Saturday, December 31, 2016


Thank you again to our readers, who keep this site alive and thriving. Your purchases of our calendars and tee shirts goes to supporting young artists and opera projects.

BEST NEW OPERA (tie): Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves

John Moore, Kiera Duffy and the cast of Breaking the Waves
Barihunk John Moore performed in the premiere of Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves at Opera Philadelphia and then reprised his role at the PROTOTYPE Festival along with co-star Kiera Duffy.

The opera is based on the Oscar-nominated 1996 film by Lars von Trier and tells of the story of a woman's sexual desires and confessions after her husband becomes paralyzed. The opera was performed with a "mature audience" warning in Philadelphia, as it involved nudity from the leads. More importantly, the opera is a riveting piece of theater.

BEST NEW OPERA (tie): JFK at Forth Worth Opera

Daniel Okulitch as LBJ and Matt Worth as JFK
The Fort Worth Opera, in collaboration with the American Lyric Theater, debuted David T. Little and Royce Vavrek's JFK  in April to rave reviews. The opera, which starred barihunks Matthew Worth as JFK and Daniel Okulitch as LBJ, tells of the final twelve hours of President John F. Kennedy's life. Okulitch performed a memorable and scene stealing, comic piece stripped down to his Texas flag inspired underwear.

Fort Worth was a fitting setting for the opera, as it was the last place that the President slept before being gunned down in Dallas. JFK left the Hotel Texas (now the Fort Worth Hilton) on the rain-soaked morning of November 22, 1963, and spoke to thousands who had waited in the rain to hear him speak. Those remarks were to be his final public speech.

HOTTEST NEW BARIHUNK TO THE SITE: Basque Barihunk Vincent Simonet

Basque barihunk Vincent Simonet
Our hearts starting racing when we saw these pictures of Basque barihunk Vincent Simonet by photographer and fellow barihunk JF l'Oiseleur des Longchamps. Simonet is a decendent of the famous 19th century baritone Paul Barroilhet (aka Paolo Barroilhet), whose bust still graces the Opera Garnier in Paris.

This summer he performed Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola at the Centre Européen de Musique. He was asked by French composer Philippe Mazé to sing at the 100-year anniversary of the Cathedral of Monaco (Saint Nicholas Cathedral). The cathedral is home to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco where many of the Grimaldis are buried, including Prince Rainier III and his wife Grace Kelly.

Simonet is also one of the initiators of the charity recital "Ensemble pour les Enfants Malades" (Recital for the Sick Children) which is a benefit for the Pediatric Immuno-Hematology Department at the Hôpital Necker de Paris. We love a barihunk who does charity work!

HOTTEST PERFORMANCE: Hadleigh Adams in Powder Her Face at West Edge Opera 

Hadleigh Adams as The Duke in Powder Her Face
West Edge Opera, situated across the Bay from it's big budget sister San Francisco Opera, continues to make waves with the most innovative and thrilling productions anywhere. Under the inspired leadership of Mark Streshinsky they have made the Top 10 lists of virtually every music critic on the West Coast. Their productions, which take place in old abandoned train station (where portions of the movie RENT were filmed), are so popular that they often have to add performances.

Such was the case with Thomas Adès' provocative Powder Her Face starring barihunk Hadleigh Adams, hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock and sexy soprano Emma McNairy, who previously made waves with her sizzling Lulu with the company. Adams sang the roles of the vapid Duke (for which he strips down completely!), the condescending hotel manager, and the hypocritical judge who condemns the Duchess.

The opera was brilliantly directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer, which the Financial Times dubbed "buoyant" and "exhilirating."

Upcoming performance for Adams include Jonathan Dove's Flight with Opera Parallèle and Puccini's La fanciulla del West with the Michigan Opera Theater.

Ryan McKinny as Amfortas
We have to give a close runner-up mention to Ryan McKinny as Amfortas in Bayreuth's Parsifal. If you can look this sexy in a "man diaper" then you deserve some credit. 

BEST BARIHUNK CHARITY WORK: Michael Hewitt/Cancer Research

Michael Hewitt (from our calendar and buffing up for charity work!)
Barihunk Michael Hewitt took to crowd sourcing to raise $3000 for The Decath10n, which raised money for pediatric cancer research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. (Full disclosure: Barihunks contributed to the effort).

Michael is also featured in July in our 2017 "Barihunks in Bed" calendar.  He will make his company debut with the Glimmerglass Opera in 2017 in the role of Jud Fry in Oklahoma!

Hewitt also has a fitness website and he says that consistency is the key to staying in shape and that you can't outwork a poor diet.

BEST NEW SOLO WORK FOR BARITONE: Clint Borzoni's Two German Songs for Baritone and String Quartet, sung by Marco Vassalli

Composer Clint Borzoni and barihunk Marco Vassalli worked on this commission over Skype after the German singer chose Hermann Hesse's Stufen and Hilde Domin's Margere Kost for his text. Musica Marin presented the works, which were inspired by adding something other than Samuel Barber's Dover Beach to the repertory for baritone and string quartet. Vassalli performed all three pieces at two sold out concerts in the former home of Ansel Adams in San Francisco.

Borzoni, one of the most talented young composers on the scene is now Musica Marin's "Composer-in-Residence." Barihunk Edward Nelson will perform the composer's new arrangement of his aria "Two Nooses" from his opera When Adonis Calls, arranged for baritone, viola, cello and piano. Borzoni's opera The Copper Queen won the Arizona Opera's award for best new opera.

BEST PERFORMANCE IN AN OPERETTA: Dominik Köninger in Oscar Straus' The Pearls of Cleopatra

Dominik Köninger
What would a Barihunk "Best of..." list be without German barihunk Dominik Köninger? He made our list again by giving the funniest performance of the year as the Roman Officer in Oscar Straus' The Pearls of Cleopatra (Die Perlen der Cleopatra) at the Komische Oper in Berlin.

The operetta has been on the shelves for more than eighty years and was written before the composer fled the Nazi Anschluss in 1939. As the Roman Officer, Köninger is shown in some pretty sexy situations and there also plenty of scantily clad, energetic performers on stage, adding to the lively Cabaret feel of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic.

The operetta is viewable on the OperaPlatform. We sure hope that someone else produces this work using this Barrie Kosky production, which is perfect in every way.


Björn Bürger as Don Giovanni and the Barber
We've been keeping our eye on German barihunk Björn Bürger since 2014, when he caught our eyes and ears at the Mirjam Helin Competition. We continued to be impressed by him as an ensemble member at the Frankfurt Oper, where he performed Pelléas, Schaunard, Plunkett in Martha, Curio in Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Frank and Fritz in Die Tote Stadt. Count Almaviva, Masetto and Owen Wingrave. But we really began to take note with his sexy portrayal in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni at Den Norske Opera.

There is no such thing as an overnight sensation, as years of coaching, training and performing goes into any singer's career, but Bürger may have had just such a moment this year. His performance in the title role of Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Glyndebourne Festival was the talk of the town, where his cast mates included Taylor Stayton as Almaviva and Danielle de Niese as Rosina.

The Guardian said that Bürger "dominates with singing of great bravado and warmth," while The Express wrote that he sang "beautifully...and acted with impressive energy.' Mark Valencia in What's on Stage wrote, "The handsome young baritone exudes elegant bonhomie and fourth-wall-breaking razzle-dazzle, and he delivers Rossini's tongue-twisters with an eloquence it would be hard to better."

BEST APPEARANCE IN AN ADULT MAGAZINE: Edward Miskie in Britain's Mascular Magazine

Edward Miskie (right) in Mascular Magazine
Edward Miskie, who has appeared in our Barihunks Calendar for the last two years, was asked to pose for the UK's erotic art magazine Mascular Magazine. The magazine is geared toward those who love bears (and we have a ton of readers who fit that category!)

However, Miskie shows more skin in our new calendar than he did in his photoshoot with Brooklyn-based photographer Ron Amato for the magazine's feature entitled "Pride." Whether in a suit or staring out shirtless from his bed, this is one sexy man who holds his own with any of the models in Mascular Magazine. Check it out for yourself.

BEST JOKE THAT WE PLAYED ON READERS: Nathan Gunn and Anna Netrebko appearing in Wagner's Ring at the MET

Nathan Gunn would make one sexy Wotan. Check out that spear.
Barihunk Zachary Luchetti penned an April Fool's Day joke for us claiming that Nathan Gunn and Anna Netrebko would be appearing the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Wagner's Ring as Brünnhilde and Wotan. Luchetti is one of the most entertaining and original personalities in the industry and we loved running with this gag. It was worth it just for the emails from people outraged that this duo would take on role "obviously ill-suited to their voices," as one reader wrote. This is why one should read every post to the end (especially on April 1st).

BEST INTERVIEW: Malte Roesner discussing fitness routineand his fach change

Malte Roesner
When we first met Malte Roesner in France last year, he was singing as a baritone and wrapping up a decade long run at the Staatstheater Braunschweig (State Theater of Brunswick). Since that time, he has gone through a fach change to bass and recently came to California for a series of auditions. We will have an exciting update about his upcoming U.S. debut(s) in a future post. (Yes, debut may be plural).

He is featured prominently in both our 2016 calendar and our "2017 Barihunks in Bed" calendar. Roesner, who is one of the most intelligent singers on the scene, also translates operas, having translated both Jake Heggie's For a Look or a Touch and Jonathan Dove's Mansfield Park from English to German.

In our interview with him, the always fascinating singer discussed his recent fach change from baritone to bass, his workout routine, his month-long audition tour in the US and why it's “all about the bass.” You can read the entire interview HERE.


Lucas Meachem
When we posted an interview with barihunk Lucas Meachem about his recent weight loss it went viral and jumped to one of our ten most viewed posts ever (and the top post that didn't reveal any "skin")!!!

Prompted by being forced to deal with high cholesterol and the new age of HD opera broadcasts, Meachem took his wife's advice and switched to a plant-based diet, which led to an amazing physical transformation.

When he took the stage as Doctor Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale at the San Francisco Opera, Meachem had slimmed down a remarkable 45 pounds (20.4 kilos). He also sounded as luxurious and resonant as ever.

He told us, "I used to rail against the system for it's unfairness that weight is even an issue when it came to my voice. For me vocal prowess should be the main determining factor of an opera singer but I realized that I couldn't play by those rules anymore. The fact is it's easier to change yourself than the system. So instead of resisting, I decided to change myself."

You can read the entire interview HERE.

On an unrelated note, Meachem won the San Francisco Opera's inaugural "Emerging Star of the Year" competition, whose goal is to engage the community in the thrill of experiencing artists on the cusp of greatness, and to build awareness among the broader opera-going public of San Francisco Opera's leadership in nurturing and showcasing new talent. 

BEST GATHERING OF A BARIHUNK SEXTET IN ONE PLACE (tie): A Midsummer Night's Dream at Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona and Lakes Area Music Festival

Prior to 2016, the most barihunks that we had ever featured on one stage at the same time was four. It seemed like this year at least two companies decided to blow that number out of the water, as both the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona and the Lakes Area Music Festival decided to present operas with SIX barihunks performing together.

Zachary Altman and Nicholas Masters (top); Dario Shikhmiri, Rocco Cavalluzzi, Federico Benetti and Paolo Ingrasciotta (bottom l-r)

The cast list for Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Teatro Amilcare Ponchielli Cremona, included  Zachary Altman as Bottom, Nicholas Masters as Quince, Dario Shikhmiri as Starveling, Rocco Cavalluzzi as Snug, Federico Benetti as Theseus and Paolo Ingrasciotta as Demetrius.

Eric Broker, Andrew Lovato, Sam Parkinson, John Taylor Ward, Rodolfo Nieto and Benjamin Sieverding
Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe the Lakes Area Music Festival's production of the same opera included John Taylor Ward as Bottom, Andrew Lovato as Demetrius, Rodolfo Nieto as Theseus, Benjamin Sieverding as Quince, Eric Broker as Starveling and Sam Parkinson as Snug. John Taylor Ward not only performed in the opera, but he serves as Associate Artistic Director of the company and wrote the program notes.

All we have to say for 2017, is bring us more performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

BEST SHIRTLESS APPEARANCE: Alessio Arduini in Così fan tutte

Alessio Arduini in Così fan tutte
We don't know how this site could survive without streaming video from opera houses around the world, as it continues to be an endless source of content and visual and audio excitement.

Imagine our reaction when we watched the BBC Radio 3 broadcast of the Royal Opera House production of Mozart's Così fan tutte with a shirtless Alessio Arduni as Guglielmo. German director Jan Philipp Gloger made his house debut with the new production using librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte’s alternative title for the opera: "The School for Lovers." The ROH cast a vocally and visually impressive cast to live up to the title, which included  Corinne Winters as Fiordiligi, Angela Brower as Dorabella, Daniele Behle as Ferrando, Johannes Martin Kränzle as Don Alfonso and Sabina Puértolas as Despina.

Arduini is currently performing Marcello at the Metropolitan Opera on Januray 6,11 and 14.

SEXIEST SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT: Zachary Gordin on Instagram

Zachary Gordin on Instagram
If you're not one of Zachary Gordin's 1,450 followers on Instagram (zgordin) then you're missing out on some of the best barihunk shots on the internet. Gordin's site alternates personal posts with images from performances and his brutal gym workouts.

The fitness buff also serves on the voice faculty of Sonoma State University and operates a private vocal studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. Upcoming performances include "Mozart at the Opera" with the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio on January 22 and a recital with accompanist Brian Nies at the Green Music Center in Sonoma.

We particularly love him because he includes us in his bio, "Gordin is also widely recognized as the face of the website Barihunks, which celebrates physically fit and vocally-talented operatic baritones from around the globe."


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Barihunk David Castillo fuses music and food in Seven Deadly Sins

Barihunk David Castillo and his Chefs (photo by Matthew & Becky Noel)
Barihunk David Castillo is taking a night off from singing to become the Creative Director for "The Seven Deadly Sins" at the St. Charles Room at Loyola University in New Orleans on Friday, January 6th.

The fusion-arts event will pair the seven deadly sins (Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride) with food prepared by some of New Orleans' top culinary artists.

Audience  membes will revel in the seven deadly sins through the chefs’ sinful artistic interpretations in a seven-course tasting menu. Music will include Bach BWV 54 “Just Resist Sin,” Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s “The Seven Deadly Sins,” and a performance by Counterclassic that fuses DJ, Instrumentalists, and Projection Mapping.

Efrain Solis, who has been featured on this site, will be joined by fellow opera singers Claire Shackleton, Benjamin Lee and Tyrone Chambers. Tickets are available online.

Castillo can next be heard as a singer on February 5th, when he performs Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. Tickets are available online.

(Properly) Introducing Bass-Barihunk Marko Mimica

Marko Mimica (photos by Simon Pauly & Foto Piccinni)
Our post about Simon Keenlyside's New Year's Eve concert at the Royal Opera House of Muscat prompted a reader to remind us that we've never properly featured Croatian Bass-Barihunk Marko Mimica. We only featured him briefly when he was in the finals of the Cardiff Singer of the World in 2013 and he certainly deserves his own post. Mimica will be performing Mustafa in Rossini's  L’italiana in Algeri at the Royal Opera House of Muscat on February 9 and 12.

His next performance will be from January 21-29 as Banquo in Verdi's Macbeth at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo. He'll reprise the role at the Teatro Regio in Torino from June 22-July 1. In the interim, he'll perform Alfonso in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia in Valencia, Oroveso in Bellini's Norma in Verona and Lord Sydney in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims in Verona.

Marko Mimica performs Rossini's La Calunnia at the Cardiff competition:

Mimica was a member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin from 2011-16, where he performed the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Raimondo in Donizetti's  Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Basilio in Rossini's Il barbiere di Sivigilia, Talbot  in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Pater Lorenzo in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Tschelio in Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges, Colline in Puccini's La bohème, Pistola in Verdi's Falstaff, Banquo in Verdi's Macbeth, Oroveso in Bellini's Norma and Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore.

Mimica graduated from the Academy of Music in Zagreb, Croatia and was a participant in the 2011 Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project. In 2008, Mimica made his professional debut at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb as Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. He continued to perform regularly in Zagreb until 2011, where he performed Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Kochubey in Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa and Padre Guardiano in Verdi's La forza del destino.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Simon Keenlyside rings in the New Year with Broadway musicals

Simon Keenlyside as Macbeth and Hamlet
British barihunk Simon Keenlyside will spend New Year's Eve at the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman performing music from classic Broadway musicals. the concert will include songs from My Fair Lady, Kiss Me Kate, and Oklahoma!

Keenlyside will be joined on stage by the actress and singer Jodie Jacobs, along with the PKF-Prague Philhamonia under the baton of Charles David Abell. Tickets are available online.

Keenlyside is not new to the world of musicals.  In June of this year, he performed the role of Fagin in Lionel Bart’s Oliver! at the Grange Park Opera in England. He also released a CD titled Something’s Gotta Give on Chandos), which includes Cole Porter’s Night and Day, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’, and If I Were a Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof.

After the New Year concert, he returns to the operatic stage at the Vienna State Opera in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni with barihunk Erwin Schrott as his sidekick Leporello. Tickets are available online.

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Glen Seven Allen & Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Monday, December 26, 2016

Michael Todd Simpson replaces Eric Owens in ‘L’Amour de Loin’ at Met

Michael Todd Simpson
Barihunk Michael Todd Simpson stepped in as Jaufré Rudel for Eric Owens on Christmas Eve in Kaija Saariaho’s critically acclaimed L’Amour de Loin at The Met. Eric Owens returns to sing the final performance on December 29.

This season, Simpson has performed at the Metropolitan Opera in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell and returns as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen on February 15 opposite Clémentine Margaine. The other Escamillo is barihunk Kyle Ketelsen.

Simpson made his Met Opera debut in 2009 in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann in a cast that included Joseph Calleja, Kate Lindsey and Anna Netrebko. He followed those performances with appearances as Lescaut in Massenet’s Manon and Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

From April 7-9, he'll perform the Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance in a cast that includes Stephanie Blythe as Ruth, Andrew Stenson as Frederic and barihunk Tobias Greenhalgh as Samuel.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Michael Kelly and Shea Owens in NY premiere of Prince of Players

Barihunks Michael Kelly and Shea Owens will alternate the role of the androgynous Kynaston in the New York debut of Carlisle Floyd's Prince of Players at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The opera will be performed by the little OPERA theatre of ny (LOTNY) from February 23-26, 2017. Tickets are available online.

Set in 17th Century Restoration England during the reign of King Charles II, Prince of Players follows the story of Edward Kynaston, a Shakespearean actor famous for his performances of the female roles in the Bard's plays. When the King grants permission for women to appear onstage, and forbids male actors from continuing to appear in female roles, Kynaston must relearn his entire craft or face the end of his career.

Adapted from Jeffrey Hatcher's play A Compleat Female Stage Beauty and the subsequent 2004 film Stage Beauty, this new American opera with music and libretto by Carlisle Floyd was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera. It received its world premiere this past March 2016 at the HGO Studio with barihunk Ben Edquist as Kynaston. The composer has since revised the sections of the piece. The new version will be heard for the first time in this production.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chris Herbert to reprise WINTERIZE at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Chris Herbert
Barihunk Christopher Dylan Herbert will reprise his unique performance of his participatory version of Franz Schubert’s 1828 song cycle Winterreise dubbed Winterize at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Wednesday, December 21.

Winterize will begin at Magnolia Plaza, at 11:30 AM in front of the sundial. Note that admission to the garden is free before noon, and thus this event is free. 1000 Washington Avenue is the closest street number to the meet-up spot.

He released a video highlight of the performance, which is appropriately dubbed Winterize, since it's performed outside in the cold New York winter, the piece reimagines Schubert's WINTERREISE for baritone and transistor radios.

Performed in collaboration with Make Music New York, the audience holds the accompaniment playing through the radios as they walk through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Along the way, they pass through locations that reflect the imagery of Wilhelm Müller’s poetry and Schubert’s music.

The piano accompaniment was recorded by Timothy Long and reimagined by sound designer Jonathan Zalben. The production was directed by JJ Hudson. This year’s performance also featured twenty-four new, illustrated German-to-English supertitles by Italian artist Irene Rinaldi.

On January 6th, you can catch Herbert with the Brooklyn Art Song Society in a performance of Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Tickets are available online.

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Glenn Seven Allen & Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Two barihunks making role debuts as Hamlet

Edward Nelson (left) and Régis Mengus (right)
Barihunks Régis Mengus and Edward Nelson will be making their role debuts as Hamlet on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean in 2017.

Mengus will perform the role with Opéra de Lausanne from February 5-12 with Lisette Oropesa as his Ophelia. Amazingly, this will be the first time that the masterpiece by the French composer Ambroise Thomas will be performed in Lausanne. The opera was co-produced with the Opéra de Marseille, who presented this production last Fall with Jean-François Lapointe in the title role.

Mengus, who came from a blue collar family with little exposure to the arts, was drawn to music as a young boy. He started piano lesson at the age of six, but joined the boys choir Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois two years later after realizing that singing was his true passion. Shortly after joining the group, he rose to the coveted role of soloist with the boys choir (and became an internet sensation).

In October 2013, he won both the First Prize and the Audience Award at the International Competition of Singing in Vivonne. In March 2014, he won First Prize, the Audience Award, and a Special Award at the International Competition of Bordeaux.

From December 24-31, one can hear Mengus at the Opéra de Tours as Gustave de Pottenstein in Franz Lehàr's Das Land des Lächelns (Le Pays du Sourire).

Géraldine Chauvet & Jean Francois Lapointe perform Hamlet

Mengus, who came from a blue collar family with little exposure to the arts, was drawn to music as a young boy. He started piano lesson at the age of six, but joined the boys choir Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois two years later after realizing that singing was his true passion. Shortly after joining the group, he rose to the coveted role of soloist with the boys choir (and became an internet sensation).

In October 2013, he won both the First Prize and the Audience Award at the International Competition of Singing in Vivonne. In March 2014, he won First Prize, the Audience Award, and a Special Award at the International Competition of Bordeaux.

From December 24-31, one can hear Mengus at the Opéra de Tours as Gustave de Pottenstein in Franz Lehàr's Das Land des Lächelns (Le Pays du Sourire).

Edward Nelson (left) and Régis Mengus (right)
Edward Nelson, who just finished his two-year stint at the prestigious Adler Fellow Program under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera, will perform the role of Hamlet with West Edge Opera across the San Francisco Bay. His Ophelia will be Emma McNairy, who created a sensation with her Lulu with the company. The opera will be performed at the abandoned train station in West Oakland, which has become a popular destination for opera goers. Parts of the movie RENT were filmed at the site. Performances will be part of their August festival, which also includes Vicente Martin y Soler's The Chastity Tree and Libby Larsen's Frankenstein. Rumor has it that a major U.S. debut by a barihunk will be part of the festival. Details coming!

Nelson received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He was a national semifinalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the 2014 Naumburg International Voice Competition, First Prize winner of the 2014 Corbett Opera Competition at CCM, and a winner in the 2013 Opera Columbus and 2014 Mildred Miller International Voice Competition.

Nelson sang a number of roles this season at the San Francisco Opera, including Fleville in Giordano's Andrea Chénier, Eunuch/Stone in Dream of the Red Chamber, Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, and Yamadori in Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

On February 4th, Nelson will perform the world premiere of a new arrangement of Clint Borzoni's aria "Two Nooses" from his opera When Adonis Calls, arranged for baritone, viola, cello and piano. Tickets are now on sale. On April 21 and 23, he will perform the Steward in Jonathan Dove's Flight with Opera Omaha, and from June 15-24, Schaunard in Puccini's La boheme at the Cincinnati Opera


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Brent Michael Smith, Jerome Varnier and Brad Baron

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PROTOTYPE Festival to present Breaking the Waves

John Moore in Opera Philadelphia's Breaking the Waves
The PROTOTYPE Festival, along with Beth Morrison Projects will present Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves on January 6, 7, and 9 at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

The piece premiered at Opera Philadelphia premiered on September 22 at Opera Philadelphi with the barihunk John Moore as the main protagonist Jan Nyman. He will reprise the role in with the PROTOTYPE Festival along with co-star Kiera Duffy as Bess McNeill. Singing the role of the Church Councilman is Marcus DeLoach, who has also appeared on this site.

The opera was a co-commission between Opera Philadelphia and Beth Morrison Projects. In Philadelphia, the opera had a "for mature audiences" warning as both leads appear nude.

The opera is based on the Oscar-nominated 1996 film by Lars von Trier. The libretto tells the story of Bess McNeill (sung by Kiera Duffy), a religious young woman with a deep love for her husband Jan, a handsome oil rig worker. When Jan becomes paralyzed in an off-shore accident, her marital vows are put to the test as he encourages her to seek other lovers and return to his bedside to tell him of her sexual activities. He insists that the stories will feel like they are making love together and keep him alive. Bess’s increasing selflessness leads to a finale of divine grace, but at great cost.

Tickets for all performances are available online

The PROTOTYPE Festival will also present the world premiere of Matt Marks' Mata Hari with barihunk Joshua Jeremiah, the New York premiere of David Lang's Anatomy Theater, the New York premiere of M. Lamar and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's Funeral Doom Spiritual, the world premiere of Sarah Small's Secondary Dominance, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus’ newest project Silent Voices and Julian Wachner's Rev.24.

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Vittorio Prato


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Joyce DiDonato and Paulo Szot in New Year's Eve celebration

Joyce DiDonato and Paulo Szot
Honorary barihunk Joyce DiDonato and barihunk Paulo Szot will ring in 2017 with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic in an “Enchanted Evening” of American classics. The duo will perfom selections from Old American Songs by Aaron Copland,  Rodgers & Hammerstein  "Soliloquy" from Carousel and selections from The Sound of Music, as well as music from Lerner & Loewe's My Fair Lady.

In 2008,  Szot won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Emile De Beque in the Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific at Lincoln Center Theater.  In the current season, the Brazilian baritone sings Don Alfonso in a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte at Paris Opéra and a solo recital in Madrid as a salute to Antônio Carlos Jobim. He also returns to Feinstein’s 54 Below in New York City for a series of solo performances, and creates the roles of Alexander Hamilton, Bill Clinton, and Dick Cheney in the World Premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The New Prince at Dutch National Opera.

Less than 3 weeks left to order your 2017 Barihunks in Bed calendar.

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Kevin Thompson and Craig Irvin in LoftOpera's Macbeth

Kevin Thompson and Craig Irvin
LoftOpera just opened Giuseppe Verdi's Macbeth with barihunks Craig Irvin as Macbeth and Kevin Thompson as Banco, joined by Elizabeth Baldwin as Lady Macbeth and Peter Scott Drackley as Macduff. The performances are at the Mast Chocolate Factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and additional performances are on December 12, 14, 16 and 18.

The opera was staged by Laine Rettmer with barren rock sets by Andrea Merkx. The company continues to offer affordable prices and artisanal beer for patrons.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Original Barihunk Samuel Ramey to receive University's "President's Medal"

Samuel Ramey as Mefistofele
Samuel Ramey, who many have dubbed the "original barihunk" of the modern opera era, will receive The President's Medal from Wichita State University. The honor is presented annually to a person for exemplary leadership, service to humanity and expertise in their field. Honorary degrees must be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Ramey serves as the distinguished professor of opera at Wichita State University and recently joined the Wichita Grand Opera as their Ambassador and Artistic Adviser. The company has established "The Samuel Ramey program," which includes three new initiatives: One to take opera across Kansas, one to create the Opera Academy of the Midwest and the formation of the Wichita Opera Business Alliance.

A native of Colby, Kansas, Samuel Ramey was active in music throughout high school and college. In 1995 he was named “Kansan of the Year,” and in 1998 the French Ministry of Culture awarded him the rank of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters.

Samuel Ramey sings Ella giammai m'amò! from Verdi's Don Carlo:

His video of Boito's Mefistofele from the San Francisco Opera has become a cult classic with opera aficionados. He continued his sexy shirtless portrayals as Attila that were not only sexy, but set the vocal standard to this day. He remains an idol and role model to a generation of younger low voices.

His amazing vocal flexibility and range has allowed him to sing roles ranging from Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo to the title role in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. His repertoire includes the florid passages of Handel, the bel canto roles of Bellini and Donizetti, the great baritone roles of Verdi and Puccini, great American operas and even many of the great Russian and French bass roles.

He is still actively performing, although in less demanding roles. In recent years, he's performed Count Monterone in Verdi's Rigoletto in Wichita, Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle in Omaha, Dansker in Britten's Billy Budd with the Los Angeles Opera, the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi's Don Carlos at the Houston Grand Opera, Leone in Verdi's Attila at San Francisco Opera, Timur in Puccini's Turandot at the Met and the Old Hebrew in Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila at the Tulsa Opera. 

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Tobias Greenhalgh in sexy King Arthur in Gärtnerplatz

Tobias Greenhalgh in King Arthur
Tobias Greenhalgh is making his debut at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz with a quartet of roles, including the Cold Genius and Aeolus, in Henry Purcell's King Arthur directed by Torsten Fischer. The director often has the barihunk shirtless, as are most of the male dancers, who are critical to the stage action, which Fischer says is one-third opera, one-third dance and one-third theater. Performances run almost daily through December 18th and tickets and cast information is available online.

King Arthur at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz
King Arthur was first performed in London's Dorset Garden Theatre in 1691. Playwright John Dryden and composer Henry Purcell successfully combined musical theatre, drama, dance and stage magic and set new standards in the culture of British musical theatre. Originally, Dryden had written the text of the drama back in 1684 for the 25th anniversary of the Restoration of the English monarchy under Charles II, but he then had to revise the work completely after the King's death in 1685 and the subsequent squabbles which led to the rise of Catholicism in England.

Tobias Greenhalgh in King Arthur
In the opera, a ferocious war is being waged between England and Saxony, as well as a battle of the hearts. The legendary King Arthur joins battle with the Saxon King Oswald to save his kingdom from heathen rule. But there is more than just political and religious conflict between the two princely enemies – both are in love with and desire the same woman: Princess Emmeline of Cornwall. The sighted heart of the blind princess burns for Arthur, but in the wild confusion of the war, driven by earthly military forces and loose spiritual beings from the infernal realms between life and death, the characters need to survive more than just a physical trial of strength.

Greenhalgh returns to his native America in February, to sing Belcore in Donizetti's L’elisir d’amore with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Malte Roesner & Marco Vassalli from the Barihunks in Bed calendar