Monday, April 29, 2013

Wes Mason launches new website; Ben Affleck Doppelgänger?

Wes Mason (photo by Michael Yeshion)
People often ask us, "Where did you get that photo?" The answer is often on a singer's website, where we've learned one can find a treasure trove of sexy photos. It seems singers (or their website designers) are more inclined to post hot photos that their managers (oh, the boring headshot!).

American barihunk Wes Mason is no exception and he's launching his new website today with some male model-esque photos by New York City-based photographer and actor Michael Yeshion. In another example of the changing face of opera, Mason's new photos look like they were pulled from GQ or Vanity Fair rather than an opera program. Some of our recent posts have talked about fitness and image in opera and how it needs to catch up with other art forms in marketing and appealing to a broader audience. Mason's new website is a perfect example of the marketing aspect of that discussion.

Separated at Birth: Ben Affleck and Wes Mason
We've heard singers like Daniel Okulitch and Nathan Gunn talk eloquently about how opera needs to catch up with movies and television in order to survive. When we looked at Wes Mason's new photos it struck us that he's following that script by channeling a pretty hot Ben Affleck look with the baritone beard and seductive "stare at the camera and look serious" pose. You can visit Mason's new website at www.wesmasonstage.com.

Mason is currently at the Fort Worth Opera as Marcello in La bohème following his performances in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. He'll be making his mainstage debut next year as Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Philadelphia. Meanwhile, he's getting rave reviews again in Fort Worth, where he became a household name in opera for his stunning portrayal as Cuban dissident and poet, Reinaldo Arenas, in the world premiere of Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls in 2010.

The esteemed critic Scott Cantrell of the Dallas Morning News dubbed Mason the "vocal standout" in a La bohème cast filled with vocal talent. Performances run through May 3 and tickets and additional cast information is available online. We highly suggest making a trip to Fort Worth if you can get away, as Michael Mayes' riveting performance in Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied will be running through May 11. We'll be there!

Previous engagements for Mason have included Masetto in Don Giovanni with Opera Naples, Moralès in Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival, Le Dancaire in Carmen with Michigan Opera Theater, Valentine in Faust and both Schaunard and Marcello in La bohème with the Crested Butte Music Festival.

Mason was a finalist in the 2012 Opera Index Competition, Encouragement Award winner in the 2012 Loren L. Zachary Society Competition, Second Place Regional Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2009 and a three-time nominee for the Sarah Tucker Study Grant in 2012, 2010 and 2009.

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