Sunday, September 21, 2014

Introducing bass-barihunk Andrew Potter

Andrew Potter

We recently posted about barihunk Colin Ramsey singing The Speaker in Mozart's The Magic Flute at Opera NEO. The Sarastro in that production was Andrew Potter who we're featuring for the first time on our site.

Potter received his BA in Vocal Performance from Liberty University where he performed the Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance, Poo Bah in The Mikado, and Baron Mirko Zeta in Lehar's The Merry Widow

Since 2012, he's appeared with Opera on the James in Strauss' Die Fledermaus, The Magic Flute, Betto in Gianni Schicchi, Mr. Dashwood in Mark Adamo’s Little Women, and the Big Bad Bully in Stop Bully - an outreach opera performed in schools and community centers.

Since 2013, Potter has been a member of Opera Roanoke’s Young Apprentice Artist Program, where he sang the Sergeant the Pirates of Penzance and Curio in Handel's Julius Caesar. This year he'll sing the Second Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte and covering the role of Sarastro. He performed Ariodate, in Handel’s Serse and Le fauteuil/L’abre in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges with Bel Cantanti Opera in Washington, D.C.

Upcoming roles in the 2014-15 season for Andrew include Simone in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi with Tidewater Opera Initiative, the Frog King in the World Premiere of Lori Laitman's The Three Feathers, Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opera Roanoke, Ramfis with Undercroft Opera in Verdi's Aida, Mephistopheles in Concert Opera Philadelphia’s production of Gounod's Faust, Zoroastro in Handel's Orlando with Boulder Opera Company, Colline in La Bohéme with Connecticut Lyric Opera, and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Bel Cantanti Opera.

Glyndebourne's La finta Giardiniera broadcast on BBC Radio 3

Gyula Orendt
BBC 3 radio will broadcast Mozart's La finta Giardiniera on their initial Opera on 3 offering on Monday, September 22 at 7:15 PM GMT/2:15 PM EST. The performance is from this summer's Glyndebourne Festival and includes barihunk Gyula Orendt as Nardo and hunkentenor Joel Prieto as Count Belfiore with the Age of Enlightenment Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati.

Written when he was only eighteen, Mozart comic opera La finta Giardiniera on Goldoni's is based on the play Pamela nubile. The story follows seven characters in search of love, involving disguise, and recognition of both identities and emotions - trying to discover what is real and what is 'finta'.

Gyula Orendt sings Gounod's "Queen of Love":

Martin Handley presents, and during the interval discusses the opera with Mozart specialist Professor Cliff Eisen. You can tune in HERE.

Gyula Orendt, who is of Hungarian-Romanian  descent, studied singing at the Transilvania Music University in Brasov, Romania, and completed his studies at the Academy of Music Franz Liszt in Budapest, where he was also trained as a singing teacher. He won at the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona the Mozart Prize and the prize for oratorio/lieder.

Since 2013, he has been a member of the Berlin State Opera, where his roles since have included Silvano in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, Papageno, Figaro in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, Cesare Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca and Tempo/Consiglio in Cavalieri's Rappresentatione di anima et di corpo. He made his Royal Opera debut in 2012 singing the Gamekeeper in Dvorak's Rusalka. He returns to London this season to sing the title role in Monteverdi's Orfeo at the Roundhouse.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Two Barihunks in Eva Marton Singing Competition Finals; Aghenie Alexandru takes 1st Prize

Aghenie Alexandru

Two barihunks have made it to the final round of the International Eva Marton Singing Competition being held on Saturday, September 20th at the Hungarian State Opera, with one taking 1st Prize.

29-year-old Romanian Aghenie Alexandru who studied voice at the Academy of Music Transylvania in Brașov, took 1st Prize over 10 other singers. In the finals he'll be performed "Avant de quitter ces lieux " from Gounod's Faust and "Il balen del suo sorriso" from Verdi's Il trovatore

In 2012 he appeared on stage in various performances in Italy, including the Teatro Sociale di Stradella, Teatro Lirico di Magenta, Teatro Sociale di Como and Teatro Alighieri in Ravenna. He recently sang  Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci  and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at the Brașov Opera House.  He has won several prizes at singing competitions in Piatra Neamț in Romania, Manfredonia in Italy and Bucharest, Romania.
Danylo Matviienko
24-year-old Ukrainian Danylo Matviienko made it to the final round performing "Per me giunto è il dì supremo… Lo morro, ma lieto in core" from Verdi's Don Carlo and "O du, mein holder Abendstern" from Wagner's Tannhäuser.

Matviienko began his vocal studies in 2005, continuing at the Donetsk Music Academy since 2007. He has performed at the Donetsk National Dramatic Theatre and the Donetsk National Opera House.

Joining Eva Marton on the jury were tenor Vittorio Terranova and mezzo Elena Obraztsova. There will be a grand finals concert on Sunday night with additional prizes being awarded.

Three CASH prizes for Barihunks Calendar

More prizes have been announced for the best Barihunks Charity Calendar submissions.

A reader in the UK has offered additional prize money for photo submissions to our 2015 Barihunks Charity Calendar. In addition to the $500 for the sexiest photo, $250 for the best Italian themed photo, we now have $100 for the "Falstaff Prize" for the funniest/wittiest sexy contribution.

Baritones (and basses) should get their photos in to by Sept. 26. Readers will be voting, so everyone can get in on the action.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Barihunks offering $500 for hottest calendar submission

Each  year, we donate the proceeds from our Barihunks Charity Calendar to benefit young artists or young artist programs. This year we've decided to ensure that part of the profits go directly to a singer. We're offering $500 for the singer who submits the sexiest photo for this year's calendar and $250 for the singer with the best "Viva, Italia!" theme.

Voting will be determined by our readers!

Singers should submit photos to The deadline has been extended to September 26th for submissions, so get those cameras out.

Seattle Gay Scene bemoans missing Mariusz

If you don't think fans of barihunks (small "b") love their singers, then check out the latest issue of the Seattle Gay Scene, which dedicates a whole article to the fact that Mariusz Kwiecien, who appears in the Seattle Opera's marketing materials does not actually appear in the Seattle Opera's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.

We have to admit that were impressed that writer Michael Strangeways actually knew that Mariusz Kwiecien was one of the inspirations for Barihunks (big "B').  In fact after two of us had seen the "Hot Pole" in separate productions of Don Giovanni (in Seattle and San Francisco), the seeds of this site were planted seven years ago. So, naturally, one would think that we'd be disappointed, too. But we're regulars at the Seattle Opera and have no doubt that they will deliver an amazing performance of Mozart's timeless classic.

Evan Boyer and Erik Anstine (in his BARIHUNK tee shirt)
In fact, they've cast two singers who have been featured on this site, Evan Boyer as Masetto and Erik Anstine as Leporello. Those two should adequately fill the requisite "minimum barihunk requirement" for Don Giovanni. French bass Nicolas Cavallier will sing the title role. Performances will run from October 18 through November 1 and tickets and additional cast information are available online.
Mariusz Kwiecien on the Lyric Opera of Chicago website
If Michael Strangeways, or anyone else, wants to see Mariusz Kwiecien as The Don, then should fly to the Windy City, where he's starring in their production alongside fellow barihunk Kyle Ketelsen's Leporello. The Lyric Opera of Chicago even has a feature online called "Rolling with the Don" where the singer talks about the role (and is referred to as a "barihunk"). Performances run through October 29th and tickets are available online. Oddly, Lyric's website does not list who is singing Masetto.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Huffington Post: "Christian Van Horn -- A Busy Season at San Francisco Opera"

Christian Van Horn (as Oroveso - left)
Christian Van Horn  is part of a cast that is delivering old-fashioned vocal fireworks at the San Francisco Opera.  Joined by Sondra Radvonovsky as Norma, Jamie Barton and Russell Thomas as Pollione, the vocal quartet has already been dubbed The Fantastic Four by the opera staff. It's rare that an Oroveso receives this much attention, but Van Horn delivered a performance that defined the role for this generation. Sean Martinfield ran the following feature in the Huffington Post:

Christian Van Horn is Oroveso in San Francisco Opera's new production of Bellini's Norma. The bel canto gem opened the 2014/15 Season on September 5, making Christian's resounding bass-baritone the first voice to be heard in the company's 92nd season. As Chief of the Druids and father of Norma, the community's High Priestess, Oroveso enters and instructs the soldiers and priests to watch for the light of the silvery new moon. At that moment, the sacred gong will be struck, whereupon Norma will enter and deliver a mandate from their god. In no uncertain volume, Oroveso rouses the mens spirits predicting that the message will be a clear declaration of war against the occupying Roman forces. The clamor of defeat will reverberate even to the streets of Rome. Oroveso is persuasive in his vision of victory and Christian Van Horn is precisely the brand of baritone Bellini had in mind. For die-hard fans of Norma, a season opening is a dream come true. It has been nine years since San Francisco Opera last presented the work - and another seven before that.
"This is not La Bohème, you know," observed Christian. "I think it says a lot about the audience - that the company feels comfortable putting this on. This is a big opening and I think San Francisco is ready for it. Even Wagner has opinions about Norma, being one of his favorites - you have to cast heavy, top-to-bottom. You get vocal theatrics and there's no opportunity for passive performing. You have to be aggressively on top of it to make the opera what it needs to be. It is a privilege to sing this music. My role is a good size role. Bellini left us a document to go by and we have to follow what's in there. But within that - with Maestro Nicola Luisotti at the helm - there are these slight moments to be artistic."

[Read the entire interview HERE]

There are four performances of Norma remaining at the San Francisco Opera between September 19-30 and tickets are available online