Thursday, June 21, 2018

Levent Bakirci in revealing Il Prigioniero at Maggio Musicale

Levent Bakirci in Il Prigioniero
Levent Bakirci, who we recently featured starring in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Teatro Municipal Santiago in Chile, just made his debut at the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. Bakirci is singing the difficult title role in Luigi Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero and spends much of the opera in little more than a pair of briefs. 

Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero is a 7-part, 50-minute opera which was first performed on May 3, 1948 for the XIII Maggio Festival, and was considered one of the cornerstones of 20th century musical theater. It was first broadcast by the Italian radio station RAI on December 1, 1949.

The opera has two remaining performances on June 21 and 23. Tickets are available online and start at only € 10. 

Levent Bakirci in Il Prigioniero
The work is based on the short story La torture par l'espérance ("Torture by Hope") from the collection Nouveaux contes cruels by the French writer Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam and from La Légende d'Ulenspiegel et de Lamme Goedzak by Charles de Coster. Some of the musical material is based on Dallapiccola's 1938 choral work Canti di prigionia. After ruminating on the idea, he started work on the piece in 1939 at the suggestion of his wife Laura.

Bakirci, graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara before pursuing his career as a singer, including studying at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

He has performed Don Giovanni at the Staatstheater Nürnberg, where he is an ensemble member, as well as the Theater Bremen, where he was a member of the ensemble from 2008-11. He has appeared at some of the leading opera houses of the world, including the Theatre du Caputole Toulouse, Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, Teatro Verdi in Trieste, Oper Stuttgart, as well as with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester and with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie Orchestra (NDW).

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Christopher Bolduc takes on Don Giovanni in new concept

Christopher Bolduc (right) as Don Giovanni in Wiesbaden
Christopher Bolduc continues to make his mark at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden in Germany, where he has performed Belcore in Donizetti's L’elisir d’amore, Lescaut in Massenet's Manon, Wolfram von Eschenbach in Wagner's Tannhäuser, Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème and Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte.

His latest performance will be in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni in Nicholas Brieger's new concept where the Don's conflict is as much with growing older, as it is with women. The current run goes from June 17-29 and includes Netta Or as Donna Anna, Ioan Hotea as Don Ottavio, Young Doo Park as the Commedatore, Heather Engebretson as Donna Elvira, Shavleg Armasi as Leporello, Benjamin Russell as Masetto and Katharina Konradi as Zerlina. The production returns later this year in September and October, as well next year from January 30-February 23. Tickets are available online.

Christopher Bolduc sings Britten's "O Waly, Waly":

Bolduc will take a break from playing Mozart's most famous seducer in November to sing the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin opening on November 10th.

Regular readers will remember his recent sexy debut at the National Theatre (Národní divaldo) in Prague in the title role of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd. The photos are worth checking out HERE.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

John Brancy wins 5 AWARDS at Concours musical international de Montréal

John Brancy
American barihunk John Brancy may need a Brinks truck to haul all of his winnings back to the United States from Canada. He took home five prizes at the prestigious Concours musical international de Montréal, including the $30,000 Léopold Simoneau’ First Prize for Art Song (along with frequent collaborator Peter Dugan, the $50000 James Norcop Career Development Grant, the $2,500 Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity Prize, the $5,000 French Mélodie Award and $2,000 for being a finalist in the Aria Division.

John Brancy appears at the 1:33:00 mark in the French Mélodie competition:

Other winners included baritone Julien van Mellaerts for the German Lied Award, mezzo Rihab Chaieb and mezzo Emily D'Angelo for Best Canadian Artist, mezzo Clara Osowski and mezzo Emily D'Angelo for the Radio-Canada People's Choice Award, tenor Mario Bahg for the Aria Division, and tenor Andrew Haji for the Oratorio Award.

This summer, John Brancy will appear as the baritone soloist at the 2018 Carmel Bach Festival, performing Carl Orff's Carmina Burana and Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. In the Fall, he will appear in the lead role of Pete in Olga Neuwirth's setting of David Lynch's movie "Lost Highway".

Monday, June 4, 2018

Listen to Simon Keenlyside's return as Don Giovanni

Michael Adams (left) and Simon Keenlyside as Don Giovanni in Genève
Simon Keenlyside fans will be thrilled to learn that they'll be able to hear his Don Giovanni from the Grand Théâtre de Genève on June 30th at 8 PM GMT/2 PM EST/11 AM PST on Espace2, the French-speaking Swiss radio station.  

The opera is the final part of director David Bösch's trio of Mozart/Da Ponte operas, which began in Amsterdam with the Marriage of Figaro in 2016 and continued at the Grand Théâtre de Genève with Così fan tutte in 2017. In his 1950s-era production Keenlyside is a hyperactive Don Giovanni who is fueled by cocaine. He takes pictures of his conquests on a Polaroid camera and gives them to his sidekick Leporello to paste into a photo album.
upcoming  performances on June 8, 11, 13, 15 and 17. Tickets are available online.

The opera also features American barihunk Michael Adams as Masetto.

After Genève, Keenlyside heads to London to sing Ford at the Royal Opera opposite Bryn Terfel's Sir John Falstaff. He will return to Don Giovanni in March 2019 at the Bavarian State Opera.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Opera isn't dying, but you can find it at Green-Wood Cemetery

Andrew Bogard and Samantha Hankey
Opera isn't dying, but it will be at the Green-Wood Cemetery starting on June 6th and making a ghostly reappearance on June 8 and 10.

The world premiere of David Hertzberg's chamber opera The Rose Elf will be presented in the catacombs of the historic cemetery, which was founded in 1838. The opera will be directed by the visionary director R. B. Schlather and features bass-barihunk Andrew Bogard, along with the amazing, award-winning mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, as well as lyric soprano Alisa Jordheim and hunkentenor Kyle Bielfield.

The Rose Elf, which is based on Hans Christian Anderson's 1839 story The Elf of the Rose,  tells the tale of two lovers torn apart by a senseless act of violence; and of a strange and sensuous being, at once near and distant, who witnesses this tragedy and is transformed.

Andrew Bogard (left) and Kyle Bielfield (right)
When the "rural cemetery" movement started in the 1830's and burials moved from churches to park-like settings, cemeteries became gathering places for the public. They were often designed by noted landscape architects like Frederick Law Olmsted and included Victorian gardens, beautiful statues, fountains and gathering areas.

Opera companies are also seeking out more original spaces to perform operas, with West Edge Opera performing in an abandoned train station and an old pipe and steel factory, On Site Opera put on a production at Madame Tussauds Wax museum as well as the Bronx Zoo, and an interactive opera was performed at the old Los Angeles Train Station complete with headphones and unsuspecting passengers as part of the "cast".

The amazing young mezzo Samantha Hankey:

For The Rose Elf, spectators will be placed in long single rows along the sides of the central space, with a nine-piece orchestra at the far end and the singers moving up and down. The catacombs, which were built in the 1850s are normally closed to the public. Ticket information is available online.

Andrew Bogard has a Master of Music degree from the Curtis Institute of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School. He won first place in the 2014 Mario Lanza Scholarship Competition, second place and audience choice in the 2015 Cooper-Bing Opera Columbus Competition, and was a Mid-Atlantic regional finalist and encouragement award recipient in the 2015 MET Competition. Last season he joined the Washington National Opera's Young Artist Program, where he sang the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Leporello in Don Giovanni.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Hadleigh Adams to star in Fellow Travelers at Minnesota Opera

Hadleigh Adams
New Zealand-born barihunk Hadleigh will take on the role of Hawkins Fuller in Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers at the Minnesota Opera opposite hunkentenor Andres Acosta.

Fellow Travelers, which was written in collaboration with librettist Greg Pierce and director Kevin Newbury, was developed in a 2013 Opera Fusion workshop. Barihunk Joseph Lattanzi sang the world premiere in Cincinnati in 2016 and reprised the role in Chicago.  

The opera is set in Washington D.C. against the backdrop of the McCarthy-era "lavender scare" and tells the story of Timothy “Skippy” Laughlin, an aspiring young journalist, and Hawkins “Hawk” Fuller, a handsome, profligate State Department official. A chance encounter with Hawk leads to Tim's first job in the Nation's capital, and his first love affair. As his involvement deepens, Skippy struggles to reconcile his political convictions, his religious beliefs, and his love for Fuller – an entanglement that will end in a stunning act of betrayal. The libretto is based on the novel by American novelist, essayist and critic Thomas Mallon.

Performances will run from June 16-26 and tickets and additional cast information is available online. The gay-themed opera will overlap with Twin Cities Pride, which takes place June 23-24.

Later this summer, Hadleigh Adams can be seen at West Edge Opera as Vicomte de Valmont in Francesconi's Quartett. He then heads to the mainstage of the San Francisco Opera for Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hubert Zapiór wins Giulio Gari Voice Competition

Polish barihunk Hubert Zapiór has won the 2018 Giulio Gari Foundation International Voice Competition in New York City. The award follows him recently winning the 2018 Career Bridges Award and First Prize at the 2018 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition in New York.

In the 2015 competition, three barihunks won the trifecta, as Takaoki Onishi took 1st Prize (shared with tenor Andrew Stenson), while Andre Courville took 2nd Prize and Michael Adams took 3rd Prize.

Hubert Zapiór sings an aria from Moniuszko's "The Haunted Manor":

Giulio Gari  was a tenor who sang throughout the US, Europe and Central America. He was invited to sing at the Metropolitan Opera by Sir Rudolf Bing, where he debuted as Lt. Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly alongside the legendary soprano Licia Albanese. He was a leading tenor at the old New York City Opera for eight seasons.

Zapiór graduated from Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, Poland and currently studies at Juilliard. This season he made his debut at the Teatr Wielki as Papageno in the Barrie Kosky’s production of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and as Herr Fluth in Nicolai's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor at the Juilliard Opera.

On June 1st, he will appear as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast at the Tauron Arena in Kraków, Poland. Tickets are available online.