Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dominic Barberi to represent U.K. at Cardiff Competition

Dominic Barberi
28-year-old, German-born, Scottish bass-barihunk Dominic Barberi, who just wrapped up a run as Baron Douphol in Verdi's La traviata at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden opposite Ailyn Pérez, will represent the U.K. at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition on June 18th.

Barberi is currently a member of the ensemble at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, where he has also sung Colline in Puccini's La bohème, Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, as well as roles in Wagner's Parsifal , Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, Puccini's Manon Lescaut and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea.

Barberi went to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he graduated with Distinction in his Performance Masters in 2014. He then moved on to the Berlin Staatsoper International Opera Studio. His big breakthrough came with Opera North where he performed in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea.

Upcoming performances include the premiere of Daniel Pacitti's Luther Oratorio with the Berlin Philharmonic and Alvise Badoero in Ponchielli's La Gioconda at the Tiroler Landestheater Innsbruck.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Barihunk Eddie Nelson to perform at historic Maybeck Studio

Maybeck Studio in Berkeley and Eddie Nelson
Barihunk Eddie Nelson will perform at the historic Bernard Maybeck Studio in a special fundraiser for the West Edge Opera. He'll be joined by accompanist Ronny Michael Greenberg, both of whom have close associations with the San Francisco, having participated in the Merola Opera Program and the San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Program.

The performance will be Sunday, May 21st at 3 p.m. with light refreshments, champagne and wine being served. The concert will include music by Duparc mélodies and excerpts from Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, in which Nelson will sing the title role at West Edge Opera's Summer Festival. 

The historic Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts was built in 1914 by Bernard Maybeck, the architect of San Francisco's iconic Palace of Fine Arts. Joseph R. Nixon commissioned the building as a live-in studio for his daughter Milda’s piano teacher, Alma Schmidt Kennedy. The studio boasts beautiful acoustics and a long history of hosting world-class performances and recordings. Performances have been hosted there for over 100 years. The house includes two of Maybeck's favorite architectual devices, the Gothic tracery "S" patterns along the balcony and the Japanese-like split eaves on the gables.

Admission to this event is available with a donation of $175 per person, of which $145 is tax deductible. Click HERE to reserve a seat.

Malte Roesner, who appears with the West Edge Summer Festival
In addition to Edward Nelson's Hamlet, the West Edge Opera Summer season will also include the U.S. debut of German bass-barihunk Malte Roesner in Soler's The Chastity Tree.
This is Spanish composer Vicente Martín y Soler's most famous work and is also known by its original title L'arbore di Diana.

Librettist Lorenzo da Ponte created a story from a legend that tells the tale of how Diana, the Greek god of chastity, falls in love with the shepherd Endymion. The plot —halfway between pastoral literature and erotic comedy also praises the political openness of the Archduke Joseph II of Austria.


Tickets and additional information on the West Edge Opera Summer Festival are available online. Roesner is also scheduled to sing a concert of music by Soler and his contemporaries featuring soprano Aurora Perry and tenor Samuel Levine. Details will be announced shortly.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Germán Olvera goes full frontal in Ginastera's Bomarzo

Germán Olvera in Bomarzo
Mexican baritone Germán Olvera goes full frontal in Alberto Ginastera's opera Bomarzo, which is available for viewing on The Opera Platform until June 4, 2017. The performance was recorded at the Teatro Real in Madrid, which was the first European staging of the 12-tone opera since 1976.

The piece had its premier in Washington DC in 1967 and was famously banned in Ginastera's native Argentine, where it was not performed until 1972. The current production celebrates the centenary of Ginastera's birth, who was born in Buenos Aires on April 11. 1916.   

The libretto by Manuel Mujica Lainez deals with the life of the hunchbacked Duke of Bomarzo in Sicily, who sculpted a "garden of monsters" in the 16th century. In the opera, Pier Francesco Orsini, the Duke of Bomarzo, drinks what his astrologer Silvio de Narni claims to be a magic potion that will grant the Duke immortality. However, the drink turns out to be poisoned. After the poison starts to work, Bomarzo begins to recall his life in a series of flashbacks.

Germán Olvera in Bomarzo
Olvera performs the role of Girolamo, who is a stark contrast to his brother and is seen a more  perfect human form. Girolamo goes out for a swim naked, which eventually leads to his death. 

Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Olvera has sung in a number of productions staged by the Palau de les Arts of Valencia. He made his debut in 2013 in the Palacio de Bellas Artes of Mexico City as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen.

Upcoming performances include Ping in Puccini's Turandot with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (a role that he's recorded on DVD), Grégorio in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and Eisenhardt in Zimmermann's Die Soldaten at the Teatro Real.

Dean Murphy joins ensemble at Deutsche Oper Berlin

Dean Murphy (photo: Jiyang Chen)
We first introduced American barihunk Dean Murphy to readers back in 2015 when he was singing Top in Aaron Copland's Tender Land at Opera North in Lebanon, New Hampshire. His career has clearly taken off since then, as he has now joined the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where he'll start performing as part of the ensemble in January 2018.

He'll be performing Dancairo in Bizet's Carmen, a judge in Korngold's Das Wunder der Heliane, Fiorillo in Rossini's The Barber of Seville, a mocker in Prokovfiev's The Love for Three Oranges, a Flemish Deputy in Verdi's Don Carlo, Wagner in Gounod's Faust, the sargeant in Puccini's La bohème, a singer in Ponchielli's La Gioconda, a delivery boy in Verdi's La traviata, an officer in Meyerbeer's Le Prophète and the bailiff in Verdi's Rigoletto.

Murphy holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Hartt School of Music. He will graduate from Yale’s School of Music with a Master of Music degree in the spring of 2017. He was a resident artist with Opera Connecticut from 2013-2014 where he performed a number of roles. He has been a regular at a number of other New England companies including Salt Marsh Opera, Opera Connecticut, Connecticut Lyric Opera and Yale Opera.

Murphy can next be heard on May 20th as Mercutio in excerpts from Gounod's Roméo et Juliette with the Opera Theater of Connecticut in Clinton. Tickets are available online.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Introducing Polish Barihunk Paweł Konik in DNO's Monteverdi

Paweł Konik in Monteverdi's Madrigals (right)
Polish barihunk Pawel Konik is taking on double duty in the Dutch National Opera's produciton of Madrigals,  an amalgam of works by Monteverdi. He performs as Tancredi in the section taken from Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and on of the Infernal Spirits taken from Il ballo delle ingrate. As Tancredi he is suite in 77 pounds (35 kilos) of armor.

Only three full-length works from Monteverdi’s opera oeuvre have survived. From Arianna, only the Lamento has survived, in which the Cretan princess sings of her desire for death, as her lover Theseus has left her. Il ballo delle Ingrate and Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda are both part of Madrigals, Book 8. In these works, too, death is the central theme. In a dance, women who have died show what the living can expect if they resist the arts of Cupid. Il combattimento shows the futility of every war or battle. In a duel, Tancredi kills a supposed enemy, who turns out to be his lover Clorinda.

The show also includes hunkentenor Nicólas Maraziótis, bass-barihunk Nathanaël Tavernier as Plutone and is conducted by Christophe Rousset with his orchestra Les Talens Lyriques. You can watch the trailer for the show on YouTube.

Paweł Konik and Nicólas Maraziótis
The performances will take place in the Scenery Atelier of Dutch National Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam-Zuidoost.  The set is dominated by a steel artwork by Jannis Kounellis.There are three remaining performances on May 16, 17 and 19, and then it travels to the U.K.s Brighton Festival for a single performance on May 21.

Konik was born in Cieszyn, Poland and studied at the at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music. He made his debut in January 2013 as Shvochniev in Shostakovich's  The Gamblers, for which won "The Best Singer's Debut Award" from the Jan Kiepura’s Drama Music Awards. He is a member of the Young Artists Program at the Polish National Opera's Opera Academy at the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw.

His operatic experience includes performances of title roles in Mozart's  Le nozze di Figaro, Massenets Don Quichotte,, Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Betto in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Nikitich Pristav in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov, Henri Perrin in Madame Curie by Elżbieta Sikora and Zbigniew in Moniuszko’s Haunted Manor.

On May 28th, Paweł Konik returns to his hometown of Cieszyn to sing Bach’s Ich habe genug BWV 82 in a concert in memory of Polish conductor Karol Stryja.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Barihunk duo announced in San Francisco Opera cast change

Erwin Schrott & Erik Anstine
San Francisco Opera’s summer production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni just doubled its "sexiness factor" with the announcement that two barihunks will step in for Marco Vinco as Leporello. The Italian bass withdrew from the production due to health issues.

American bass-barihunk Erik Anstine will sing two performances and Uruguayan bass-barihunk Erwin Schrott will take over for the other six, which run from June 4 through June 30. Both singers are making their house debuts with the San Francisco Opera. Schrott's performances will be has last scheduled appearances in the United States for 2017.

The duo will join bass-barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, who is singing the title role, along with soprano Erin Wall as Donna Anna, soprano Ana María Martínez as Donna Elvira, tenor Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Don Ottavio, soprano Sarah Shafer as Zerlina, Michael Sumuel  as Masetto and Andrea Silvestrelli. Tickets are available online.

The June 30th performance will be part of the company's' annual Opera at the Ballpark, a free live simulcast of the opera at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The simulcast is free, but you must register online.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Vittorio Prato as sexy Guglielmo in Geneva

Alexandra Kadurina and Vittorio Prato
Italian barihunk Vittorio Prato shows off some skin as Guglielmo in German director David Bösch's new production of Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. The cast also includes Veronika Dzhioeva as Fiordiligi, Alexandra Kadurina as Dorabella, Steve Davislim as Ferrando, Monica Bacelli as Despina and Laurent Naouri as Don Alfonso.

Bösch's vision in this production is to bring out both the dark cynicism of Da Ponte’s cruel game of lime and Mozart’s luminous music of love. He figures that if "all women are like that," then "all men are too."  The moral of this production is that if love’s a game, the it’s worth learning how to play it.

There are performances remaining on May 10 12 and 14. Tickets are available online.  

Next up for Prato is Puccini's five-part Messa a Quattro voci con orchestra, or Messa di Gloria at La Monnaie with tenor Sergey Romanovsky. There is a single performance on June 14th. Tickets are available online.