Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hampson and Pisaroni back for "No Tenors Allowed"

Thomas Hampson and his son-in-law Luca Pisaroni are taking their "No Tenors Allowed" show to the Wiener Konzerthaus in Austria on April 3rd. The duo has performed the concert worldwide, including in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey, Germany and France. Tickets are available online.

The program includes arias and duets from opera and Broadway. Pisaroni will perform Leporello’s catalogue aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni, Non più andrai from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, "Sorgete… Duce di tanti eroi: from Rossini's Maometto II and Rodgers & Hammerstein's Some Enchanted Evening. Hampson will perform Gabey’s song from Bernstein's On the Town, Perfidi!...Pietà, rispetto, amore from Verdi's Macbeth, Komm, Zigány from Gräfin Mariza and "Hai già vinta la causa... Vedrò mentr’io sospiro" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. They will also team up for duets from Mozart's Don Giovanni and a medley of Broadway hits. 

Hampson originally performed the "No Tenors Allowed" format with bass Samuel Ramey in the 1990's, which is available on Teldec.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Barihunk trio returns in Opera San Jose's "La boheme"

Brian James Myer, Colin Ramsey and Matthew Hanscom
Opera San Jose's upcoming performance of Puccini's La boheme will feature the barihunk trio of Matthew Hanscom as Marcello, Colin Ramsey as Colline and Brian James Myer as Schaunard. There will be six performances from April 15-30, including three with budding soprano superstar Julie Adams as Mimi. 

The opera will be updated the end of WWI, when Paris was delirious with optimism for the new century and great artists like Nijinsky, Stravinsky, Picasso and Coco Channel were creating a new way of life in the art's capital of the world.

The barihunk trio also appeared together in Opera San Jose's production of Kevin Puts' Silent Night, with Colin Ramsey as Father Palmer, Brian James Myer as Ponchel and Matthew Hanscom as Matthew Hanscom as Lt. Gordon.

The April 23rd performance will also feature a pre-performance brunch in the elegant courtyard of the California Theatre. Tickets for La boheme and the brunch are available online.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jarrett Ott in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers; Original cast in Hawaii

Jarrett Ott
Barihunk Jarrett Ott will be taking on the role of Charlie in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers at Opera Memphis on April 1st and 8th.  He'll be joined by Cree Carrico as his sister Beatrice and Phyllis Pancella as their mother Madeline Mitchell. The role of Charlie has become a popular vehicle for barihunks, including Keith Phares, Matthew Worth and Jesse Blumberg.

Three Decembers tells the story of a famous stage actress – Madeline Mitchell – and her two adult children: Beatrice and Charlie. Both children resent their mother's long absences on the road and her lack of concern for the tragedies in their lives. Charlie believes his mother is distant because he is gay, even as his partner, Burt, is dying of AIDS. Meanwhile, Beatrice, trapped in an unhappy marriage, feels Madeline resents her enduring affection for their deceased father. As the story unfolds over the decades, long-simmering resentments surface, accusations are hurled, and family secrets revealed, leading ultimately to a hard-won peace and forgiveness for both the living and the dead.

On March 30th, Ott will appear at OUT at the Opera, a preview night for Opera Memphis at Playhouse on the Square from 7-10 PM. The event is intended to connect the opera company with the LGBT community. Tickets for the opera are available online.

Ott next performs Zurga in Bizet's The Pearl Fishers with the North Carolina Opera on April 28th and 30th.

Keith Phares in Three Decembers
A few thousand miles to the west, the Hawaii Opera Theater has assembled the three main cast members from the original 2008 production from the Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. Barihunk Keith Phares sings Charlie, with Kristin Clayton as his sister Beatrice and the indefatigable Federica von Stade as Madeline.

There are shows remaining on March 29th and 31st, and April 1st.  Tickets are available online. Next up is Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann with Wayne Tigges as the Four Villains, who we just posted about as a last minute substitution in Los Angeles.

Villainous drama at the Los Angeles Opera

Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at:
Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at:
Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at:
Barihunks Wayne Tigges and Steven Labrie
There was a bit of drama at the Los Angeles Opera this weekend when French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice. He was scheduled to sing the Four Villains in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman along with his wife soprano Diana Damrau.

Unfortunately, no substitute was available, so the company called barihunk Wayne Tigges in Chicago and asked him to sing the role. Tigges would only agree if he could use a score, which was accommodated when Testé agreed to lip synch the role from the stage. Tigges hopped on a plane and from our accounts in Los Angeles, Tigges was a huge success with the audience.

The regular cast also includes barihunk Theo Hoffman as Hermann (no relation to the title character).

Additional performances are on April 2, 6, 9 and 15.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Barihunk Thomas Weinhappel first Austrian to win Thalia Award

Thomas Weinhappel in a Barihunk t-shirt and with his Thalia Award
Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel became the first Austrian to win the Thalia Award for his portrayal of the title role in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at the National Opera of Ostrava. Weinhappel won in the category "Best Opera Singer" for a performance at a Czech opera company in 2016.

Judges praised him for "...finding the detailed meanings of words and music, and their allusions to express the complexity of the character the young man crushed by dark family relations."

The Thalia Awards are presented by the Czech Actors' Association and are named after the muse of comedy. Awards are given out for theater, opera, musicals and ballet. Past winners have included Eva Urbanová, Dagmar Pecková and Kate Aldrich.  The award ceremony was broadcast live on Czech television and radio from the Czech National State Opera.

Thomas Weinhappel and Lukáš Bařák in The Rape of Lucretia
He can be seen as Tarquinius with fellow barihunk Lukáš Bařák as Junius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia through April 19th in Ostrava. Tickets and additional performance information is available online.

Seth Carico in Berlin's first "Death in Venice" in 40 years

Seth Carico in Death in Venice at the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Death in Venice has returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin after an absence of forty years as part of conductor Donald Runnicles cycle of Benjamin Britten operas. Barihunk Seth Carico is featured in multiple roles, including the Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondolier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players and the Voice of Dionysus. The rest of the principle cast features Paul Nilon as Gustav von Aschenbach, Tai Oney as Apollo and 25-year-old German actor Rauand Taleb in the critical role of Tadzio.

Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
Benjamin Britten’s last opera was also his most personal. The work is extraordinary not simply for the autobiographical threads that are reflected in Thomas Mann’s ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach; the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work are also inextricably linked to the themes explored. Looking to thwart what he saw as his impending death, Britten took refuge in composition, citing his need to finish the work as a pretext for putting off an urgent heart operation.

Britten expanded the musical theater form into a work of self-reflection that accumulates traditions and former experiences. The use of male sopranos – here for the role of Apollo – dates back to baroque opera but was a common feature of Britten’s early work, with parts being written for the great British countertenors Alfred Deller and James Bowman. The role of Gustav von Aschenbach was the largest created by Britten for his partner Peter Pears, with Aschenbach always at the heart of the proceedings. His casting of a bass to play Aschenbach’s various opponents, all threatening him with death and destruction, is rooted in the narrative tradition of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann.

Paul Nilon, Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
The German premiere of Death in Venice took place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1974.

There are two remaining performances left on April 23 and 28. On April 6th, you can hear Seth Carico as part of the company's Opera Lounge series. Tickets are available online

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Barihunk trio in Mohammed Fairouz's The New Prince

Joshua Hopkins in The New Prince
Last night, the Dutch National Opera premiered Mohammed Fairouz's The New Prince, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the book in 2032. The piece is set in both the past and in the future and features the barihunk trio of Joshua Hopkins as Niccolò Machiavelli, Paulo Szot as Alexander Hamilton, Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney (three very different characters!), and Dominic Kraemer as Prince Saud al-Faisal.

Paulo Szot as Bill Clinton
Besides Machiavelli, it features well-known people of our day, including Henry Kissinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Osama bin Laden, as well as a fantasy world ruler Wu Virtu. Machiavelli’s lover is Fortuna, who is also his publisher. There is even a scene where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fight over a blow-up globe of the world.

Niccoló Machiavelli’s famous book The Prince describes the means that can be used by a dictator in strengthening his position. He can even permit himself lies and deceit, providing he ensures that they do not come to light. The politician/diplomat/writer was way ahead of his time. 

Dominic Kraemer and a scene from The New Prince
The relevance of Machiavelli’s writing to today inspired composer Mohammed Fairouz to write his second opera. The opera's ultimate message of the piece is delivered by Wu Virtu, which is "the end of war is war" and that aggression met with aggression is a only zero-sum game.

There are three remaining performances on March 26, 28 and 29.