Saturday, August 1, 2015

Benjamin Appl named ECHO Rising Star

Benjamin Appl
German barihunk Benjamin Appl was just named one of the European Concert Hall Organization's (ECHO) six outstanding young artists to become its Rising Stars. The selected Rising Stars receive professional development support and perform a concert tour across the halls of the ECHO network The ECHO Rising Stars series was founded in 1995 and has shaped the musical careers of many of today’s world class artists.

The aim of the Rising Stars series is to bring young and exceptional young artists to new international audiences. The selected artists are offered unparalleled performance opportunities to present musical programs of their choosing in the major concert halls of Europe. A new element for the 2015/2016 season is that each artist also has a new work commissioned for them as part of the series.  Composer Nico Muhly has been chosen to create a piece for Appl.

Other artists chosen this year are pianist Cathy Krier, cellist Harriet Krijgh, Quatour Zaïde, harrpist Remy van Kesteren and Trio Catch.

Gavan Ring takes 2nd Prize at Concorso Lirico Internazionale

Gavan Ring performing in Portofino
Irish barihunk Gavan Ring, who we introduced to readers back in October 2014, took 2nd Prize at the Concorso Lirico Internazionale Vocal Competition in Portofino, which concluded last night.  Two Russian sopranos, Maria Nazarova and Karina Kheruntc, took 1st and 3rd Prize respectively. Ring was awarded €4000.

The finalists were narrowed down from a field of 120 singers from 28 countries and had 10 minutes in the final round to sing the aria of their choice. The jury was headed by Dominique Meyer, the director of the Vienna State Opera. The top three winners will be invited to audition for the
Vienna State Opera.

Gavan Ring at the 2013 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Competition:

Gavan Ring can next be seen as Bill Bobstay in Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore at the Edinburgh International Festival opening on August 23 and Figaro in Rossini's The Barber of Seville at Opera North opening on October 7th. On November 8th, he'll perform a song recital with accompanist Simon Lepper as part of the Dublin Song Series at Hugh Lane Gallery.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Andrew Garland to present Schubertiade

Andrew Garland

Andrew Garland has been one of our favorite lieder/song recitalists ever since we heard his amazing CD of American composers, which is still available for sale.  The CD features music of Tom Cipullo, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman and Stephen Paulus and remains one of the best recording of American songs.

On August 7th, Garland will turn his attention to German language lieder in a Schubertiade at the Spire Center for the Performing Arts in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Garland will perform selections from both Winterreise and Die Schöne Müllerin, as well as selected songs. World's End Trio with guest musicians will also perform the Trout Quintet.

Andrew Garland's American Portraits recital (Complete):

You can catch him on the operatic stage beginning on October 2nd when he performs Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème with the Boston Lyric Opera. The cast includes the real-life barihunk couple of Jonathan Beyer as Marcello and Brandan Cedel as Colline.

Monday, July 27, 2015

West Edge Opera season off to thrilling start

Dan Kempson
If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, you will want to check out the West Edge Opera's current festival which got underway last week. Not only are the first two shows that have opened (Lulu and As One) all the talk of the local opera community, but all three operas feature barihunks.

We managed to get this picture of barihunk Dan Kempson from Act 1 of Laura Kaminsky's As One where he shares the role of Hannah with the thrilling mezzo-soprano Brenda Patterson. The piece is being performed at The Oakland Metro, a punk rock venue reflective of Oakland’s gritty art scene and the ideal space for such a provocative piece. Kempson is shirtless within 5 minutes of the first bar of music.

Kaminsky was inspired to write As One after reading an article in the New York Times in 2008 about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from straight to gay. The opera is based on the life experience of noted filmmaker Kimberly Reed. There are two performances remaining on July 31 and August 8th.

Alban Berg’s Lulu will be performed in the abandoned and decaying 1912 Beaux-Arts train station at 16th Street in Oakland where the movies Funny Lady and RENT were filmed. It opened to rave reviews and has additional performances on August 2 and 8. It features barihunk Zack Altman as the Athlete.

The final opera is Monteverdi’s, Ulysses, which will be staged at the American Steel Studios, a former pipe factory turned six acre art studio that’s now home to steel fabricators, sculptors, vertical aerial and trapeze performers, glass artists, and more. The opera stars Nikolas Nackley in the title role and barihunk Aaron Sørensen as Neptune. It opens on August 1 with additional performances on August 7 and 9.

Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Reader Submission: Franco Cerri

Franco Cerri
This has been a busy week for Reader Submissions and the latest is Italian barihunk Franco Cerri. He may be our first submission who is an opera singer, dancer AND jazz pianist.

Born in Genoa, Italy, Cerri  began his studies with piano, drama and ballet dancing. While at the Conservatory, he studied singing with the great Italian baritone Silvano Carroli. In 2012, he won the Città di Alcamo International Singing Competition. 

He made his professional debut as a bass, singing the Bonze in the Puccini's Madame Butterfly and the title role in Rossini's Mosè in Genoa. His debut as baritone was with the role of Marcello in Puccini's La boheme followed by the role of Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.

He has performed Riccardo in Bellini's I Puritani in Licata, Madama Butterfly and The Barber of Seville at the Arena Alpe Adria of Lignano, Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata at the Trentino Opera Festival and sang in Manzitti’s Les Invisibles at the Great Palazzo Ducale in Genoa.

On August 8th, he'll perform Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore at the Festival Illica Castell'Arquato directed by the great Rolando Panerai, who sang both Belcore and Dulcamara during his career. On August 20th, he'll appear at the Puccini Festival in Torre del lago as Guccio in Gianni Schicchi.

Reader Submission: David Pershall

David Pershall
A reader spotted David Pershall making his role debut as Rodrigo in Verdi's Don Carlo at Oper Burg Gars in Vienna and asked if we'd featured him before. Although we briefly mentioned him winning the Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, we had actually never featured him before despite having seen him perform scenes from Don Pasquale, Les pêcheurs de perles, and Die Fledermaus in San Francisco.

He is a graduate of the Merola Opera program at San Francisco Opera and the Virginia Opera Resident Artist program. He holds a Bachelor of Music from Baylor University, as well as a Master of Music and an Artist Diploma from Yale School of Music. In addition to winning the Jensen
Competition, he has won the the Marcello Giordani Foundation International Vocal Competition, the New Jersey Verismo Competition, the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition,  the Connecticut Opera Guild Competition, the Hugo Kauder Competition for Voice, the Presser Music Foundation Award, and the Thomas Stewart Award for Vocal Excellence.

Pershall joined the Vienna State Opera this season where his performances include Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, and Sebastian in The Tempest. He has perviously appeared at Sarasota Opera as Count di Luna in ll Trovatore, Vero Beach Opera as Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Virginia Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute, Amarillo Opera as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor which was broadcast on PBS, El Paso Opera as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Virginia Opera as Zurga in Les pêcheurs de perles, and with the Norwegian National Opera as Schaunard in La Bohème.

He has partnered with the Beethoven Easter Festival and the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra to produce three live performance albums in which he headlined as Don Pedro in Maria Padilla, Manfredo in L’Amore dei Tre Re, and Orestes in Iphigénie en Tauride

Performances of Don Carlo run through August 8th and tickets and additional cast information is available online. Next season he will make his Metropolitan Opera debut in the title rôle of The Barber of Seville followed by performances of Schaunard in La Bohème and Lord Cecil in Maria Stuarda. He'll be rotating Figaro with fellow barihunk Elliot Madore. Peshall's castmates include Ginger Costa-Jackson as Rosina and Taylor Stayton as Count Almaviva. Visit the Metropolitan Opera's website for additional information. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Barihunk Ed Parks featured in Indiana Gazette

Ed Parks

American barihunk Ed Parks, who was the highest ranking baritone at the recent Operalia competition, was recently featured in the Indiana Gazette. Here is the article:

Baritone Parks puts on world class performance by CHAUNCEY ROSS

For Ed Parks, the day he was invited to the prestigious Operalia singing competition in London is more memorable than the day he pocketed a $10,000 prize in the contest.

Parks, the Indiana-raised opera singer, with the Metropolitan Opera of New York and Carnegie Hall on his credit list, took third place in the international competition held last weekend in London.
A renowned baritone, Parks was the top American in the 23rd annual Operalia, a program founded by Plácido Domingo.

Two tenors, Ioan Hotea, of Romania, and Darren Pene Pati, of New Zealand, placed first and second in the men’s division, making Parks, in the eyes of many, the best baritone.
In. The. World.

Parks would be the first to put some perspective on that thinking.

“It’s the best in the world under (age) 32. And there’s a lot that goes into it,” Parks said. “And there are a lot of singers that probably couldn’t even audition because of having summer programs or summer festival work.

“But of the singers that I heard — and I didn’t hear everybody through all the rounds — these are very high-quality singers.”