Wednesday, April 29, 2015

George von Bergen in something old, something new

George von Bergen (Photo: James Bellorini)
We recently introduced British barihunk George von Bergen in an announcement about ENO's upcoming season, where he's singing Sharpless in Anthony Minghella's award-winning production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

If you want to catch him in something a bit more contemporary, you can hear him as the Steward in Jonathan Dove's Flight at Opera Holland Park from June 6-19. The comic opera is based on a true story of a refugee trapped and living at a major international airport. He'll be joined by Kitty Whately as the Stewardess and tenor Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts, both of whom he encounters in a physical way!

This will be the first professional performance of the piece in London and it will also feature fellow barihunk Nicholas Garrett, who we first introduced to readers back in 2010. The work was commissioned by Glyndebourne Opera and premiered on September 24, 1998. The first U.S. performance was at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis on June 8, 2003 in a production directed by Colin Graham.

If you want to catch von Bergen in something slightly less contemporary, you can hear him as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Project at West Green House on July 25 and 26. Additional cast and ticket information is available online.

Have an announcement or pictures for us? Contact us at barihunks@gmail.com

Monday, April 27, 2015

Hadleigh Adams in New York's latest indie opera success Orlando

Hadleigh Adams in Orlando (and at rehearsal)
It seems like every season, one of New York's innovative smaller companies produces a show that sets the international opera world on fire. Last season it was Gregory Spears' Paul's Case that Beth Morrison produced and starred barihunk Keith Phares.

This season, the buzz is surrounding R.B. Schlather's innovative opera/art installation of Handel's Alcina at the Whitebox Art Center starring barihunk Hadleigh Adams. The opera, which wrapped up tonight, also included soprano Kiera Duffy and the countertenor Drew Minter in the cast. Last season Schlater scored a huge success with another Handel opera, when he produced Alcina in the same
space.
Hadleigh Adams in Orlando

The innovative director has opened up these rehearsals to the public and live streamed the rehearsals. The rehearsals have become NY mini-social scenes, even attracting Yoko Ono, Justin Vivian Bond and rapper Big Dipper.

Word is that is only the second part of a trilogy, so there will be another chance to catch his latest work next season. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

WatchTeatro Carlo Felice's "Barihunk Trio" live online


John Paul Huckle and the Teatro Carlo Felice "Barihunk Trio"
We recently posted about the barihunk trio in the Teatro Carlo Felice's production of Billy Budd and mentioned that they will be reuniting for Bizet's Carmen. We've now learned that you can watch them live online for FREE on May 8 and 6 PM (GMT) and May 12 at 1 PM (GMT) on their new livestream.

Valdis Jansons will sing Escamillo, John Paul Huckle is perfoming  Zuniga and Ricardo Crampton is taking on Morales. Jansons will be rotating the matador's role with another barihunk, Mattia Olivieri, who proved quite popular with our readers when we first posted about him.

Carmen will be rotated between Sonia Ganassi and Anna Malavasi. The opera opens on May 8th and runs through May 17.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Malte Roesner to star in German adaptation of Heggie opera


Barihunk Malte Roesner and actor Joost Leers
Barihunk Malte Roesner will be performing in the German language premiere of Jake Heggie's chamber opera For a Look or a Touch at the Staatstheater Braunschweig opening on May 2nd.

Based on the true story of two teenage lovers that the Holocaust tore apart forever, the dramatic song cycle For a Look or a Touch casts light on the fate of gay Germans in the Holocaust. The libretto, written by Heggie's frequent collaborator Gene Scheer, juxtaposes the exuberant freedom of pre-World War II Berlin with the brutal Nazi horrors that followed, while making an impassioned plea for remembrance.

Coming out of retirement to portray Gad Beck, an eighty year old gay survivor of the Holocaust, is famed German actor Jost Leers.  Gad Beck is an 80-year-old survivor of the Holocaust who is haunted by the memories of his first love Manfred, who died in a concentration camp at age 19.

The piece will be performed along with Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Another Sunrise, a 17-minute music drama performed by chamber quintet and soprano. The two Heggie pieces with be performed with  Ilse, the story Ilse Koch, the wife of a camp commandant at Buchenwald, with text taken from the original trials.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Michael Mayes in rarely performed opera by Ethel Smith


Michael Mayes in Dead Man Walking (right)
Barihunk Michael Mayes will sing the role of the Lighthouse keeper Lawrence in the first fully-staged performance of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers at Bard SummerScape. 

Dame Ethel Smyth was a Victorian-born Englishwoman, and a bisexual suffragette who was marginalized by the music community. Although her one-act opera Der Wald has the distinction of remaining the only work by a female composer ever produced at the Metropolitan Opera, The Wreckers has never been staged in the United States. The production will be directed by European Opera Prize-winner Thaddeus Strassberger.

It was a local legend about the sea, heard on vacation in Cornwall, that provided Smyth with the inspiration for her third and finest opera. Composed to a libretto by her friend and lover Henry Brewster, The Wreckers depicts the nefarious Cornish coastal practice of luring ships onto the rocks to plunder them. Conflict arises in a remote village community for which, under the leadership of Pastor Pascoe, such wrecking constitutes an act of religious faith. Pitted against this community are Pascoe’s young wife Thirza and her lover Mark, who conspire to save the ships by kindling secret beacons to guide them. Caught red-handed, the lovers are tried by a village tribunal and condemned to die in a sea-filled cave.  

Michael Mayes with barihunks Wes Mason and John Boehr
The first full-length opera by an English composer to use native setting and folklore, The Wreckers (1902-04) marked the nation’s most important contribution to the genre since the time of Purcell. Thanks to the muscular vigor of Smyth’s writing, it was considered by Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor of its London premiere, as “one of the three or four English operas of real musical merit and vitality.” 

The opera will be performed at Bard’s Hudson Valley campus in the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center.  The Wreckers’ will be performed on July 24, 26, 29, 31 and August 2 and will feature the American Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of music director Leon Botstein.

If you can't wait until this summer to hear Mayes, you can catch him tonight at the Theatre of Dreams Gala for the Central City Opera. On May 15, he opens as Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Opera Delaware.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

English National Opera rolling out a season of barihunks

Morgan Pearse and Barnaby Rea
The English National Opera has announced its new season and they have enough barihunks featured to start a small men's chorus.

Lovers of ginger barihunks won't want to miss Rossini's Barber of Seville, which features Aussie Morgan Pearse in the title role and Barnaby Rea as Don Basilio. Andrew Shore returns in this Jonathan Miller production in his signature role of Bartolo, while Kathryn Rudge sings Rosina and the gifted young tenor Eleazor Rodriguez takes on Count Almaviva. There will be ten performances beginning on September 28th.

Ashley Riches, Nicholas Masters and Duncan Rock
Beginning October 16th, ENO will feature a barihunk trio in fourteen performances of Puccini's La bohéme. Duncan Rock, who is easily one of the most popular barihunks on this site, will sing Marcello. He'll be joined by the Colline of Ashley Riches and Nicholas Masters as Schaunard. Zach Borichevsky will sing Rodolfo, Corinne Winters sings Mimi and Rhian Lois sings Musetta. The opera will be directed by Benedict Andrews. Fans of Duncan Rock in the US can catch his American debut in the title role of Don Giovanni, running from May 1-10 with the Boston Lyric Opera.

George von Bergen
ENO Harewood Young Artist George von Bergen will sing Sharpless in Anthony Minghella's award-winning production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The British singer studied at the University of Bristol, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio in London, before going on to win the Royal Overseas League singing competition. He has performed with the Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Garsington Opera, and made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with Sir Andrew Davis.

Other operas in the upcoming season include Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Mozart's The Magic Flute, Bellini's Norma, Verdi's The Force of Destiny, Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, Glass' Akhnaten, Janacek's Jenufa and Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

If you can't wait until the new season, you can check out barihunk Leigh Melrose as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, which runs from May 20-June 3. Visit the ENO website for complete cast list and ticket information.

Reader Submission: Eric Broker

Eric Broker
Our latest Reader Submission is 21-year-old bass-barihunk Eric Broker, who is a senior at St. Olaf College and a Communications and Social Media Intern with the Minnesota Opera. He performed his senior recital on April 11th, which you can watch online. He performed music by Handel, Poulenc, Mozart, Bolcom and others.

Broker recently won the Minnesota National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition and was a finalist the Schubert Club Song Competition last year. He is currently a member of the Minnesota Opera Chorus and is preparing for graduate school.

While at St. Olaf,  he sang the roles of Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss in Bernstein's Candide, Superintendent Budd in Britten's Albert Herring, Carl Olson in Weill's Street Scene, and the title role in James McKeel's Fabrizio's Comet, a world premiere opera. He has also performed Handel's Messiah with the Canon Valley Orchestra and patriotic anthems with the Northfield Band.

Broker is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, which is indicative of superior attainment in music, together with the personal qualifications pertaining to an outstanding exponent of the art. Membership acknowledges personal integrity, leadership, open-mindedness and intellectual stamina throughout one's time at St. Olaf College.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Barihunk trio in Billy Budd and Carmen at Teatro Carlo Felice

Billy Budd at Teatro Carlo Felice with barihunks Ricardo Crampton, John Paul Huckle and Valdis Jansons       (Photo on left ©MarcelloOrselli)
We managed to get the three barihunks appearing in Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd at the Teatro Carlo Felice to pose for a backstage photo before a recent performance. Valdis Jansons is rotating the title role with Phillip Addis, while Ricardo Crampton performs the role of A Novice and John Paul Huckle sings Dansker for the entire run.

The production directed by Davide Livermore has been praised for turning the stage into a ship and lowering and rising the sets to create a sense of navigation. There is one remaining performance left on April 23. You can also watch a video of Phillip Addis discussing the role of Billy Budd.


If you can't make it to Billy Budd, you can still catch the barihunk trio in the Teatro Carlo Felice's upcoming production of Carmen, where Jansons will sing Escamillo, Huckle performs Zuniga and Crampton takes on Morales. Jansons will be rotating the matador's role with another barihunk, Mattia Olivieri, who proved quite popular with our readers when we first posted about him. He was even featured in our Best of 2014 post as one of our hottest newcomers to the site.

Carmen will be rotated between Sonia Ganassi and Anna Malavasi. The opera opens on May 8th and runs through May 17.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hvorostovsky back in Met Ballo under James Levine


Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Met's Ballo (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky returns to the Metropolitan opera as King Gustavo III's confidant Anckarström in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera with the Metropolitan Opera's Music Director James Levine on the podium. The all-star cast will also feature Piotr Beczala in his Met role debut as the ill-fated Gustavo, Sondra Radvanovsky as Amelia, Dolora Zajick as the fortune-teller Ulrica, and Heidi Stober as the page Oscar.

Alexey Markov
The opera opens on April 23 and runs through May 9. The David Alden revival will mark the first time that James Levine has conducted the opera at the Met in nearly 20 years.  Russian baritone Alexey Markov, who sang Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata and Robert in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta earlier this season, will sing Anckarström in the May 6 and 9 performances.

Tickets and additional performance information is available online.

After wrapping up Ballo, Hvorostovsky leaves to perform concerts in St. Petersburg, Munich, Calistoga and Yountville, California.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Barihunks featured in new Kurt Weill adaptation

Philip Cutlip and Justin Hopkins

The Collegiate Chorale concludes its 2014-15 season with the U.S. Premiere of Kurt Weill’s The Road of Promise featuring barihunks Philip Cutlip and Justin Hopkins. Performances are on May 6 and 7 at the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.  The May 7 performance will feature a special pre-concert talk about the background, historical context, and musical content of the piece.

The Road of Promise is a new concert adaptation of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel’s epic 1937 stage spectacle, The Eternal Road, led by Tony Award-winning conductor/director Ted Sperling and a 200-voice chorus and symphony orchestra. Like the original stage work, The Road of Promise combines a story about a synagogue under threat of persecution with defining stories from the Old Testament. As the congregation awaits their fate, a 13-year old boy appears who knows nothing of his Jewish heritage or faith. The Rabbi enlightens him and gives the community strength by recounting the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Miriam, Moses, Ruth, Isaiah, and more, all of which come alive through Weill’s magnificent musical score. The young boy listens to the stories unfold and emerges as the new hope for his people.

Also featured in the cast are Anthony Dean Griffey, Mark Delavan, AJ Glueckert, Lauren Michelle, Megan Marino, Ron Rifkin, and Eli Tokash. You can watch a trailer about the piece HERE.

Philippe Sly in documentary about Jonathan Dove composition

Philippe Sly
Barihunk Philippe Sly is prominently featured in a one hour documentary filmed during the rehearsal period and performance of the world premiere of British composer Jonathan Dove's "Who Wrote the Book of Love." The piece was written for bass-baritone and string quartet with Phillippe Sly in mind as the soloist. 

Who Wrote the Book of Love? is a 45-minute cycle with words by British playwright and librettist Alasdair Middleton. The text explores the path of love and passion.


The first performance of the piece took place in March 2014 in a London gallery and Philippe's brother Mathieu Sly camera filmed the whole creative process, including some private moments.
Sly calls the piece the most beautiful composition that the composer has written for him. Dove also wrote Three Tennyson Songs for the singer.


Sly will perform Figaro in the San Francisco Opera's Summer Season production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which runs from June 14-July 5. He'll be joined by the Count of Luca Pisaroni.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Johan Reuter celebrates Nielsen anniversary as Saul

Morten Staugaard (left) and Johan Reuter (right)(Photo: Signe Roderik)
The Royal Opera in Copenhagen is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Danish composer Carl Nielsen with a new production of the composer’s first opera, Saul and David. Barihunk Johan Reuter will be singing the role of Saul opposite the David of tenor Niels Jørgen Riis.

Saul and David, which is is the first of the two operas by Nielsen, tells the story of King Saul who is fiercely jealous of the young David, who has won the favor of the people by defeating the giant, Goliath. The story comes from the Book of Samuel in the Bible.

Watch Saul & David in its entirety from the Royal Opera's 1986 production:


The first performance was at Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen in 1902.  The opera is one of Denmark's most important musical works and dates from the period preceding his Second Symphony. The dramatic and lyrical score is perhaps best remembered for its choral scenes.

The Royal Opera production will be conducted by Michael Schønwandt, one of the world’s greatest Carl Nielsen interpreters. Performance run from April 17-June 9 and tickets are available online.

Luis Alejandro Orozco takes on Figaro in Syracuse

Luis Alejandro Orozco (photo on left by EMMA)
Barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco returns to the Syracuse Opera to sing the title role Rossini's The Barber of Seville, which closes their 40th anniversary season. He sang the role of El Payador in their 2014 production of Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires, a signature role that he was highly acclaimed for in Lexington, Naples, Florida and Miami.

He'll be joined in Syracuse by the amazing Almaviva of Javier Abreu, Lindsay Russell as Rosina, Marc Webster as Don Basilio, Steven Condy as Dr. Bartolo, Kathleen Roland-Silverstein as Berta and Angky Budiardjono as Fiorello.

Performances are on Friday, April 17 and Sunday, April 19 at the Crouse Hinds Theater at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center. Next season, he'll perform Riolobo in Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas with the Arizona Opera. 

What? Duncan Rock's U.S. debut part of "A Season of Unforgettable Leading Ladies"

Duncan Rock
A season that was dubbed "A Season of Unforgettable Leading Ladies" by the Boston Lyric Opera, ironically included one of the most anticipated US debuts of a male singer - in an opera named for a male singer. Fans of Aussie barihunk Duncan Rock have been watching his meteoric rise across the pond since 2012 when he generated international buzz appearing in the gender bending "Don Giovanni: The Opera" at London's Heaven. Those clamoring for his US debut were thrilled when the BLO announced a year ago that they were casting him as Don Giovanni. However, there were a few chuckles in the industry when the beefcake singer was lumped together in a marketing campaign with three leading ladies.

We have requested rehearsal photos from the company, but while we're waiting we have the above photos which were recently taken in New York and Boston.

U.K. fans have been enjoying The Rock at Glynebourne and English National Opera in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and Billy Budd, Puccini's La boheme, Bizet's Carmen and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. He also appeared as Billy Bigelow in Carousel at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Marcello in Leed's Rigoletto, Empleado inglés in Britten's Death in Venice in Madrid and Marullo in Rigoletto at the Royal Opera in London. In January, he sang Don Giovanni with the HET Sinfonieorkest in The Netherlands in an intimate production that placed the audience on the stage and around the orchestra.

Performances at the BLO will run from May 1-10, 2015 and tickets are on sale at the BLO website. The remainder of the cast includes the always entertaining Kevin Burdette as Leporello, David Cushing as Masetto, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Donna Elvira, Meredith Hanson as Donna Anna, Steven Humes as the Commendatore, John Bellemer as Don Ottavio and Chelsea Basler as Zerlina.


We recently shared a little bit of trivia about Duncan Rock, which was that he started his musical career playing the bagpipes. The HET Sinfonieorkest added that he played basketball and the bass. Let's see what we learn about him during his U.S. run.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Grab a beer with barihunk Benoit Pitre

Benoit Pitre
Canadian barihunk will be part of this month's Opera on Tap Berlin. The April theme is  "Frühlings Gefühle/Spring Fever, " The event will be at the popular cafe and concert venue Prachtwerk Berlin.

Joining Pitre for an evening of arias, duets, art song and operetta will be some of Berlin's best young talent including countertenor Leo Zappitelli, Anne Byrne, Anastasia Nikolova, Sarah Ring, Claudia Roick, Atalya Tirosh and accompanist Manuel Arellano.

The festivities start at 7:30 PM with some good German beer and the singing kicks of at 8:00 PM.  Rumor has it that another popular barihunk based in Berlin will be at the event.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Introducing Hungarian barihunk Marcell Bakonyi

Marcell Bakonyi
Hungarian barihunk Marcell Bakonyi, who is new to this site, will be starring in the world premiere of composer Zsófia Tallér's opera Leander és Lenszirom (Leander and Linseed). The fairy tale opera is the story of Leander the goblin and Princess Linseed. Librettist Barnabás Szöllősi based the story on Andor Szilágyi's fable with the intent to appeal to children. It will be performed at the Erkel Theater under the auspices of the Hungarian State Opera. Performances are on April 18 and 19.

Marcell Bakonyi was born in 1980 in Győr, Hungary and studied voice at the Leo-Weiner Conservatory of Music in Budapest, and later at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, Germany. He appeared in the Stuttgart Opera School’s productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Bastien und Bastienne, as well as in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For the Young Opera series at the Staatsoper Stuttgart he took part in the world premiere of Matthias Heep’s Träumer. He also sang the role of Lord Sidney in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims at the Pesaro International Rossini Festival. From 2007-2008 he was a member of the ensemble at Theater Heidelberg. From 2008 to 2009 he was a member of the Zürich International Opera Studio, where he sang the role of the Steersman in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. In 2009 he appeared at the Schwetzinger Festival in Handel’s Ezio.

Marcell Bakonyi sings "Tardi s'avvede" from Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.

Since 2009, he has been a member of the ensemble of the Landestheater Salzburg where he sang the roles of Bartolo and Figaro in Mozart`s Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Kaspar in Weber`s Der Freischütz, Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca, Dulcamara in Donizetti`s L'elisir d`amore and Leporello Mozart`s Don Giovanni.

In April 2011, he won the International Competition Rolando Nicolosi in Rome and received a Special Price at Marcello Giordani Competition in Catania, resulting in an invitation to make a major North-American debut. In the same year he has made his debut as Pietro in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at the Budapest State Opera House. In the Summer of 2012, he made his U.S. debut as the Speaker in Mozart`s Die Zauberflöte at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

At the Budapest Opera House he has performed Colline in Puccini's La bohéme, Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore and Masetto in Mozart`s Don Giovanni. In 2013, he made his debut at the Innsbruck Festival für Alte Musik as Publio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.

In 2014, he performed Colline in a revival of the famous Stefan Herheim production of La bohéme in Oslo, as well as Leporello. On May 2, he'll sing Bach's Mass in B Minor in Turin, Italy. 

Gregory Gerbrandt latest barihunk singing Stanley Kowalski

Gregory Gerbrandt: Photos by Pablo Cozzaglio and Andrea Johnston Photography ©

The lastest barihunk to take on Stanley Kowalski in André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire is Gregory Gerbrandt, who will sing the role with Opera Santa Barbara on April 24 and 26. In recent months we've seen Wes Mason take on the iconic role at Kentucky Opera, Ryan McKinny at the Los Angeles Opera and Dan Kempson with Townsend Opera and Fresno Grand Opera. 

Gerbrandt will have some help in creating an authentic New Orleans flavor, as his Mitch is New Orleans native Casey Candebat. Joining them in the cast are Beverly O'Regan Thiele as Blanche DuBois and Micaela Oeste as Stella. 

Dan Kempson, Wes Mason and Ryan McKinny as Stanley Kowalski

The production will utilize the revised score prepared by Peter Grunberg for the Merola Opera, which reduces the score from a 70-piece orchestra to a 40-piece ensemble. Jose Maria Condemi, who directed the opera at Merola and Kentucky Opera, will direct the work again in Santa Barbara. Candebat also sang the role of Mitch at the Merola Opera. 

The production next travels to the Tulsa Opera where barihunk Jordan Shanahan will take on the role on March 4 and 6, 2016.

Christopher Dylan Herbert in Fauré/Vaughan Williams program


Christopher Dylan Herbert
Christopher Dylan Herbert will be the featured soloist in two performances of Ralph Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs and the Fauré Requiem in New York City next week.

The first performance is at Hunter College in Lenox Hill on Thursday, April 16 with a subsequent performance on April 18 at Our Savior's Atonement Lutheran Church in Washington Heights.

Ralph Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs were written between 1906 and 1911 to texts by the seventeenth-century Welsh-born English poet and Anglican priest George Herbert (1593–1633). The poems come from his 1633 collection The Temple: Sacred Poems.

While Herbert was a priest, Vaughan Williams himself was an atheist at the time, though this did not prevent his setting of verse of an overtly religious inspiration.

Andrew Garland sings Easter from Five Mystical Songs:

The songs supposed to be performed together as a single work, but the styles of each vary quite significantly. The first four songs are quite personal meditations in which the soloist takes a key role, particularly in the third - Love Bade Me Welcome, where the chorus has a wholly supporting role, and the fourth, The Call, in which the chorus does not feature at all. The final Antiphon is probably the most different of all: a triumphant hymn of praise sung either by the chorus alone or by the soloist alone; unlike the previous songs, a separate version is provided for a solo baritone. It is also sometimes performed on its own, as a church anthem for choir and organ: Let all the world in every corner sing.

On May 24th, Christopher Dylan Herbert rejoins the group New York Polyphony for their European tour, which takes them to Amsterdam and then Germany. Check out their website for dates and locations.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Waltteri Torikka's bloody good rendition of Whitesnake

Waltteri Torikka singing Whitesnake
Waltteri Torikka continues to take Finland by storm on the vocal competition show Tähdet, Tahdet on MTV. This week he sang Whitesnake's Still of Night and got so into swinging the microphone that he hit his mouth, cut his lip and drew blood, but kept on singing.

Over the weeks he's had to perform a number of different genres, including country, punk, tango, Latin pop and even some opera. For heavy metal week he actually worked with David Coverdale from Whitesnake to hone his performance skills, including mic management.

 Waltteri Torikka sings Whitesnake's "Still of the Night"

There are five other singers remaining in the competition, who covered a wide range of heavy metal classics. Laura Voutilainen sang Rainbow's I Surrender, Roope Salminen sang Motörhead's Ace of Spades, Krista Siegfrids sang Def Leppards Pour Some Sugar on Me, Arja Koriseva sang Stratovarius' Eagleheart and Jarkko Ahola sang Metallica's The Unforgiven

He's still performing classical music during the taping of the show. He has three dates left on his tour with the Concert Band of the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces, where he's the featured soloist on their Finlandia Tour. On April 11th they'll be in Tampere, with additional shows on April 13th at the Hyvinkää Church and April 14 in Lahti. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Shirtless, Sexy Alessio Arduini in Pagliacci

Alessio Arduini as Silvio in Pagliacci
You can't get much sexier than the combination of über-hunkentenor sensation Jonas Kaufmann and barihunk Alessio Arduini. The two teamed up for a double-bill of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci at the Salzburg Easter Festival last month. Arduini's Silvio and Kaufmann's Canio were joined by Dimitri Platanias as Tonio, Tansel Akzeybek as Beppe and Maria Agresta as Nedda under the baton of Christian Thielemann.You can watch the entire performance of Pagliacci HERE.

Alessio Arduini and Maria Agresta in Pagliacci
Director Philipp Stölzl probably secured his place in our year-end "Best of the Year" feature by having Alessio Arduini shirtless in his scene with Maria Agresta. The Italian barihunk showed why he has quickly become one of the most popular singers on the site. He certainly gives new meaning to the term "chest voice."

Jonas Kaufmann as Canio
Alessio Arduini is curently at the Vienna State Opera where he's singing Doctor Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale from April 26-May 11 and then Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni from June 11-19. On April 26, Jonas Kaufmann performs an evening of German operetta in Baden-Baden.

Barihunks galore in Walt Whitman opera


Ed Parks and Walt Whitman
Two barihunks will be sharing the role of Walt Whitman in Matthew Aucoin's new opera Crossing at The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.

The opera was inspired by the diary that poet Walt Whitman kept as a nurse during the Civil War. Crossing explores how the individual experiences of soldiers are remembered and told. As Whitman listens to wounded veterans share their memories and messages, he forges a bond with a soldier who forces him to examine his own role as writer and poet.

Rod Gilfry will sing the role of Whitman on May 29, 31, June 2, 4 and 6, with Edward Parks taking on the role on June 5.  Also in the cast are barihunks Davone Tines, Michael Kelly and Matthew Patrick Morris, who will be joined by Alexander Lewis as John Wormley, Davone Tines as Freddie Stower, and Jennifer Zetlan as the Messenger.

Michael Kelly, Davone Tines and Matthew Patrick Morris (L-R)
Barihunk Edward Parks is a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artists Development Program, and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2009-2010 season as Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia. He since appeared at the Met as Schaunard in La bohème, Larkens in La fancuilla del West and returned this season for La Bohème, Don Carlo, and Die Zauberflöte. Future seasons will see his debut with Virginia Opera and a return to the Metropolitan Opera.

Bass-barihunk Davone Tines is building an international career commanding a broad spectrum of opera and concert performances. Recent performances include programs of Bach and Rameau at Alice Tully Hall and the U.S. premiere of Meanachem Zur's Cartoons at Lincoln Center.  Upcoming engagements include concerts with the Boston Pops, Tanglewood Music Festival, two one-man shows entitled American Gothic and The Black Clown, and the premier of two chamber operas by Kaija Saariajo at the Dutch National Opera and Ojai Music Festival. He is a 2009 graduate of Harvard College and received a Masters degree in voice from The Juilliard School in 2013.

Additional information and tickets are available online.



Barihunks here, barihunks there, barihunks everywhere at Rossini Festival


Davide Luciano
For yet another season, it would be virtually impossible to avoid seeing a barihunk on stage at this year's Rossini Festival in Pesaro, which runs from August 10-22.

On opening day you can catch the world's greatest Leporello, Alex Esposito, in Rossini's La gazza ladra, which is best remembered for it's lively overture these days.  The next night, you can catch the charming young barihunk Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore in the rarely performed La gazzetta. The following night, Davide Luciano, who lit up our pages with some shirtless pictures, performs in another of Rossini's rarities, L’inganno felice.

Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore
 On August 14 and 17, the students from Alberto Zedda's Accademia Rossiniana will perform in Il viaggio a Reims, providing attendees to see the next great generation of Rossini singers. 

On August 15 and 18, Mirco Palazzi joins hunkentenor Juan Diego Florez in the composer's Messa di Gloria.

Alex Esposito show off why he's not just popular for his singing
The singers have become popular fan favorites over the last few seasons and all of the barihunks are returning from previous seasons, including Esposito, Luciano, Palazzi and Bonsignore. You can check out our feature from last season.  Bonsignore first appeared as a student from the Accademia Rossiniana program in 2011.

The festival also includes a number of concerts by various performers. Additional information and tickets are available online.

Davide Luciano is a regular at the Berlin Opera this season where he is performing Sid in La fanciulla del West, Marcello in La boheme, Ping in Turandot, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Sgt. Lescaut in Manon Lescaut. Alex Esposito is serving up another full plate of Mozart this year, singing Papageno in Venice and Munich and Leporello in Munich. Mirco Palazzi switches to Bellini, singing Giorgio in I puritani in Catania and Rodolfo in La sonnambula in Bilbao.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Listen to a killer performance by David Adam Moore

David Adam Moore in Des Moines' Dead Man Walking
You have two chances to listen to barihunk David Adam Moore's performance of convicted killer Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. Iowa Public Radio will broadcast last season's performance of the opera from the Des Moines Metro Opera. Performances will air at  7 PM CST/8 PM EST/5 PM PST. on Saturday, April 11 and 10 PM CST/11 PM EST/8 PM PST. on Sunday, April 12.

The American baritone is joined in the cast by mezzo soprano Elise Quagliata as Sister Helen Prejean,  bari-chunk founder Kyle Albertson as George Benton, Karen Slack as Sister Rose, Margaret Lattimore as Mrs. de Rocher, Wayne Tigges as Owen Hart and bari-chunk to bari-hunk Kasey Yeargain as the Prison Guard. You can tune in HERE.

Kasey Yeargain
Heggie’s work, based on the book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, tells the story of a nun acting as a spiritual guide to a death-row inmate who was found guilty of murder. It offers a haunting inside look at capital punishment in America.

David Adam Moore returns to the Des Moines Metro Opera this summer as Pasha Selim in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio from June 26-July 19

Madison Opera's "Ten Questions for Trevor Martin"

Trevor Martin
Barihunk Trevor Martin, who is singing Fiorello opposite fellow barihunk Tom Forde's Don Basilio in Madison Opera's Barber of Seville, was asked ten (well eleven) questions for the company's blog. You can see both of these amazing young talents on April 24 and 26. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

1.  Where were you born / raised?
I was born and raised just south of Atlanta, Georgia.

2.  If you weren't a singer, what profession would you be in?
If I weren't able to do anything in the field of music, I think I would like to be a history professor.  I've always loved it, and some of my history teachers in school were some of the most influential teachers I ever had.

3.  My favorite opera is...
Otello.  Although if you ask me tomorrow, it could just as easily be something completely different.

4.  My favorite pre-show / post-show meal is...
I usually don't eat a whole lot before shows, which always leaves me ravenous afterwards.  Being from the South, I hadn't ever experienced cheese curds before coming to Madison (don't shun me - I didn't know!), so I am sure that will be a big part of my post-show feast here.

5.  People would be surprised to know that...
As much as I travel by plane, I am still terrified to fly!

Trevor Martin in the famous "Bevy of Barihunks" photo from Seagle Music Colony
6.  What is your favorite song to belt out in a bar / the shower / at karaoke?
My go-to karaoke song has always been "My Way" by Mr. Sinatra.  Always tugging on the heartstrings of the audience with that one.

7.  What is your pop culture guilty pleasure?
I always feel so disconnected with current pop culture references around my friends, but recently I have become obsessed with podcasts, especially Serial, The Moth, and This American Life.  Really, anything that tells a compelling story, and I am sold!

8.  A few of my favorite films are...
In no particular order:  Shawshank Redemption, all of the Lord of the Rings (extended versions, of course), Clue, Moonrise Kingdom, and Rudy.

9.  If we were to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would we see on your recently-played list?  
Nickel Creek, Piero Cappuccilli's "Best Of" album, Childish Gambino, The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and The Nth Power.

10.  What is the worst costume you've ever worn?
I never went trick-or-treating as a child, so I remember getting really excited to go to a costume party in college in Georgia dressed as the only thing I knew I could pull off... a redneck.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure people knew that I had actually put on a costume.

11.  Bonus:  One question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer):
Q:  Which is superior, Star Wars or Star Trek?

A:  I'm so glad you asked.  Star Wars obviously has the better story and characters (Jar Jar Binks notwithstanding), although Star Trek has superior acting and sheer volume of content.  I have many more opinions about this if anyone would care to ask.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Michael Kelly in two nights of Hugo Wolf lieder

Michael Kelly as he appeared in the Barihunks Calendar
Former Barihunks calendar model Michael Kelly will be part of the two-night Hugo Wolf Project in New York City.

The program is part of the Brooklyn Art Song Society's multi-year survey of the complete songs of Hugo Wolf with all 51 settings from the Goethe-Lieder.  This songbook, the least performed of Wolf's works, features some of his most extended and ambitious songs (Prometheus, Der Sänger) and also features Wolf's unique, quirky brand of humor (Epiphanias, Frech und Froh I).  

Kelly will be joined by sopranos Kristina Bachrach and Sarah Brailey, tenors Dominic Armstrong and Nils Neubert, and fellow baritone Kyle Oliver.  Part one will be held at the Old Stone House as part of the new Art Song at the Old Stone House series, and part two will be a free concert at the Deutches Haus on the campus of New York University.  Tickets are available online.

Joshua Jeremian in Barber/Menotti rarity

Joshua Jeremiah
Barihunk Joshua Jeremiah will be playing David in Vital Opera's production of Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti's Four Hands of Bridge! 

A Hand of Bridge--a nine minute opera that briefly, but powerfully, touches on themes of societal expectation, commercialism, marital infidelity, greed, repression, isolation, and loss of love... all over one hand of bridge.  It premiered as a part of Menotti’s Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto on June 17, 1959 at the Teatro Caio Melisso. 

The piece is possibly the shortest opera that is regularly performed: it lasts about nine minutes. However, Vital Opera will present four consecutive performances of A Hand of Bridge by the same cast, for the same audience. Audience members will be encouraged to change seats if they like, in order to gain an additional perspective as the evening progresses. These performances will then be followed by a guided conversation between audience and performers about the whole experience.

Jeremiah will be joined by tenor Brent Reilly Turner as Bill, Jeremy Carlisle Parker as Geraldine and mezzo-soprano Jennifer Panara as Sally. Performances are on April 21 and 22, at 8pm. Tickets are $20 ($15 for seniors and students) and are available online.

 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Waltteri Torikka advances to finals of MTV competition


The many faces of Waltteri Torikka on Finnish MTV
Barihunk Waltteri Torikka is competing on a voice competition called Tähdet, Tähdet (Stars, Stars) on Finnish MTV and this week's challenge is Heavy Metal. So he took some time out with David Coverdale from White Snake to work on his rocker technique. You can watch the video HERE.

Over the weeks he's had to perform a number of different genres, including country, punk, tango, Latin pop and even some opera. He's currently one of the finalists in the competition. You can enjoy his performances below.

Country version of "Ring of Fire":


Punk rock song "Hei hei mitä kuuluu" (Hey, hey, what's up?):

The Finnish Tango "Satumaa" (Fairyland):


Singing "Livin' La Vida Loca":

He even sang an Ozzy Osbourne-esque version of Scarpia!:

You can hear Waltteri Torikka live this month on tour with the Concert Band of the Conscript Band of the Finnish Defence Forces. He's the featured soloist on their Finlandia Tour, which plays April 10th in Mikkeli, April 11th in Tampere, April 13th at the Hyvinkää Church and April 14 in Lahti. 

Introducing British bass-barihunk Tristan Hambleton

Tristan Hambleton
Tristan Hambleton, who will be competing in the semi-finals of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards competition on April 22nd, is new to this site. The British bass-barihunk is currently a member of the Opera School at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he was awarded the Tom Hammond Opera Prize.  He is an alumnus of St John’s College Cambridgea and Heidelberg Universität, where he pursued his studies in German.

Tristan Hambleton as a bass-baritone and a treble
Hambleton enjoyed considerable success as a treble soloist performing with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Les Arts Florissant in France and at the BBC Proms, at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and with various orchestras in many of the major London venues.

In recent years he has established a career as a recitalist and concert singer appearing with orchestras such as The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Hallé, Devon Baroque, Camerata Viva Tübingen and The London Mozart Players.

On the opera stage he has appeared as Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for Hampstead Garden Opera, Re di Scozia in Handel’s Ariodante for Royal Academy Opera, Cadmus in Handel's Semele for Jackdaw’s, Bottom in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Edinburgh Fringe for the award-winning Shadwell Opera.

Tristan Hambleton
In Wagner’s bicentenary year. Hambleton was asked by Sir Mark Elder to sing the role of Herman Ortel in the Halle's concert performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Bridgewater Hall and has since been invited back to sing the bass solos in the Mozart Requiem with the orchestra.

On May 10th, he'll be performing Mozart's Mass in C minor, K427 with the Mayfield Festival Choir. This summer, Tristan will be joining the chorus at the Glyndebourne Opera for their festival season.

You can listen to him sing Tchaikovsky's None But the Lonely Heart HERE


Biser Georgiev's sexy Scarpia in Sofia

Biser Georgiev as Scarpia this season (left) and in 2013 (right)

A fan in Sofia, Bulgaria alerted us to Bulgarian barihunk Biser Georgiev, who apparently has developed quite a reputation at the opera house for his feral, open-shirted Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. The Varma born singer has performed the role for the Sofia National Opera the last three seasons. He's been performing the evil police chief since he debuted it with the Prague State Opera in the 2007-08 season, with critics singling him out for "stealing the show."

We've always maintained that a sexy Scarpia adds to the sexual and dramatic tension of the Act 2 rape scene. We're glad to see that the Sofia National Opera has stuck with this concept, which is clearly popular with the audience.

Georgiev has sung a number of roles with the company, including Alberich in Wagner's Ring Cycle, Don Pizarro in Beethoven's Fidelio, the title role in Verdi's Rigoletto, Amonasro in Verdi's Aida and Alfio in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana.

Iurii Samoilov's busy Spring with the Frankfurt Opera


Iurii Samoilov showing off his barihunk credentials
Iurii Samoilov post the picture on the left after the closing of his run as Marcello in Puccini's La bohème at the Frankfurt Opera. He takes the stage again in two days as one of the Knights of the Holy Grail in the final night of Wagner's Parsifal with the company.

On May 10th, he takes over the role of Dandini from fellow barihunk Bjorn Bürger in Rossini's La Cenerentola. The production runs until May 23. After singing Tracolin in Adams' Le Torreador in Palermo and Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, he returns to the company on June 5th. He'll be alternating the role of Masetto in Don Giovanni with Bjorn Bürger in Christof Loy's production.

Iurii Samoilov sings Verdi's "Nell'orror di notte oscura"

Samoilov joined the ensemble at the Frankfurt Opera this season after having been part of their Opera Studio since 2012. His debut with the company was as the Embittered Gambler in Prokofiev's The Gambler.

Samoilov graduated from the National Music Academy of Ukraine in 2011 and in 2009 he was the youngest singer to ever reach the finals at the Neue Stimmen Competition in Germany.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Barihunk duo in mariachi opera


Ricardo Rivera as Acalán
The Lyric Opera of Chicago just wrapped up a run of Jose “Pepe” Martinez’s mariachi opera El Pasado Nunca Se Termina/The Past Is Never Finished, which included the barihunk duo of Paul La Rosa as Enrique and Ricardo Rivera as Acalán.

The opera will now travel to the revamped San Diego Opera on April 25 for a day/night doubleheader and then head to the Houston Grand Opera for performances on May 13, 16, and 17 at the Wortham Theater Center.  The duo will be joined by the internationally renowned ensemble Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, soprano Abigail Santos Villalobos and the gifted young tenor Daniel Montenegro.  

Paul La Rosa as Enrique
El Pasado is the second mariachi opera from the creative team of José "Pepe" Martínez and Leonard Foglia, who collaborated to create the international hit Cruzar la Cara de la Luna/To Cross the Face of the Moon.

The story takes place in Morelos, Mexico in 1910, where the son of a wealthy European landowner falls in love with a humble Mexican servant girl living on his family's hacienda. The story begins on the eve of the Mexican Revolution and blazes a riveting path through forbidden passion, the fight for freedom, and political destiny all the way to the modern-day United States.

Michael Mayes to reprise Glory Denied

Brandon Snook & Michael Mayes (photo: Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)
The Memphis Opera is presenting their third annual Midtown Opera Festival with three very different operas, one being Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied with barihunk Michael Mayes. The opera was performed two years ago at the Fort Worth Opera Festival with Mayes in the lead and was also recorded on CD.

The opera tells the story of Colonel Jim Thompson, the longest-held American prisoner of war. He was imprisoned by his Vietnamese captors for nine years and eventually came home to troubling changes in his country and his family. There will be performances on April 9 and 11 at the Playhouse on the Square. Joining Mayes in the cast are Brandon Snook, Cree Caricco and Jennifer Goode Cooper.

The Festival will also present Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias, an opera that we feature regularly on this site. It will be preceeded by the New Ballet Ensemble performing Darius Milhaud’s 18-minute Le boeuf sur le toit, a Brazilian-flavored surrealist ballet. Performances are on April 10 and 18.

The final opera will be Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which premiered in 1688 and will be performed on period instruments. This production is made possible through a partnership with the Mike Curb Institute for Music at Rhodes College. Performances are on April 17 and 18.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Barihunks confounding Susanna offstage in Vienna Marriage

Degout and Esposito
Two of our favorite singers in the world, Alex Esposito and Stéphane Degout, are appearing together in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro from April 11-22 at the Theater and der Wien. Degout is singing the Count, while Esposito takes on Figaro.

The two have been having fun on Facebook posting pictures of themselves "napping" at rehearsals. We're not quite sure how Susanna feels about her beloved Figaro ending up in bed with the Count, but it certainly adds an interesting (offstage) twist to the story.

Alex Esposito and Stéphane Degout
When the two barihunks wrap up their onstage and offstage fun in Vienna they will head their separate ways. Esposito will stick to Mozart taking on his signature role of Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House in London from June 12-25. Degout will head to the Paris Opera to sing Apollo in Gluck's Alceste (and Team Barihunks will be in the audience). That performance runs from June 16-July 15,