing Così fan tutte

Robert Gleadow was born in Toronto and was a member of the Opera Studio of the Canadian Opera Company of Toronto and the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme of the Royal Opera House in London.

Mozart has played a big role in his career, having performed the aforementioned roles, as well as Publio in La clemenza di Tito and the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte.

He can be heard as Lorenzo in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Anna Netrebko on Deutsche Grammophon.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Gregory Gerbrandt and Cree Carrico team up for "Broadway to Boonville"

Gregory Gerbrandt in A Streetcar Named Desire (right)

Barihunk Gregory Gerbrandt will join the charismatic soprano Cree Carrico in “From Broadway to Boonville — With Love!” accompanied by Michael Sakir at the the Missouri River Festival of the Arts in Boonville, Missiouri. The town is located halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City.

The concert will be at Thespian Hall, which opened in 1855 and is the oldest continuously running theater west of the Allegheny Mountains. The festival is in its 44th year. Tickets are available online.

Some of the Broadway songs on the program include "If I Loved You" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, "An old Fashioned Wedding" from Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, "The Next 10 Minute from Anna Kendrick & Jeremy Jordan's The Last Five Years and
"All I Ask of You" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.

Cree Carrico and Gregory Gerbrandt
The three day festival is under the artistic direction of David Halen, concertmaster of the Saint Louis Symphony and Artistic Director of the Aspen Music Festival. 

The town is named after Nathan and Daniel Morgan Boone, who were the sons of the pioneer explorer Daniel Boone and who established their salt business near the community in the early 1800s, delivering their product from salt licks to St. Louis. Because of this, the town is sometimes known as Boone's Lick.