Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Three Way" in Nashville with barihunks Wes Mason, Matt Treviño & hunkentenor Samuel Levine

Barihunks Wes Mason, Matt Treviño and hunkentenor Samuel Levine
Barihunks Wes Mason, Matt Treviño and hunkentenor Samuel Levine will be featured in the world premiere of Robert Paterson's new opera Three Way at the Nashville Opera. The opera explores Android lovers, dominatrix culture, and the final frontier: multiple partners.

The opera is a playful three-act performance that explores the future of love, sex, and need with a clever balance of humor and drama. Each aptly named act (The Companion, Safe Word, and Masquerade) introduces the audience to a collision of contemporary characters who meet at the intersection of power and desire to reveal the true longings of the human heart.

Three Way is a co-production with American Opera Projects and will debut in Nashville at the James K. Polk Theatre on January 27, with additional performances on January 28 and 29. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Make sure to check out Wes Mason's newly updated website.

You can also catch Matt Treviño on New Year's Eve with the Sante Fe Symphony in Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Tickets are available online.

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Barihunk Łukasz Karauda to perform Dvořák's Te Deum in Cardiff

Łukasz Karauda and Dvořák's Te Deum
Barihunk Łukasz Karauda, who we just introduced to readers back in October, will join the Côr Philharmonic Caerdydd and the Cardiff Philharmonic Choir in a holiday concert on Saturday, December 3rd at 7:30 PM. The program will feature Dvořák's Te Deum and a selection of holiday songs. He'll be joined by soprano Angharad Morgan.

Dvořák sketched the work out in less than a week and had completed it by the end of July 1892. It was not in fact performed at the Columbus celebrations for which it had been intended but received its first performance a fortnight later on October 21, 1892 at the New York Hall, with a choir of 250 singers conducted by Dvorak himself.  

The Te Deum is also known as Ambrosian Hymn or A Song of the Church, and is an early Christian hymn of praise. The title is taken from its opening Latin words, Te Deum laudamus, rendered as "Thee, O God, we praise". The hymn follows the outline of the Apostles' Creed, mixing a poetic vision of the heavenly liturgy with its declaration of faith.

Dvořák's Te Deum with the Vienna Philharmonic & Czech Philharmonic Choir:


Karauda graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is a recipient of a Bryn Terfel Foundation award. He was also tutored by fellow Polish barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien.

He won the first prize in the 5th Kurpinski Polish National Voice Competition in Wloszakowice, Poland and the ‘Most Promising Singer’ at the 2015 London Welsh ‘Young Welsh Singer of the Year’ competition.

At the Royal Welsh College of Music he sang the title role in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and the title role in their production of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as Steward in Dove's Flight, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, Dancaïre and Morales, Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen at the St Magnus Festival in Scotland.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Mason Jarboe to feature Clint Borzoni songs in recital; Debuts Sweet's Sommerlieder

Mason Jarboe as Don Giovanni
Barihunk Mason Jarboe will perform his senior recital at the University of North Texas Recital Hall at 5PM on Friday, December 2nd.  Joined by accompanist Boeun Kim, the program features works by Barber, Bach, Chausson, Mahler, Rossini (featuring mezzo-soprano Madelaine Martinez), Massenet (featuring soprano Megan Gryga), Barber, and Clint Borzoni. Jarboe will also perform the world premiere of Sam Sweet's Sommerlieder, with texts by the baritone. 

Avid readers of the site, might recall that Jarboe has appeared twice on this site, once in a group photo of barihunks doing the "baritone claw" and again with a group of barihunks at Seagle Music Colony sporting Barihunk T-shirts. He was a young artist at Seagle in 2014 and 2015.

We've never properly introduced Jarboe, who is a senior vocal performance major at the University of North Texas. We first saw him when he was just 19 and making After making his professional debut at the Fort Worth Opera as the French Sentry in Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer-winning opera Silent Night.  He recently sang the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Opera in the Ozarks, where he had previously performed Tonio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Michele in Puccini's Il Tabarro. In the 2015-2016 season, he was an education outreach young artist at The Dallas Opera, where he sang the role of Colas in Mozart’s Bastien and Bastienne

We asked Jarboe about some of the music on the program and what it meant to him. 

Of Samuel Barber's piece he commented, "The first song, Barber's St. Ita's Vision, was one of the few single pieces that I can trace back to really throwing me headlong into the vocal career track."

Randal Turner sings Clint Borzoni's "I Dream'd in a Dream":

This site has been a huge proponent of the American composer Clint Borzoni and helped fund a concert of American music featuring Randal Turner and the world premiere of two songs for String Quartet and Baritone performed by Marco Vassalli. 

We were thrilled to see that Jarboe was performing two of our favorite songs and here's what he had to say about them:
"The songs 'I Dreamed in a Dream' and 'That Shadow, my Likeness' are right up there with my favorite English language songs ever written. If I had time I would've thrown in 'Tired' from Vaughan Williams' Last Four Songs, but some other time. For me, those three songs in the final set of my recital paint such a poignant picture of the realization, really the epiphany, I had towards classical vocal music, and Clint's songs perfectly show the progress I have made within my own life; the thankfulness of the first piece in which I can recognize everyone who has so warmly embraced me on my journey towards true artistry as well as the sense of community I have felt; truly a 'city of friends,' and the second, the acceptance of myself. The understanding that every perfectly imperfect aspect of me comes together in such a funny and beautiful way to create a human, a man, an artist, that I am proud to present today, no matter how many high G's he has to put out in a recital (11, and four F#s) and no matter what anyone around him thinks. Thanks to such perfect settings of such perfect texts by Mr. Borzoni, I know that my art matters, that I matter as an artist, and, most importantly, that what I and my brilliant colleagues do as musicians has such an important role in so many people's everyday lives that I will never stop striving to show to them. I just adore his music, and I really can't wait to get to work on my next Borzoni project."
Composer S.K. Sweet's Sommerlieder is a 21st century take on the romantic German song cycle. Its texts, written by Jarboe in the Summer of 2014 at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, NY, are part of a larger collection titled "Texts you never got from me," a collection of actual text messages that he tried to send that were mostly not delivered due to the poor cell service.

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Glenn Seven Allen and Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Monday, November 28, 2016

BARIHUNK CAST SWITCH: Barihunk James Newby replaces Jonathan McGovern as Mercurio

Barihunk James Newby (©Ben McKee Photography)
La Nuova Musica will be swapping barihunks in the role of Mercutio for their performance of Cavalli's La Calisto tonight at Wigmore Hall. James Newby will be filling in for Jonathan McGovern in a cast that also includes two of the sexiest countertenors in opera, Jake Arditti as Satirino and Tim Mead as Endomione. Bass-barihunk Edward Grint also appears as Silvano in a cast headed by early music specialist Lucy Crowe as Calisto. Tickets are available online.

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, first performed in Venice in 1651, blends comedy and tragedy with music of sensuous beauty and irresistible charm.  The opera’s libretto is based on the ancient Greek myth of the nymph Callisto as related by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.

At the age of 22, Newby was awarded Third Prize overall at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition in 2015 and won the Richard Tauber Prize for the  the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder. Previous winners of the prize include Jonathan Lemalu and Simon Keenlyside.

James Newby sings Finzi's "Come away, come away death":

In September, Newby performed on the last night of the BBC Proms in a concert that featured international operatic superstar Juan Diego Flórez.

In the summer of 2016, Newby joined the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and is currently  continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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BARIHUNK CAST SWITCH: Barihunk James Newby replaces Jonathan McGovern as Mercurio

Barihunk James Newby (©Ben McKee Photography)
La Nuova Musica will be swapping barihunks in the role of Mercutio for their performance of Cavalli's La Calisto tonight at Wigmore Hall. James Newby will be filling in for Jonathan McGovern in a cast that also includes two of the sexiest countertenors in opera, Jake Arditti as Satirino and Tim Mead as Endomione. Bass-barihunk Edward Grint also appears as Silvano in a cast headed by early music specialist Lucy Crowe as Calisto. Tickets are available online.

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, first performed in Venice in 1651, blends comedy and tragedy with music of sensuous beauty and irresistible charm.  The opera’s libretto is based on the ancient Greek myth of the nymph Callisto as related by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.

At the age of 22, Newby was awarded Third Prize overall at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition in 2015 and won the Richard Tauber Prize for the  the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder. Previous winners of the prize include Jonathan Lemalu and Simon Keenlyside.

James Newby sings Finzi's "Come away, come away death":

In September, Newby performed on the last night of the BBC Proms in a concert that featured international operatic superstar Juan Diego Flórez.

In the summer of 2016, Newby joined the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and is currently  continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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BARIHUNK CAST SWITCH: Barihunk James Newby replaces Jonathan McGovern as Mercurio

Barihunk James Newby (©Ben McKee Photography)
La Nuova Musica will be swapping barihunks in the role of Mercutio for their performance of Cavalli's La Calisto tonight at Wigmore Hall. James Newby will be filling in for Jonathan McGovern in a cast that also includes two of the sexiest countertenors in opera, Jake Arditti as Satirino and Tim Mead as Endomione. Bass-barihunk Edward Grint also appears as Silvano in a cast headed by early music specialist Lucy Crowe as Calisto. Tickets are available online.

Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto, first performed in Venice in 1651, blends comedy and tragedy with music of sensuous beauty and irresistible charm.  The opera’s libretto is based on the ancient Greek myth of the nymph Callisto as related by Ovid in his Metamorphoses.

James Newby sings Finzi's "Come away, come away death":
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At the age of 22, Newby was awarded Third Prize overall at the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition in 2015 and won the Richard Tauber Prize for the  the best interpretation of Schubert Lieder. Previous winners of the prize include Jonathan Lemalu and Simon Keenlyside.

In September, Newby performed on the last night of the BBC Proms in a concert that featured international operatic superstar Juan Diego Flórez.

In the summer of 2016, Newby joined the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and is currently  continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Only a month left to order your 2017 Barihunks in Bed Calendar. Enjoy opera's hottest men year around!

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Introducing Jens Søndergaard; Appearing in Carl Nielsen's Maskarade

Jens Søndergaard
Jens Søndergaard will perform in Carl Nielsen's Maskarade in Den Fynske Opera's upcoming season. The opera will be a new staging with a modern twist. Performances will run from February 24-March 9, 2017. Tickets are available online.

Maskarade is based on the 1724 comedy Mascarade by the Danish playwright Ludvig Holberg, who is considered the founder of modern Danish and Norwegian literature. The world premiere of Maskarade took place at Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen on November 11, 1906. It was a resounding success from the start with an exceptional run of 25 performances over its first four months. The opera had its US premiere in 1972 with the St. Paul Opera in Minnesota.

The opera is considered Denmark's national opera and it has enjoyed lasting success in the country, attributable to its many strophic songs, dances and its underlying "old Copenhagen" atmosphere. In 2006, Denmark's Ministry of Culture named it one of Denmark's twelve greatest musical works.

The popular overture to Carl Nielsen's Maskarade:


The story revolves around Leander and Leonora, two young people who meet fortuitously at a masquerade ball, swear their undying love for each other and exchange rings. The following day, Leander tells his valet Henrik of his newfound love. He becomes distraught when reminded by Henrik that his parents have betrothed him in marriage to Leonora, the daughter of Leonard from remote Slagelse. Things get complicated when Leonard himself, whose daughter Leonora is the other part of this arrangement, comes complaining to Leander’s father that Leonora is in love with someone she met at the masquerade the previous night. In the third act, all is resolved when the various parties slip off to the night's masquerade, where all is revealed to everyone's mutual satisfaction.

Jens Søndergaard started his musical career with the Herning Boys Choir in Denmark. He graduated in 2003 from the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen, and debuted in 2005 at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. From 2004-2007 he sang at Das Deutsche National Theater in Weimar, where he specialized in Mozart, singing Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. He performed Elviro in Handel's Xerxes and Aslask in Åm's The Ice Castle at the Royal Opera in Copenhagen.

In 2014, he won the Ålborg Operapris (Aalborg Opera Prize).

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Theo Hoffman in Hunky Handel's Messiah for Holidays; Eclectic Concert in L.A.

Jonathan Blalock, Theo Hoffman, Robert Moody & Daniel Moody (Counterclockwise top left)
The Winston-Salem Symphony has assembled a hunky Handel's Messiah for the holidays featuring barihunk Theo Hoffman, tenor Jonathan Blalock, countertenor Daniel Moody, conductor Robert Moody and soprano Margaret Carpenter-Haigh.

There will be performances on December 13 and 14 at the Centenary United Methodist Church. Tickets are available online.

On the opposite coast, Hoffman joins composer/conductor Matthew Aucoin for a concert on November 27th called "The Song: From Schubert to Springsteen," featuring music from Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler, Francis Poulenc, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Drake and Radiohead. The concert will take place after the performance of Philip Glass' Akhnaten and is free to attendees. Non-attendees can purchase tickets for $5.

Hoffman has joined the Los Anegles Opera's Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for the 2016-17 season. He will sing a number of roles with the company, including Hermann in Les Contes d'Hoffmann (no relation), the Second Nazarene in Richard Strauss' Salome, First Editor in Bernstein's Wonderful Town and Il medico in Verdi's Macbeth with fellow barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Banquo.

Theo Hoffman sings Marc Blitzstein's "Stay in My Arms":
 
Hoffman completed his Bachelor of Music degree at The Juilliard School, where he was the winner of the 2015 Juilliard Vocal Arts Honors Recital and was presented in recital at Alice Tully Hall. Additionally at Juilliard, he performed Bob in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, the Count in Le nozze di Figaro, Lunardo in Le donne curiose, and covered Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia. He made his professional debut with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Thierry in Dialogues des carmélites. 

Hoffman made his first public appearance on the Metropolitan Opera stage in March as a Grand Finalist in the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions after winning in the Eastern Region.

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Iurii Samoilov performs first ever Billy Budd in Moscow


Iurii Samoilov discussing Billy Budd at a recent press conference
Barihunk Iurii Samoilov made history on November 25th, when he became the first singer to perform the title role in Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd at Russia's Bolshoi Theatre. Samoilov, who is on the roster of Oper Frankfurt and appeared in last year's Barihunks calendar, joins an all-star cast that will perform again on November 27 and 29, and December 1.

The Bolshoi performance is a co-production with the English National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin and it features a number of other barihunks, including Gidon Saks as the evil John Claggart, Bogdan Volkov as A Novice and Aleksandr Utkin as Arthur Jones.

Billy Budd had its world premier at London’s Royal Opera House on December 1, 1951 conducted by the composer with the role of Captain Vere sung by Britten’s partner Peter Pears. In 1966, in preparation for a television broadcast, Britten cut the score from four acts to two with a prologue and epilogue, which has become the standard version for the opera.

Iurii Samoilov sings Rachmaninov's "Don't sing to me beauty":

The first production of Billy Budd in Russia occurred 100 years after the birth of Britten at St. Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theatre in 2013. Billy Budd received its United States premiere in 1952 at the Indiana University Opera Company with Jack Gillaspy in the title role.

Britten originally intended the title role for Sir Geraint Evans, but he felt that the role sat to high for his voice, so he switched to the role of Mr. Flint. Britten then opted for barihunk Theodor Uppman to replace Evans in the title role. The performance launched Uppman's international career and he went on to become one of the definitive Billy Budd's off all-time. Uppman sang in an acclaimed performance in 1970 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which included Sir Geraint Evans as Claggart and Richard Lewis as Vere.

Bogdan Volkov, Gidon Saks and Aleksandr Utkin (L-R)
A number of famous barihunks have sung the role of Billy Budd, who many believe was secretly desired by the evil Claggart. Famous barihunk Billy Budd's include John Chest, Simon Keenlyside, Richard Stilwell, Nathan Gunn, Rod Gilfry, Bo Skovhus, Thomas Hampson, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Peter Mattei, Lauri Vasar, Craig Verm, Lucas Meachem, Jacques Imbrailo, Daniel Belcher and Liam Bonner.

Other upcoming performance of Billy Budd include Jacques Imbrailo at the Teatro Real in Madrid opening on January 31 and John Chest reprising his stunning debut in the role at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on May 24 (and Team Barihunks will be in the house!).

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Celebrating our favorite scenes with food and wine


We figured that since it's Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), and most people are sitting down for a big sumptuous feast, that it was a great opportunity to look at some of the best scenes in opera involving food. Giuseppe Verdi was known for using food as a plot device in many of his operas, which makes sense as eating and drinking is such a key part of everyday life and certainly can help define a character.

A number of operas and operettas feature drinking songs as part of their plot, including Bizet's Carmen, Berliozs La Damnation de Faust, Mozart's Don Giovanni, Verdi's La traviata, Smetena's The Bartered Bride, Verdi's Otello, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Rombergs The Student Prince and, of course, Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus.

Here are look at some of our favorite operas features food and drink (and it's by no means an exhaustive list!)

The performance that inspired Barihunks: Mariusz Kwiecien in SF Opera's Don Giovanni
The creation of the Barihunks blog was inspired after seeing Mariusz Kwiecien shirtless on a dinner table at the San Francisco Opera in Mozart's Don Giovanni. The cast also included fellow barihunk Luca Pisaroni as Masetto and hunkentenor Charles Castronovo as Don Ottavio. A true FEAST for the eyes. Don Giovanni appears to have an appetite for everything sumptuous and tasty in life: wine, women and food. Leporello even gets in the action, as he pours out a fine Marzemino wine from northern Italy for Don Giovanni, then nibbles at a piece of pheasant ("Versa il vino! Eccellente Marzimino!").

In Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring the children sing with glee in Act 2 about the May Day feast:  "Jelly!...Pink blancmange!...Seedy cake! Seedy cake! (with icing on)...Treacle tart!...  Sausagey rolls!...Trifle in a great big bowl!...Chicken and ham!...Cheesy straws!...Marzipan!" Asked to make a speech, Albert is tongue-tied and becomes an object of pity at the feast in his honor, but after draining his lemonade glass (satirically underlined with a Tristan chord, alluding to the love potion in that opera) and having a fit of hiccups he manages a few "hip-hip, hurrahs."

Simon Keenlyside sings Hamlet's Drinking Song:


In Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet the title character sings the famous drinking song Ò vin dissipe la tristesse. In the scene, Hamlet meets up with a troupe of actors who will perform a play for the court. With them, he sings a drinking song in which he calls for wine and laughter to dispel his sadness.

One of the most famous drinking songs is Esacamillo's Votre toast from Bizet's Carmen.  In the scene, the toréador enters a tavern and sings an ode to bullfighting, the roaring crowds and the glory that comes with victory. 

In Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore the townspeople turn out for a prenuptial feast in anticipation of Adina and Belcore's wedding. In the scene, Dulcamara, who is selling the love elixir (which is actually wine) sings, “Weddings are all very nice. But what I like best about them is the pleasant sight of the banquet.”

Duncan Rock and Corinne Winters in ENO's La bohème (© Tristram Kenton)
Is there a more lavish and musically satisfying scene involving food and drink that Act 2 of Puccini’s La bohème set in the Cafe Momus in Paris? In the scene, Schaunard calls for Rhine wine, roast venison, custard and dressed lobster for his fellow Bohemians at the Café Momus. The scene is rich with Parisian street food: oranges, dates, hot chestnuts, nougat, whipped cream, candies, fruit tarts, coconut milk, carrots, trout and plums from Tours.

In Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel the title characters almost become the feast,
as the witch tries to fatten them up to become the meal itself.

James Maddelena as Richard Nixon
In more modern times, the most famous dinner scene is probably at the end of Act 1 of John Adams' Nixon in China.  In the scene, President Nixon sings, “The world watches and listens, we must seize the hour”  as he toasts his host Prime Minister Chou En-Lai before a banquet. According to the Nixon Foundationm the official menu included “spongy bamboo shoots and egg-white consommé, shark’s fin in three shreds, fried and stewed prawns, mushrooms and mustard green and steamed chicken with coconut, almond junket, pastries, fruits.”

As mentioned early, no composer featured food and drink more prominently than Giuseppe Verdi. Few people have never heard the famous duet with chorus Libiamo ne' lieti calici from La traviata. The lively song in Act 1 encourages the drinking of wine or other alcoholic beverages, which make "kisses warmer."

One can hardly think of food without thinking of Falstaff, who is one of the great operatic eaters and drinkers. His bill at the Garter Inn, as he recounts at the opera’s opening, is for 6 chickens, 3 turkeys, 2 pheasants, 1 anchovy and 30 bottles of sherry.

 Thomas Hampson and Paoletta Marrocu in the banquet scene in Macbeth:

In Act 2 of Macbeth, Verdi calls for a “sumptuously prepared feast” for the banquet scene in which Banquo’s ghost appears to the title character. Lady Macbeth sings a drinking song before this dramatic moment, in which she encourages the guests to drink as much as possible. Not a bad idea considering what happens next!

In Verdi’s lesser known early opera Un giorno di regno, the composer uses appetite as a dramatic device to create tension, as people await for a banquet that never takes place.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

American barihunk Sean Michael Plumb joins Bavarian State Opera

Sean Michael Plumb (Karli Cadel Photography)
American barihunk Sean Michael Plumb has joined the ensemble at the Bavarian State Opera, where he will kick off his fest contract as the Porter in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk. Fellow barihunk Alexander Tsymbalyuk will also perform in the production as the Police Inspector and the Old Convict. 

This season Sean Michael Plumb will go on to perform a variety of roles with the company, including Servitore and Sicario in Verdi's Macbeth opposite fellow barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Morales in Bizet's Carmen, Olav Bjaaland in Srnka's South Pole, Harlekin in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with Karita Mattila in the title role, Yamadori in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola.

Sean Michael Plumb sings Rene Orth's Empty the House:

Last summer, he was part of the Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project. Prior to that, he racked up a number of impressive wins at vocal competitions, including the Grand Prize at the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Top Prize at the 2016 Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, a 2016 Shoshana Foundation Grant, the 2015 Sullivan Foundation Award from The Sullivan Foundation, Top Prize at the 2015 Opera Index Competition, a 2015 Sara Tucker Grant from The Richard Tucker Foundation, First Prize at the 2015 Gerda Lissner Liederkranz Competition, and the 2015 Theodor Uppman Prize from the George London Foundation.
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Malte Roesner

David Jones to reprise retelling of Schumann song cycles

David Jones (Photo left: Alejandro Tamagno)
British barihunk David Jones is reprising his performance of "Unknowing," a turbulent love tale told through the interweaving of two Schumann song cycles: Dichterliebe and Frauenliebe und Leben. He originally performed the piece with Teatime Opera at Cambridge, but on November 29 and December 3, he'll perform the piece with soprano Christine Cunnold at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London.

Olivier-Award winning libretti translator and composer David Parry created the new English translation of Schumann's most well known song cycles.

David Jones performs The Salley Gardens:

Jones studied at Oxford University and Trinity Laban and was prizewinner in the 2015 AESS Patricia Routledge English Song Competition. He enjoys a fruitful ongoing collaboration with Cantata Dramatica, with whom he has given the first performances of four substantial works, most recently Nick Bîcat’s Red Dragon, White Dragon.

Operatic roles have included Jesus in Jonathan Harvey's Passion and Resurrection  at the Voices of London Festival, Edward VIII in the premiere of Josh Spear's That Woman at the Tête-à-Tête Festival, Pritschitsch in Lehar's The Merry Widow with Opera Danube, Jamie in the world premiere of The Sleeper with the Welsh National Youth Opera and Ko-Ko in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado with Co-Opera Co.

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Malte Roesner

Bear-a-hunk Johan Reuter buffs up for Flying Dutchman

Johan Reuter hits the gym (and a faux magazine cover from the production)
Johan Reuter, who last appeared on this site shirtless in Carl Nielsen's Saul and David, has been buffing up for his performance as the Flying Dutchman at the Finnish National Opera. The opera opened this week and continues through December 30 with two cast. Reuter has sung the Dutchman in Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Madrid and Copenhagen

Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Der fliegende Holländer, Richard Wagner’s first masterpiece, is the story of the Dutchman, a captain cursed to sail the seas of the world forever; he is only allowed to make landfall once every seven years. This curse can only be broken by the love of a faithful woman.

The Finnish National Opera has enlisted director Kasper Holten for their production, which sets the opera in an urban environment and the tempestuous world of the international art trade. In this production, the Dutchman is a famous Dutch artist who travels the world. The sea, storms and ships are all evoked in the production, but never present.

Johan Reuter sings Die frist ist um from Der fliegende Holländer:

Barihunk (bear-a-hunk) Johan Reuter studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the Academy of the Royal Theatre in his hometown of Copenhagen. Since 1996 he has been a soloist at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. Last season, in addition to Saul and David,  he performed in Oscar nominee Atom Agoyan's production of Wagner's Die Walküre in Toronto and a new co-production of Alban Berg's Lulu by artist William Kentridge in Amsterdam and the Metropolitan Opera.

In 2017, Reuter will make two role debuts. On January 21, he debuts in a new production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Royal Danish Opera. In May, he'll make his role debut in Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers at the Theater an den Wien.

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Malte Roesner

Monday, November 14, 2016

Barihunk duo in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Thomas Meglioranza and Jeremy Ayres Fisher
Odyssey Opera and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project will present Lowell Liebermann's The Picture of Dorian Gray in a semi-staged version. The opera will feature Thomas Meglioranza in the role of Lord Henry Wotton and Jeremy Ayres Fisher in the small role of the Gamekeeper. Lord Wotton is a witty and urbane nobleman, who critcizes the moralism and hypocrisy of Victorian socitey. His philosophy of New Hedonism plays a big part in Dorian Gray's development.

The opera is one of two by Liebermann and is based on Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. It had its premiere at the Monte Carlo Opera in 1996 in a co-production with Opera Pacific, but the American premiere was canceled due to company's financial problems. The subsequent American premiere took place on February 5, 1999 at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Trailer for Dorian Gray at Odyssey Opera:

The story revolves around the wealthy and attractive Dorian Gray, who has gained immortality by having his soul trapped within a painting. He is well known for his extravagance and debauchery. The picture of Dorian Gray not only took on the ravages of Dorian’s age, but also became the physical manifestation of his evil deeds - a heinous portrait of his true self.

The performance is on Friday, November 18, 2016 at Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory and will include a pre-concert talk with Lowell Liebermann one hour prior to concert. Tickets are available online.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Introducing Basque Barihunk Vincent Simonet

Vincent Simonet (Photos: JF l'Oiseleur des Longchamps)

Hunkentenor turned barihunk Vincent Simonet is a native of Bayonne in the Basque region of France. He is a decendent of the famous 19th century baritone Paul Barroilhet (aka Paolo Barroilhet), whose bust still graces the Opera Garnier in Paris. Barroilhet created a number of Donizetti roles, including Eustachio de Saint-Pierre in L'assedio di Calais, Lord Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux, Alfonso XI of Castile in La favorite and Camoëns in Dom Sebastien

This summer at the Centre Européen de Musique, Simonet performed Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola coached by the great Spanish mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza. He has also been heard in Joseph Haydn's Isola Disabitata in Saint-Denis, as Fritz in Jacques Offenbach's La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein at the OPERACADEMY in Paris and in Rekviem 3, which staged Verdi's Requiem in an adaptation of Josef Bor's novel The Terezín Requiem at the Opera de Paris Bastille Amphitheater. 

Vincent Simonet (Photos: Bruno Melegari)
Simonet 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 was a benefit for the Pediatric Immuno-Hematology Department at the Hôpital Necker de Paris.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Barihunks compete in "Battle for the BariThrone"

Joe Haddow, Jamie Henare, Will King & William McElwee (counterclockwise top left)
Four barihunks will compete on November 16th in the first annual Battle for the Barithrone at St Andrew's on The Terrace in Wellington, New Zealand. The lunchtime concert and competition will include Joe Haddow, Jamie Henare, Will King and William McElwee singing sprituals, comic opera, and operatic arias by Verdi and Mozart.

The promo for the event states: "
Since King Christian I abdicated his seat as the finest young baritone in Wellington, there has been no order in the Barikingdom! Where will the public look to find the Baritone Claw? Who will rise? Will the dark arts of the Bass-Barihorde prevail or will one of the true-hearted baritones ascend to the seat of Bariking?
British born Joe Haddow is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance at the New Zealand School of Music. He began his musical studies playing the saxophone at Aotea College when he decided to join a barbershop chorus, which prompted his interest in singing. He was the winner of the Robin Dumbell Memorial Trophy for young Aria entrant at the Wellington Regional Vocal Competitions.

Jamie Henare is a Graduate of The New Zealand School of Music, finishing up his post graduate diploma at the start of 2015.  He has been involved in music from an early age, playing guitar with various bands and singing barbershop. He sang the role of King Stanislaus in the Orpheus Choir’s 2012 production of Bernstein's Candide, Giovanni in The New Zealand School of Music's 2013 production of Verdi's early opera Il Corsaro and Leporello in Eternity Opera’s production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. In 2015, he won the New Zealand singing school Opera Australia award.

Auckland native Will King began singing as a boy soprano, getting his initial training with the Auckland Boys Choir and King’s School Chapel Choir. He realized his true passion for music after joining the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir in 2011. He is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Music in Classical Performance Voice at Victoria University of Wellington. He made his professional debut as Lorenzo in the Days Bay production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi. With The New Zealand School of Music, he has performed in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, Mr Gedge in Britten's Albert Herring and Bartolo in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. 

Wellington native William McElwee grew up playing the trumpet and piano, and also singing in his local church children’s choir. He has performed with numerous choirs, including the  Orpheus Choir, the Cathedral of St Paul’s Choir, Tudor Consort, and the St Mary of the Angel’s Choir. He has also played the guitar and bass guitar in local rock and rap bands. His interest in the guitar led him to take up the renaissance lute, playing with Straynge Discorde, New Zealand’s lute quartet, and other early music ensembles. He has a Post Graduate Diploma in Classical Voice from the New Zealand School of Music. He has appeared in The New Zealand School of Music's productions of Verdi's Il Corsaro and Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
He has been a member of the New Zealand Opera Chorus since 2013. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Latin and English Language.

Additional information about the Battle for the BariThrone is available on their Facebook event page. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Introducing Salomón Zulic del Canto; Performing in double-bill in Coburg

Salomón Zulic del Canto in Riders to the Sea
Chilean barihunk Salomón Zulic del Canto is new to this site. He came to our attention as part of a double bill at the Coburg Landestheater where he will sing Aeneas in Purcell's Dido & Aeneas and Bartley in Ralph Vaughan Williams Riders to the Sea.  Performances are on November 17 and December 2 and tickets and cast information is available online.

Composed in 1927 but not premiered until December 1937, Riders to the Sea is based almost verbatim on J.M. Synge’s early twentieth­century drama of the same name. Music of eerie, elegiac beauty illuminates the theme of elemental and watery death as experienced by the Aran Islanders, west of Galway.

Salomón Zulic del Canto sings the role of Bartley, the youngest of Maurya's six sons, who becomes the sole support of the household after her other sons are lost at sea. He earns income by riding horses into the sea to the steamer anchored far offshore, so that they can be sold at the mainland fair. Preoccupied with practical exigencies, he ignores his mother’s request that he not go to sea. He nevertheless asks God’s blessing on the family and rides off on the red mare, leading the pony.

His mother foretells his death and omits the giving of a blessing to him, an omission considered bad luck. When his mother subsequently stands on the path trying in vain to say the blessing, he gives her his blessing. Bartley is knocked into the sea by his pony, becoming the sixth and final son of Maurya's to die at sea.

Salomón Zulic del Canto in Dido & Aeneas
Purcell's Dido & Aeneas is based on Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid. It recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her. A monumental work in Baroque opera, Dido & Aeneas is remembered as one of Purcell's foremost theatrical works.

Salomón Zulic del Canto joined the ensemble at the Landestheater Coburg this season after two years as a member of the Thüringer Opera Studio. He studied at the Konservatorium der Universidad de Chile and continued his studies at the Musikhochschule Lübeck. As a student, he performed Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Almaviva in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème. He was a finalist in the “Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldy Hochschulwettbewerb" 2014 in Berlin.

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Glen Seven Allen & Edwin Crossley-Mercer