Thursday, October 19, 2017

Barihunk Paweł Konik makes role debut as Mercutio

Paweł Konik as Mercutio (left)
Barihunk Paweł Konik , who we introduced back in May when he was singing a staged version of Monteverdi's Madrigals at the Dutch National Opera, is now making his role debut as Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Silesian Opera House in Bytom, Poland. Opening night is already sold out, but tickets are still available for October 29th!

In 1867, Charles Gounod followed up his successful adaptation of Goethe's Faust into an opera with an adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Not wanting to mess with success, he turned to the same librettists that he used for Faust, Jules Barbier and Michel Carre. The duo remained relatively true to the original play by Shakespeare, although the librettists cut a few scenes that didn't deal directly with the two lovers. They also changed the ending, allowing Romeo just enough life to sing a duet before he dies and Juliet stabs herself.  

Konik is a member of the Opera Academy at the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. 

You can hear him sing "C'est Vers Ton Amour..." from Massenet's Don Quichotte by clicking HERE.

On December 9 and 10, he'll be the baritone soloist in Handel's Messiah at the Annum Festival in Poland.  

The Limited Edition Barihunks Photo Book
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Barihunk duo in Edmonton Opera revival of Les Feluettes

Zachary Read and Jean-Michel Richer
Australian composer Kevin March and Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard's opera Les Feluettes (Lilies), which had its world premiere last year at Opéra de Montréal, followed by a revival at Pacific Opera Victoria, will now be performed at the Edmonton Opera. It is the first overtly gay-themed opera that the company has presented. Edmonton Opera will use the same designs and staging that were used in Montreal and Victoria.

Dominique Côté
The opera is based on the play, which tells the story of the confession of an aging prisoner to a bishop. Through the confession we learn that the bishop and the prisoner were part of a gay love triangle and that the bishop was responsible for the death of a young man many years ago. The play was was made into a film called Lilies, which was directed by John Greyson. All of the roles in the opera, including the female roles of La Comtesse Marie-Laure de Tilly and Mademoiselle Lydie-Anne de Rozier, are sung by men as the story is told by actors in an all-male prison.

 Zachary Read and Jean-Michel Richer discuss the opera Les Feluettes:

The term Feluette is a Quebec expression with its root in the word fluet, (thin, frail in appearance) which, in common parlance of the time, referred to men who were weak, frail, or effeminate.

Edmonton Opera will present the piece from October 21-27 with barihunk Zachary Read as Young Simon and Jean-Michel Richer returning as the Count Vallier de Tilly. Dominique Côté , who we introduced to readers last year will sing the Countess Marie-Laure de Tilly.  Performances are at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton on October 21, 24 and 27. The opera is sung in French with English supertitles. Tickets are available online.


Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dmitri Hvorostovsky!!!

Dmitri Hvorostovsky
There have been few baritones as compelling on stage as Dmitri Hvorostovsky and only a few in history who have matched the sexy Siberian's box office draw. His name is synonymous with "legato" and perhaps only Montserrat Caballe or Zinka Milanov could sing with such glorious breath control and float silken sounds into the theater. Along with Mariusz Kwiecien, he was one of the original inspirations for the Barihunks blog that you're reading!

He was born on October 16, 1962 and his 55th birthday this year has added significance, as he battles a brain tumor, and has been the unfortunate victim of inaccurate Russian news accounts this month reporting that he had died. Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with the brain tumor in the summer of 2015 and received treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. He subsequently cancelled concerts in Kaliningrad, Minsk, the Georges Enesco Festival, Tanglewood and Vienna, as well as the Met's performance of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. He made a brief return for a concert in Toronto and appeared at the Met Gala.



On October 12, 2015, Russian president Vladimir Putin awarded Hvorostovsky the Order of Alexander Nevsky, one of the country's highest honors.  Putin followed that honor up last month by presenting the singer with the prestigious Order of Merit for the Fatherland of the IV degree.

We still remember when Hvorostovsky won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 1989 in a showdown with Bryn Terfel. The Siberian barihunk went on to win the competition and, of course, both men have gone on to sensational international careers. Hvorostovsky sangs two pieces from Verdi, Rodrigo's aria "O Carlo, ascolta" from Don Carlo and "Eri tu che macchiavi" from Un ballo in maschera, "Ja vas lyublyu" from Tchikovsky's Queen of Spades. The late, great soprano Elizabeth Soderström, who was one of the judges in 1989, famously marked a series of exclamation marks on her scorecard as she listened to Hvorostovsky sing. The music world was instantly abuzz with stories about a baritone who looked as beautiful as he sounded.


His career has taken him to all the world’s major opera houses and renowned international festivals, including Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Salzburg Festival, La Scala Milan, Vienna State Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera.

His extensive discography includes 30 recitals, numerous complete operas on CD and DVD, and the award-winning film "Don Giovanni Unmasked" where he performed the dual roles of Don Giovanni and Leporello. On November 10th, he released his first recording of Verdi's Rigoletto, where he sings the title role.

We are officially declaring October 16th forevermore as "Dmitri Hvorostovsky Day."

Malte Roesner from the 2018 Barihunks Calendar and Photo Book
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Honolulu TV station features "Barihunks" blog and trio of singers

Darren Stokes discussing Barihunks on KITV television
KITV television in Honolulu, Hawaii featured Barihunks on their news yesterday. The feature not only highlighted our ten years in the opera blogosphere, but was a promotion for Hawaii Opera Theatre's current production of Bizet's Carmen, which features three barihunks. We recently ran a post about the production. You can watch the entire segment HERE.

Carmen will feature Darren Stokes singing the role of Escamillo, joined by fellow barihunks Matthew Treviño as Zuniga and Brian James Myer as El Dancaïro. Stokes discusses the need to hit the gym to keep in shape for the physicality of the role, while Treviño talks about spikes to his website when he's featured on the site, and Myer talks about the need for singers to be promoted.

The cast for Carmen also includes Kate Aldrich in the title role, Kip Wilborn as Don José and the stunning Talise Trevigne as Micaëla. There are remaining performances on October 15 and 17, and tickets are available online.  

Derek Chester and Marco Vassalli from the 2018 Barihunks Calendar
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thomas Weinhappel featured on Austrian television

Thomas Weinhappel from Boy's Choir to Barihunks Calendar model
Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel is a new and welcome addition to our Barihunks calendar for 2018 (and he's also featured in our new Barihunks photo book). He provided us some stunning photos shot with a horse, which appear in the calendar and book.

Thomas Weinhappel feature on Austrian television:

He was also recently featured on Austrian television, tracing his career from the Vienna Boy's Choir to winning a prestigious European opera award for his portrayal in the title role of Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet in Ostrava. The Thalia Award goes to the"Best Opera Singer" for a performance at a Czech opera company. Judges praised him for "...finding the detailed meanings of words and music, and their allusions to express the complexity of the character the young man crushed by dark family relations."

He is currently performing as the Prince in Paul Lincke's Frau Luna at the Niederösterreich Operettenfestival, which runs through October 29th. He returns to the role of Hamlet in Ostrava on November 4th. 
Thomas Weinhappel and Sam Roberts-Smith from the Barihunks calendar
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

German Barihunk Dominik Köninger: Interview and live broadcast

Dominik Köninger (foreground) and Günter Papendell (Photo: Monika Rittershaus)
Classical music writer Catherine Kustanczy, a.k.a. The Opera Queen, interviewed barihunk Dominik Köninger and asked him about being on Barihunks. He responded, "This is really flattering, I have to say.  I was and am always flattered when I read things about me. Those guys are ripped!" You can read the entire interview HERE.

You can also watch him in a live stream of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande from the Komische Oper on OperaVision.eu on Sunday, October 15th at 6:00 PM CET/1 PM EST/10 AM PST. If you can't watch it live, the performance will be available until April 14th. Köninger will sing Pelleas and fellow barihunk Günter Papendell will sing Golaud.

Zachary Gordin and Gianluca Margheri
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Chan Hee Cho and Johannes Kammler take top prizes at Neue Stimmen

Chan Hee Cho at Neue Stimmen
South Korean bass Chan Hee Cho took the top prize for men at the Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition, delivering a powerful rendition of Banquo's aria from Verdi's Macbeth "Come dal ciel precipita." He followed this up with a thunderous performance of "La calunnia" from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia. 

Chan Hee Cho studied at Hanyang University College of Music in Seoul and won first prize at both the 2016 Gian Battista Viotti International Music Competition in Italy and at the 2015 Seoul Philharmonic Vocal Competition. In 2015,  he made his professional debut at the Seongnam Arts Center opera house in the title role of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

Second place went to German baritone Johannes Kammler, who sang "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and "Mein Sehnen, mein Wähnen" from Korngold's Die tote Stadt

Johannes Kammler at Neue Stimmen
Kammler will be an ensemble member at the Bavarian State Opera for the 2017-18 season where he will perform Le Dancaïre in Carmen, Fiorello in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos and Count Dominik in Arabella. He made his debut at the Verbier Festival in 2015 as Marcello in Puccini's La bohème.

Third place went to Chinese tenor Mingjie Lei.

For the women, mezzo-soprano Svetlina Stoyanova took the top prize, as second place went to mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo, and third place went to mezzo-soprano Zlata Khershberg.

In 2009, barihunk Iurii Samilov took top honors at the young age of 21. He has been a member of the ensemble at the Frankfurt Opera since 2014.

Derek Chester and Marco Vassalli

Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think! 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Romain Dayez in French operetta rarity

Romain Dayez
French barihunk Romain Dayez will sing Gérard Cardoval in Raoul Moretti's rarely performed operetta Un Soir de Réveillon. The piece was originally performed on stage of the Moulin de la Galette in Paris for broadcast on French television. The piece is performed in 10 vignettes written by Paul Armont et Marcel Gerbidon.

The story revolves around Viviane, the mistress of a wealthy Englishman named Bob, who is hosting a dinner a dinner party. Among the guests is Dayez's character Gérard Cardoval, a cheerful young man who has just inherited a huge sum of money and plans on spending it on beautiful women. He also has no plans to ever marry any of them. That same evening, Monique Lepage, a smart young woman, comes to visit her old friend Viviane and hatched a plot to be disguised as a young woman from the country.

There will be two performances at the Cabaret La Nouvelle Eve between November 6-December 26. Tickets are available online.  


Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Anthony Reed launches "My BASSic LIfe"

Anthony Reed
Bass-barihunk Anthony Reed, who wrapped up his successful Opera Pop-Up Operatronica last night, has launched his own YouTube channel called My BASSic Life. He also just finished two runs at the San Francisco Opera where he sang Orest's tutor in Richard Strauss' Elektra and is currently singing Doctor Grenvil in Verdi's La traviata, which runs through October 17th.


My BASSic Life runs every Tuesday and he's already ran episodes where you can watch him roller blading in Golden Gate Park, getting his costume fitting, hiking shirtless in Yosemite, seeking out a translation of Turandot, getting a haircut in Philly and even singing to deer (as well as just singing -both pop and opera!). 

Upcoming performances include Haydn's Creation with the Nashville Symphony on November 3rd and 4th, as well as the Adler Gala Concert at San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House on December 8th. Tickets for the Gala are available online.

A page from the Barihunks Photo Book
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Douglas Williams makes company debut with Opera Atelier

Doug Williams
Opera Atelier will open their new season on October 26 with barihunk Douglas Williams making his company debut in the title role of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. The opera will also feature two other singers who have appeared on our site, Olivier Laquerre as Antonio and Stephen Hegedus as Count Almaviva. The remainder of the cast includes Mireille Asselin as Susanna, Peggy Kriha Dye as Countess Almaviva, Mireille Lebel as Cherubino, Laura Pudwell as Marcellina, Gustav Andreassen as Bartolo), Christopher Enns as Basilio/Don Curzio,  and Grace Lee as Barbarina.

Opera Atelier’s production of The Marriage of Figaro will be sung in the famous English translation by American playwright Jeremy Sams.

Doug Williams sings "Non più andrai" from Marriage of Figaro:


Stephen Hegedus (photo: David Cooper) and Olivier Laquerre (photo: Bruce Zinger)
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster. $15 Operatix tickets may be purchased by patrons aged 15-30 in person at the Elgin Theatre Box Office or online with the code OPERATIX. Performances run through November 4th.

Opera Atelier will host a special Operatix Evening on Friday, November 3rd, featuring a post-performance party with the artists for ticket-holders age 30 and under.

Derek Chester and Marco Vassalli from the 2018 Barihunks Photo Book
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reports of Dmitri Hvorostovsky's death (hopefully) unfounded

An erroneous headline reporting Hvorostovsky's death in the Russian media
Pravda, the official Russian newspaper, reported that Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorosotovsky had died earlier today. The story was also reported by Echo of Russia radio, but was quickly denied by Mark Hildrew, executive director of the Askonas Holt arts management company who handles the singer. 

Social media was quickly flooded with condolences, only to be followed by messages of mass confusion. 

UPDATE: The Pravda website subsequently issued an apology for erroneously reported substantiated reports of the singer's death. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: GIUSEPPE VERDI October 9, 1813 - January 27, 1901

Giuseppe Verdi
Today is composer Giuseppe Verdi's birthday (although some list it as October 10th). His characters have been a treasure trove for us at Barihunks, with a number of roles becoming classic barihunk roles, like Attila, Ezio, Iago, Scarpia, Rodrigo, Giorgio Germont and Ford. Some of the great Verdi baritones who have been on this site include Ettore Bastianini, Titta Ruffo, Sherrill Milnes, Leonard Warren, Ferruccio Furlanetto and Dimitri Hvorostovsky.

Since his actual birth date is in dispute, we're celebrating his birthday for 48 hours! 

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was born in Roncole in the former duchy of Parma, he first studied music in the neighboring town of Busseto. Then, upon being rejected in 1832, because of his age, by the Milan Conservatory, he became a pupil of the Milanese composer Vincenzo Lavigna. He returned to Busseto in 1833 as conductor of the Philharmonic Society.

Samuel Ramey in the Attila-Ezio duet from San Francisco Opera:

At the age of 25 Verdi again went to Milan. His first opera, Oberto, was produced at La Scala with some success in 1839. His next work, the comic opera Un giorno di regno (King for a Day, 1840), was a failure, and Verdi, lamenting also the recent deaths of his wife and two children, decided to give up composing. After more than a year, however, the director of La Scala succeeded in inducing him to write Nabucco (1842). The opera created a sensation; its subject matter dealt with the Babylonian captivity of the Jews, and the Italian public regarded it as a symbol of the struggle against Austrian rule in northern Italy. I Lombardi (1843) and Ernani (1844), both great successes, followed, but of the next ten productions only Macbeth (1847) and Luisa Miller (1849) have survived in the permanent operatic repertory. Verdi's three following works, Rigoletto (1851), Il Trovatore (1853), and La Traviata (1853), brought him international fame and remain among the most popular of all operas.

Operas written in the middle of Verdi's career, including Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball, 1859), La forza del destino (The Force of Destiny, 1862), and Don Carlo (1867), exhibit a greater mastery of musical characterization and a greater emphasis on the role of the orchestra than his earlier works. Aïda (1871), also of this period and probably Verdi's most popular opera, was commissioned by the khedive of Egypt to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal; it was first performed in Cairo. Three years later, Verdi composed his most important non-operatic work, the Requiem Mass in memory of the Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni. Verdi's other non-operatic compositions include the dramatic cantata Inno delle nazioni (Hymn of the Nations, 1862) and the String Quartet in E minor (1873).

Ettore Bastianini sings "Di Provenza" from La traviata:

In his 70s, Verdi produced the supreme expression of his genius, Otello (1887), composed to a libretto skillfully adapted by the Italian composer and librettist Arrigo Boito from the Shakespearean tragedy Othello. This was followed by Verdi's last opera, Falstaff (1893), also adapted by Boito from Shakespeare, and generally considered one of the greatest of all comic operas.

In general, Verdi's works are most noted for their emotional intensity, tuneful melodies, and dramatic characterizations. He transformed the Italian opera, with its traditional set pieces, old-fashioned librettos, and emphasis on vocal displays, into a unified musical and dramatic entity. His operas are among those most frequently produced in the world today. 


Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Introducing Ilya Kutyukhin: Guglielmo in Glyndebourne's Cosi

Ilya Kutyukhin with Rachel Kelly and Kirsten MacKinnon
When we noticed Ilya Kutyukhin as Guglielmo in Glyndebourne's current run of Mozart's Così fan tutte, we couldn't believe that he'd never appeared on our site. The performances are his debut with the company.

Born in Pyatigorsk, Russia, Kutyukhin is currently a member of the Young Singers Project at The Salzburg Festival. From 2014 to June of this year, he was a member of the Young Artist Program at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. 

During the 2015-16 season, he made his Bolshoi Theatre debut as Moralès in Bizet's Carmen and subsequently appeared as Shchelkalov in Mussorsky's Boris Godunov.

He'll be touring Così fan tutte through November 30th, with stops in Lewes, Surrey, Norwich, Woking, Milton Keynes and Plymouth. He's joined in the cast by Bogdan Volkov as Ferrando, José Fardilha as Don Alfonso, Kirsten MacKinnon as Fiordiligi, Rachel Kelly as Dorabella and Ana Quintans as Despina. Tickets are available online.   

The 2018 Barihunks Calendar
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!

Barihunk saves the day at Utah Opera

Michael Adams and John Allen Nelson
Barihunk John Allen Nelson saved opening night of the Utah Opera's production of Puccini's La bohème on October 7th.

On Friday night he was summoned from Boston to fly 3/4 of the way across the country from Boston to Salt Lake City to cover for fellow barihunk Michael Adams, who wasn't feeling well. Showing up at the theater with little rest, he managed to get a quick run through with conductor Robert Tweten and was looking at his music when he was summoned to the stage midway through Act 1.

Nelson sang the remainder of the opera from the pit, saving the company from having to perform the operatic classic without a full-voiced Marcello. 

Additional performance are on October 9, 11, 13 and 15. No word on whether Adams or Nelson will sing the remainder of the run. Tickets are available online.

Malte Roesner from the 2018 Barihunks calendar and photo book
Our 2018 Barihunks Calendar, which includes 20 of opera's sexiest men is now available for purchase HERE. In response to reader demand, we've also added a Barihunks Photo Book this year, which includes additional photos that don't appear in the calendar. You can purchase that HERE. The New Year is approaching faster than you think!