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.”

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Barihunks duo in sold out Onegin in Munich

Mariusz Kwiecien and Anna Netrebko in Eugene Onegin rehearsals
Good luck trying to get tickets for Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Munich Summer Opera Festival. The show features and all-star cast led by barihunks Mariusz Kwiecien as Onegin and Günther Groissböck as Gremin, Anna Netrebko as Tatiana and hunkentenor Pavol Breslik as Lensky. Tickets for both the July 26 and 29 shows are completely sold out.

Fans of Günther Groissböck in Munich need not be dismayed if they can't get tickets, as he'll be back next season in Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier and La Juive.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Brooklyn Art Song Society sings with barihunks


(Clockwise from top L) Jesse Blumberg, Jorell Williams, John Moore and Jarrett Ott
The Brooklyn Art Song Society not only has our favorite acronym (BASS), but they also seem to book the hottest and most vocally gifted basses and baritones for their concerts. This year's roster includes many of our favorite singers, most of whom have appeared on this site.

The season kicks off on September 18th with Britannica at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. It will feature barihunk Jesse Blumberg along with soprano Sarah Brailey, mezzo Kate Maroney and tenor Nils Neubert in music by Dowland and Purcell.

On October 22, Jorell Williams will join soprano Justine Aronson and tenor Joseph Gaines for Ned Rorem's birthday celebration, which will include his King Midas and selected songs. Performances are at Bargemusic at Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn.

On November 6, barihunks Jarrett Ott and John Moore join tenor  Dominic Armstrong at The Old Stone House in Brooklyn for In Memoriam: Songs of the Great War, which includes music by William Dennis Browne, George Butterworth, Gerald Finzi, Ivor Gurney and Ralph Vaughan Williams. On November 11th, Ott and Armstrong will travel to the National WW I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City to reprise their portion of the program.

Jarrett Ott sings Glen Roven's "After Great Pain"


On December 3rd, Sidney Outlaw will be part of a program with tenor Dominic Armstrong that includes Finzi's A Young Man’s Exhortation and Ralph Vaughn Williams' Songs of Travel.

The February 14th concert will bring back Jorell Williams along with soprano Kristina Bachrach and tenor Dominic Armstrong for songs based on Shakespeare. The program includes music by Hector Berlioz, Ernest Chausson, Gerald Finzi, Francis Poulenc, Roger Quilter, Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss, and Peter Warlock.

Additional concerts include Jarrett Ott performing Britten on March 17th, Steven Eddy in a program of love songs on April 2, Kyle Oliver singing Hugo Wolf on April 19th, Steven Eddy and Michael Kelly singing more Wolf on April 29th, and Tyler Duncan and soprano Martha Guth performing the Canadian Songbook on May 22 at The Old Stone House.

Visit the BASS website for a complete list of concerts and performers. Tickets are available online.

Introducing Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel


Thomas Weinhappel
Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel was suggested to us by a reader who saw him in Mozart's Don Giovanni last year. We thought that we had posted about him, but were surprised to learn that we've actually not featured him before. We've now been informed that he'll be singing Papageno at the 900-seat outdoor theater Burgarena in Reinsberg, Austria where opera has been performed since 2002. Performances are on August 20 and 21. The nearby castle was built around 1000 AD to prevent attack from the Slavs.

Weinhappel began his singing career with the famed Vienna Boys’ Choir at the age of eight. As alto soloist he traveled with the Choir to the United States, South America, Canada, Germany, England and Sweden. He graduated with honors in voice from the Vienna Conservatorium and subsequently graduated magna cum laude from the Conservatorium in Vienna.


Thomas Weinhappel and Elisabeth Pratscher
Upcoming roles include Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto with Oper Klosterneuburg starring Paolo Rumetz as Rigoletto and Daniela Fally as Gilda, Papageno with Stadttheater Baden from December 18-February 7, and the title role in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at the National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, which opens March 3, 2016.

You may recognize Weinhappel as the singer performing Schubert's Winterreise in Michael Haneke's award-winning film The Piano Teacher, which won three  Palme d'Or Awards at the Cannes Film Festival.




He has appeared throughout Europe, including performances at the Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Baden State Theatre Bregenz, Neue Oper Wien, Vienna Burgtheater and Stadttheater Bern. His repertory includes the Mozart roles of Don Giovanni, Guglielmo, Papageno and Count Almavivia, as well as Count Danilo in Lehar's The Merry Widow and Master Ford in Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Introducing British Bass-Barihunk Bradley Travis

Bradley Travis
British bass-barihunk Bradley Travis was introduced to us via Twitter. He's just wrapped up a run performing the roles of the German Father, a youth and the Priest in St. Mark's in Britten's Death in Venice at Garsington Opera.

Upcoming performances include Lesbus in Handel's Agrippina at Iford Opera from July 29-August 5, the Fireman in Voseček's Biedermann and the Arsonists at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler's Wells and Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni with English Touring Opera next Spring. 

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music where he was the Drapers’ de Turckheim Scholar, winner of the Alexander Young Award and a finalist in the Frederic Cox Award.  He recently graduated from the Royal College of Music International Opera School where he won the Eric Joseph Shilling Award for Opera. He also received a Sir Gordon Palmer Scholarship supported by the South Square Trust Award.

He has performed Figaro in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with Opera North, as well as a number of roles at the Royal College of Music International Opera School, including Don Iñigo Gomez in Ravel's L’heure espagnole, Lord Ellington Offenbach's La Vie Parisienne and Ottone in Monteverdi's L’incoronazione di Poppea.  He recently completed a recording with Simon Lepper of Ancel Newton’s song cycle Doomed Youth.

 
Most recently he received the Garsington Opera's Helen Clarke Award in recognition of his contribution and musical skill during their 2014 season.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

American Barihunk Ed Parks takes 3rd at Operalia

Ed Parks performing at Operalia

American barihunk Ed Parks walked away with 3rd Prize and $10,000 at this year's Operalia Competition in London. He performed Rossini's Largo al factotum from the Barber of Seville in the final round.  Barihunks Tobias Greenhalgh from the U.S. and Bongani Justice Kubheka from South Africa also made it to the final round, where eleven singers competed.

Hunkentenor Ioan Hotea won over the hearts of viewers and judges
Norwegian dramatic soprano Lise Davidsen, who sang Dich, teure Halle from Wagner's Tannhäuser took 1st Prize for women. She also won the Audience Prize for female singers. Romanian hunkentenor Ioan Hotea, who sang Ah! mes amis from Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment took the top male singer prize. He also won the Zarzuela Prize for male singers. Darren Peni Pati took 2nd Prize for male singers, while Hyesang Park and Noluvuyiso Mpofu finished 2nd and 3rd respectively for women.

Other prizes included a Zarzuela Prize for South Korean soprano Hyesang Park and and Audience Prize for Darren Pene Pati.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Malte Roesner singing, translating and modeling


Malte Roesner from the 2016 Barihunks Calendar photo shoot
Malte Roesner, who recently decided to move to Vienna and pursue and independent career after being a member of the ensemble at the Staatstheatre Braunschweig since 2006, has been invited back to the company next season. He will be featured in the revival of Werner Egk's Peer Gynt and in the new production of Jonathan Dove's Mansfield Park. In the latter, he will be singing the male lead Edmund in his own translation.

Roesner, who is German but born in America, has become a recognized translator of opera from German to English. He recently starred in Jake Heggie's Holocaust themed opera For a Look or a Touch, for which he also did the translation. He's currently singing Silvano in Verdi's Un ballo on maschera, which has four performances remaining through July 22.  Other roles in Braunschweig this season included Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and Belcore in L’elisir d’amore.

Malte Roesner from the 2016 Barihunks Calendar photo shoot
In addition to most of the major baritone Mozart roles, his operatic repertoire includes Enrico in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Pasquale in Haydn’s Orlando Paladino, Ping in Puccini's Turandot, Schaunard in Puccini's La Bohème and Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Dr. Falke in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Paolo in Simone Boccanegra, Heerrufer in Lohengrin, Masaniello in the German premiere of Carlos Gomes’ Salvator Rosa and in the world premiere of the operatic version of Schnitzler’s Traumnovelle. In the opening-production of the 14th Munich Biennial for Modern Music Theater 2014 he sang Marco Polo in Marco Nikodijevic’s Vivier. Ein Nachtprotokoll.

Roesner, who has done some modeling in the past, also took some time out this month to be photographed for the upcoming Barihunks Charity Calendar. We thought that we'd share two of the photos from the shoot.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sexy La Fanciulla del West in Des Moines

From left to right: Harry Greenleaf, Andrew Potter, Alex Soare, Geoffrey Penar (seated) Joshua Jeremiah, Christopher Job, Tyler Alessi, Zach Owen, Cesar Mendez Silvagnoli (seated), Trevor Martin and Jonathan Harris
One of our favorite opera companies is the Des Moines Metro, which always delivers great repertory, high musical standards, amazing young singers and a liberal helping of barihunks. This season was no exception, as their production of Puccini's La Fanciulla del West (The Girl of the Golden West) including some of the hottest talent in opera (both vocally and physically).

Barihunks photographer Michael Yeshion
Fortunately, one of our Barihunks calendar photographers, Michael Yeshion, was working at the company as the fight director. He managed to snap some pix of the guys in costume and shirtless. He's promised us some more pictures, which we're looking forward to receiving. He also shot some pictures for this year's calendar.

BARI-SCARY!!! Lighthouse keepers, creepy butlers and really old men

Michael Mayes, Tom Forde and Andrea Mastroni
We wish that was Halloween, as this would be the perfect post. Three of the sexiest barihunks in the business walked into the wig and makeup room as matinee idols and walked out as monsters.

Michael Mayes is singing the role of the Lighthouse keeper Lawrence in the first fully-staged performance of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers at Bard SummerScape.  He's dubbed his look "Bearihunk." 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. The opera will be performed at Bard’s Hudson Valley campus in the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center on July 24, 26, 29, 31 and August 2 and will feature the American Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of music director Leon Botstein.

Michael Mayes, Tom Forde and Andrea Mastroni
Bass-Barihunk Thomas Forde's career has been a nice mix of opera and musical theater in recent years. This Summer and Fall, he'll be featured in the dream role for a bass in a musical when he sings the creepy butler Lurch in The Addams Family: The Broadway Musical. The production opened at the New Theater Kansas City on July 16 and will run through September 20, 2015. On the opera stage he's performed everything from Rossini's The Barber of Seville to Shostakovich's The Nose, while he's been featured on the musical theater stage in both Les Miserables and Sondheim's Sweeney Todd

Andrea Mastroni is singing Timur in Puccini's Turandot with the Cincinnati Opera in a cast that features fellow barihunks Jonathan Beyer as Ping and Norman Garrett as the Mandarin. Performances run from July 25-31. Upcoming peformances for him include Sir Walter Raleigh in Donizetti's Roberto Devereaux and Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto in Madrid.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Barihunks competing in Operalia finals

Edward Parks, Bongani Justice Kubheka & Tobias Greenhalgh
Three baritones, including two barihunks familiar to readers of this site have advanced the finals of Plácido Domingo's Operalia Competition, which is being held in London this year. Edward Parks and Tobias Greenhalgh, both of the U.S., have been featured on our site before. South African Bongani Justice Kubheka is new to our site.

Edward Parks and Tobias Greenhalgh have both opted to sing Rossini's Largo al factotum from Il barbiere di Siviglia, while Bongani Justice Kubheka has chosen to sing La calunnia from the same opera.

Other finalists include tenor Julien Behr (France); soprano Andrea Carroll (USA); soprano Lise Davidsen (Norway); tenor Ioan Hotea (Romania); soprano Kiandra Howarth (Australia); soprano Noluvuyiso Mpofu (South Africa); soprano Hyesang Park (South Korea); and tenor Darren Pene Pati (New Zealand). In addition to vying for the competition’s main prizes, Carroll, Hotea, Howawrth, Park and Pati will also compete for Operalia’s Zarzuela prize.

Sunday evening's Gala concert will feature Plácido Domingo conducting the orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Operalia will award two $30,000 first prizes, two $20,000 second prizes, and two $10,000 third prizes, with one male and one female singer receiving prizes in each category. In addition, one man and woman will each receive a $15,000 Birgit Nilsson prize for his or her performance of an aria by Richard Strauss or Richard Wagner. One male and one female singer will also be awarded the $10,000 Zarzuela prize, which is meant to encourage singers to work in the art form. There is also an Audience Prize.

Past Operalia winners have included Ainhoa Arteta, Nina Stemme, Brian Asawa, José Cura, Elizabeth Futral, Eric Owens, Erwin Schrott, Joyce DiDonato, Rolando Villazon, Joseph Calleja, Susanna Phillips, Ailyn Perez, Olga Peretyatko and Sonya Yoncheva.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Emerging artist Erik Larson launches website, fan page


Some artists are just a sheer joy to follow on social media and Erik Larson, a young Midwestern, All-American boy, is one of them. We first were introduced to him when he tweeted that he had "Hulked out of his pants" and posted a mildly revealing photo (which prompted someone on Facebook to report us for "inappropriate content"). We even featured him in our Barihunks Best of 2013 feature for "Best “Breakout” performance – Erik E. Larsen pants busting."

Larson has no created his own website, which has nominal content right now, but he promises to update it. He also created his own Facebook fan page and we encourage readers to go LIKE it. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Aaron Sørensen joins cast of Ulysses

Aaron Sørensen
We've just learned that Barihunks calendar model Aaron Sørensen will be joining the cast of  Monteverdi’s Ulysses at West Edge Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's replacing Christopher Filipowicz in the roles of Antinoo and Neptune.

The opera 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 performances are on August 1, 7 and 9.

The company is also presenting Laura Kaminsky's As One with popular barihunk Dan Kempson opposite soprano Brenda Patterson, as well as Alban Berg’s Lulu with Zachary Altman. 

Tickets and additional cast information is available online

For those who missed it in Baltimore and Houston, Sørensen will reprise his acclaimed Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Huntsville Symphony on January 23rd.

Marco Vassalli's upcoming gala at the Eutiner Festspiele

Marco Vassalli
The Eutiner Festspiele has been presenting outdoor concerts on the old ducal palace gardens of East Holstein town of Eutin since 1951.  Each year about 40,000 spectators come to listen to complete operas and concerts, which concludes with a gala concert that includes fireworks.

Eutin is the birthplace of composer Carl Maria von Weber. To honor him, the open-air theater (Freilichtbühne) was built in the park of Eutin Castle and operas are performed there. This year's operas are Verdi's Aida and Carl Zeller's Der Vogelhändler.

Included in this year's lineup is German barihunk Marco Vassalli, who just wrapped up his calendar photo shoot for us in France. We thought that we'd use this as an opportunity to share some of the pictures that won't be in the Barihunks calendar, but worthy of sharing. Despite his Italian surname, Vassalli was born and raised in Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Germany and studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne.

This year's Eutiner Festspiele gala will include music by Johann Strauß and Franz Léhar. Vassali will be joined mezzo Milana Butaeva, tenor Vincent Schirrmacher and fellow baritone Uwe Schenker-Primus. The concert is on August 21 and 22 and tickets are available online. This Fall, he heads to the Staatsoper Hannover to peform four roles in Bernstain's Candide.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

More shirtless pictures of Gianluca Margheri's Don Giovanni

Gianluca Margheri
We recently posted a sexy photo of Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri and people were clammering for more photos. So in the Barihunks tradition, here are some additional pictures from the show. The performances were with the Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese in Sicily. We figure that these don't require much commentary...so enjoy.

Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri
Margheri now returns to Giulianova, Italy to perform with La Rocca Barocca, where he sang Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in 2014, Vivaldi's La Senna festeggiante in 2013 and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in 2012. This season he'll perform in Handel's Apollo e Dafne on August 13th.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Hammerstein II in college
Oscar Hammerstein II was born in New York City on July 12, 1895, to a family who worked in theater. His father, William, managed a vaudeville theater, while his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein I, was a famed opera impresario. 

In 1920, he collaborated with a Columbia undergrad named Richard Rodgers in writing a Varsity Show called Fly with Me. Not long after, Hammerstein dropped out of grad school at Columbia to concentrate his efforts entirely on musical theater. While writing Rose Marie with Otto Harbach, Hammerstein met Jerome Kern. In 1925 the duo teamed up to write Show Boat. The successful musical put Hammerstein on the map as a writer and lyricist. Kern and Hammerstein went on to write a total of eight musicals together.

Kelli O'Hara and Paulo Szot perform "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific:

He  eventually dissolved his partnership with Jerome Kern to partner up exclusively with that former Columbia undergrad, Richard Rodgers. The Rodgers and Hammerstein team quickly produced a smash hit: In 1943, their first Broadway musical together, Oklahoma!, won a Pulitzer Prize.

In 1950 the duo scored a second Pulitzer with the musical South Pacific. The 1950s and early 1960s produced a string of Tony-winning works for the team, including The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1960).

Sir Thomas Allen sings Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Oh, what a beautiful morning!' from 'Oklahoma' at the Last Night of the Proms 2004.

Lucas Meachem sings "Soliloquy" from Carousel


A number of great songs that have been performed by baritones and bass-baritones were penned by Hammerstein including, A Fellow Needs A Girl (Allegro), Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (Cinderella), Edelweiss (The Sound Of Music), I Have Dreamed (The King And I), If I Loved You (Carousel), Lonely Room (Oklahoma!), Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin' (Oklahoma!), Soliloquy (Carousel), Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific), Ten Minutes Ago (Cinderella), The Highest Judge Of All (Carousel), The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Oklahoma!), This Nearly Was Mine (South Pacific) and You Are Never Away (Allegro).

While still in his professional prime, Oscar Hammerstein II lost his battle with stomach cancer on August 23, 1960. He died at his house in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. In Hammerstein's memory the lights on Broadway were turned off at 9 pm that September 1. 


Barihunks form "boy band" Vox and advance on America's Got Talent

Vox members Kevin Blickfeldt and David Castillo (left)
Two barihunks who have been featured on our site are now part of Vox, the newest "boy band" to hit the airwaves. The twist is that they're all classically-trained opera singers. Baritones David Castillo,  Kevin Blickfeldt and DeMar Neal, along with tenor Arnold Geis. Castillo and Blickeldt are the Barihunks almuni. They are competing on NBC's “America’s Got Talent” and advanced past the audition round with a rousing rendition of Puccini's Nessun Dorma. The winner of the competition gets a $1 million prize.


In the five years since graduation, Castillo has performed Los Angeles Opera, New Orleans Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Aspen Opera Theatre, Le Salon de Musiques, The Industry, USC Thornton Opera, and other major opera companies and orchestras. This season he's performing in two world premieres: one with The Industry in HOPSCOTCH and another in a work by Jeffrey Parola. He makes his European debut performing Winterreise with Francois Chouchan at the Mairie du Troisieme Arrondissement in Paris an next year performs Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd with Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera directed by John De Los Santos.

America's Got Talent judge Howie Mandel comments on Vox
Kevin Blickfeldt is on the faculty of the 88 Keys Music Academy and performs in opera, musical theatre, oratorio, recital,  and concert works. Recent performance credits include El General in La Curandera, Maximilian in Candide with Opera Pasadena, and The Prodigal Son with LA Opera’s Britten 100/LA festival.  In 2011, Kevin won the Citadelle Aard at the 6th annual Alltech Voice Competition in Kentucky. For three seasons, Blickfeldt was an artist in residence at the Ohio Light Opera. Many of the productions he performed in were made into cast recordings on the Albany label, where he can be heard as a soloist. Kevin earned his doctorate degree from the University of Southern California.

DeMar Austin Neal IV is a graduate of Florida State University, the Boston Conservatory, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Neal has appeared as a soloist with symphonies and in festivals throughout North Carolina and abroad, including both the Raleigh and North Carolina symphonies and in the Tiber Sinfonia Festival in Monterchi, Italy. He was also seen as a featured soloist at the 2010 Robert Schumann Bicentennial Festival at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, as well as at their 2012 Debussy Sesquicentennial Festival.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Duncan Rock returns as "Schwarzenegger-like" Tarquinius


It's amazing to think that was in July 1946 that the Glyndebourne Festival first performed Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. The opera was not particularly well received by audiences or critics at the time, but the chamber opera has grown in popularity in recent years, with Glyndebourne bringing it back just two years after they performed it for the Benjamin Britten centenary.

With England all in a twist about a rape scene and some nudity at the Royal Opera House's production of Rossini's William Tell, it's probably good that they brought back director Fiona Shaw’s  non-sensational, straightforward production. Of course, we love the opera for it's trio of low voices and Glyndebourne has brought in three of the best. Barihunk Duncan Rock is back as Tarquinius with Matthew Rose as Collatinus and Michael Sumuel as Junius. Richard Fairman in the Financial Times described Duncan Rock's Tarquinius as "Schwarzenegger-like."

There are additional performances on July 17, 24 and 30, and August 4, 9, 14 and 19. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Introducing Finnish barihunk Aarne Pelkonen



What better day to introduce Finnish barihunk Aarne Pelkonen than on his birthday (July 11th). The winner of the 2015 Sibelius Singing Competition studied at the Sibelius Academy. He also is a 1st Prize winner for male voice at the Lappeenranta National Singing Competition in 2013. Together with pianist Juho Alakärppä he was a prizewinner in Das Lied – International Song Competition in Berlin in 2011 and at the International Student Lied-Duo Competition in Enschede in the Netherlands.

Aarne Pelkonen sings Tule kanssani, Herra Jeesus:

Pelkonen is an avid lied and oratorio singer who has performed at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, Helsinki Music Centre, Vienna Musikverein, International Kaija Saariaho Festival in Helsinki, Oulu Music Festival, and with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Finnish Baroque orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Pelkonen’s recordings include Brahms’ songs for the Finnish Broadcast.

Aarne Pelkonen has joined the Oldenburg Opera in Germany through 2017, where he will perform Elviro in Handel's Serse, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and San in Trouble in Tahiti. In August he'll join Karita Mattila and Florian Boesch in the cast of Berg's Wozzeck at the Helsinki Music Center with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Jeff Williams to sing Pirate King in Baltimore


Jeff Williams (right & left center) and Spencer Adamson (far left & far right)

We finally got Jeff Williams to model his Barihunk t-shirt in anticipation of his upcoming performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at the Young Victorian Theatre Company in Baltimore.  Williams, who is singing the Pirate King grabbed some photos with castmate Spencer Adamson, who is singing Samuel.  The show opens Saturday July 11th and if you use the promo code July11 for opening night, you'll receive 30% off of your tickets.

You can watch Jeff Williams singing the Pirate King Song ("I am a pirate king") on Baltimore's CBS affiliate WJZ.

The Young Victorian Theatre Company has been producing shows in Baltimore for 45years and it's the city's longest-running summer musical theater. They are dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert & Sullivan and they attract some of best in young musical talent from across the country.

Jeff Williams is a former Nashville Opera Mary Ragland Young Artist and a Seagle Music Colony Young Artist. He has also been associated with the John Duffy Composers Institute and Virginia Arts Festival in Norfolk, Virginia for many years premiering operatic works of living operatic composers. Williams appears on Albany Records in Thomas Sleeper's series of operas, Einstein's Inconsistency, and Michael Dellaira's The Death of Webern to be released later this year. Upcoming engagements include the premiere of George Mabry's Voices, the Mandarin in Turandot with Nashville Opera, performances of Evan Mack's Angel of the Amazon and Roscoe, the premiere of Jeffrey Wood's Different Bodies with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and Brahms: Biography in Music with LyricFest.
Jeff Williams as the Pirate King (left) and in recital
Spencer Adamson hold a Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College, with graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has performed the roles of Tonio in Pagliacci and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with HUB Opera Ensemble in Hagerstown, Maryland. performs in outreach programs with Baltimore Lyric Opera bringing opera to Baltimore's elementary schools.

Additional performances are on July 12, 16, 18 and 19. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gianluca Margheri's shirtless Don Giovanni; Returning to Giulianova

Gianluca Margheri in Luglio Musicale Trapanese's "Don Giovanni" and giving and interview
Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri has quickly established himself as one of the most seductive and sexy Don Giovanni's on the operatic stage today.  Readers may recall his searingly hot Don at Zomeropera, which we covered, as well as his performances with the Hungarian State Opera. He just wrapped up two more performances with the Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese that were met with great critical acclaim and audience enthusiasm. Once again, he was asked by the director to show off his amazing chest, which certainly makes one believe that he had 640 conquests in Italy, 231 in Germany, a 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, and 1,003 in Spain.

Gianluca Margheri sings "Deh vieni alla finestra" with Zomeropera:

He now returns to Giulianova, Italy to perform with La Rocca Barocca, where he sang Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in 2014, Vivaldi's La Senna festeggiante in 2013 and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in 2012. This season he'll perform in Handel's Apollo e Dafne on August 13th.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Watch Igor Durlovski in Jommelli rarity Il Vologeso

Igor Durlovski
Macedonian bass-barihunk Igor Durlovski performed Ancieto in Niccolò Jommelli's rarely produced opera Il Vologeso, Queen of Armenia last year at Staatstheater Stuttgart. The performance marked the 300th anniversary of the Italian composer. The plot of the 1766 opera concerns King Vologeso, who is deposed by Lucio Vero  and restored by another Roman, Flavio.

Niccolò Jommelli composed religious works and operas. In 1753, at the height of his fame, he was choirmaster at the ducal court of Württemberg in Ludwigsburg and commissioned to compose two operas a year.

Durlovski graduated from the Faculty of Music at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje and  made his professional debut in 1999. From 2000 to 2002, he sang with the Macedonian Opera in numerous productions, including Lucia di Lammermoor, Il trovatore, Don Giovanni, Turandot, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La forza del destino, Rigoletto, and Aida. He made his international debut at the Wiener Kammeroper in 2001 as Nonacourt in Nino Rota's Il cappello di paglia di Firenze. Since the 2009-10 he has appeared regularly at the Staatstheater Kassel.  

You can watch HERE

Friday, July 3, 2015

Shirtless pictures of Hadleigh Adams from Bajazet

Hadleigh Adams in rehearsal as Bajazet
If web traffic to our site is any indication, then readers are clearly enjoying the posts about Hadleigh Adams preparing for the Southern Hemisphere premiere of Vivaldi's Bajazet at Australia's Pinchgut Opera. Earlier today, we posted an amazing rehearsal video of him singing "Dov'e la figlia?," which shows why he's more than just a pretty face...the man can SING! We figured that we're share a few photos, as well, because he's clearly as easy on the eyes as the ears.

Adams is returning to Pinchgut after a successful run as Pollux in their production of Rameau's Castor & Pollux in 2012. The company clearly recognizes his marketability, as he's part of their recent advertising campaign, which includes online banners, print ads and outdoor advertising. 

Hadleigh Adams in rehearsal as Bajazet
Bajazet, a rarely performed operatic tragedy, premiered in Verona in 1735 and is a pastiche of Vivaldi's own arias, as well as those by Johann Adolph Hasse, Geminiano Giacomelli, Nicola Porpora and Riccardo Broschi. The opera is also known as Il Tamerlano and the story was also successfully set to music by Handel. The libretto revolves around romantic entanglements and love triangles and the struggle for power between Bajazet, ruler of the Turks, and Tamerlano, ruler of the Tartars.

Performances of Vivaldi’s Bajazet will be on July 4, 5, 7 and 8 at City Recital Hall Angel Place in Sydney.  Also in the cast is Christopher Lowrey as Tamerlano, Helen Sherman as Irene, Emily Edmonds as Asteria and Russell Harcourt as Andronicus. Tickets and additional production information is available online.

Hadleigh Adams singing "Dov'è la figlia?" from Bajazet



We've posted pretty extensively about barihunk Hadleigh Adams performing in the Southern Hemisphere premiere of Vivaldi's Bajazet, which you can read about HERE and HERE. We recently obtained a video of Adams singing the thrilling aria Dov'è la figlia?, which we wanted to share with readers. In case you live in a restricted area for the video, you can access it HERE. Otherwise, enjoy it below.

If you still haven't gotten enough of this thrilling upcoming performance, here is an article from the Sydney Morning Herald.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Four baritones advance to Belvedere finals


Mikhail Timoshenko, Jared Bybee and Zak Kariithi
Four baritones, including American Jared Bybee, who has been featured on this site, have advanced to the finals of the 34th International Hans Gabor Belevedere International Singing Competition in Amsterdam on July 4th. Joining Bybee are Lasha Sesitashvili from Georgia, Mikhail Timoshenko from Russian, and Zachariah Njoroge "Zak" Kariithi from Kenya. Bybee will be singing Prince Yeletsky's aria from Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame.

Lasha Sesitashvili
Finalists will perform with the Het Gelders Orchestra conducted by Ed Spanjaard. First prize receives € 7,000 in honor of Teresa Stich-Randall, second prize receives € 3,500 and third prize takes home € 2,500. Other prizes include an engagement in one of 12 opera houses, a special young artist award of € 500 and and  € 800, awarded by Yasuko Mitsui to a singer of her choice.

Past baritone and bass winners include Dong-Hwan Lee in 2013, Brian Mulligan in 2006, Ilya Kuzmin in 2004, Burak Bilgili in 2002, Vladimir Atanelishvili in 1996, Stanislaw Schwez in 1994, Detlev ROth in 1992, Woiciech Drabowicz in 1990, Peter Edelmann in 1989, Trond Halstein in 1987, Carsten Stabell in 1985 and Harrie Peeters in 1983. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Introducing Canadian Bass-barihunk Tomislav Lavoie


Tomislav Lavoie

With all of our excitement about seeing Stéphane Degout ‏ in Gluck's Alceste at the Garnier, we almost overlooked Canadian bass-barihunk Tomislav Lavoie in the cast. He's caught our eye in the past as Leporello in Don Giovanni and Wagner in Faust, so he's long overdue to being introduced to our readers.

Tomislav Lavoie sings Wagner in Faust:


Lavoie studied at the Conservatoire de Musique in Montréal as a violinist before being hired by several famous orchestras among which the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec. He was called on to replace a singer as Masetto in Don Giovanni and the rest is history. He went on to study voice at  Montréal University and during his first year was asked to sing Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. He was then invited to tour with Jeunesses musicales du Canada.

His performance as Apollo and two other roles in Alceste marks his debut at the Paris Opera. He now heads off to the Wexford Festival to perform Girot in Hérold's Le Pré aux Clercs. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

David Adam Moore as sexy Pasha in Des Moines

 
David Adam Moore as the Pasha in Des Moines

The Des Moines Metro Opera is a stop that we're going to have to add to our tour schedule. Every season seems to be loaded with an ample supply of Midwest, grain-fed barihunks and hunkentenors. This year is no exception. Much of the credit has to go to Michael Mayes, who showed up in 2012 to sing the lead in Mozart's Don Giovanni and decided to get all of the baritones and tenors in shape. Singers were emailing telling us that Mayes was had them on a military regiment of gym training. 

Singers showing up in Des Moines seem to subconsciously realize that they better hit the gym and get their bodies in good as shape as their voices. Last year was no exception, as David Adam Moore set the standard with his ripped Joseph de Rocher in Heggie's Dead Man Walking

Jonathan Blalock: Even the tenors are getting bari-hunky in Des Moines
He's back this year in the non-singing role of the Pasha in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio and he's bringing the sexy back to farm country. The cast includes two other singers familiar to this site, Matt Boehler as Osmin and hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock as Pedrillo. Blalock has been hitting the gym with barihunk Brent Michael Smith, who is singing Billy Jackrabbit in Puccini's Girl of the Golden West. And wait until you see the guys in that show! We promise that we have plenty of pictures forthcoming. 

David Adam Moore and Amanda Woodbury
Performances are on June 26 and 28, and July, 3, 11 and 19 and additional information is available online