Thursday, August 17, 2017

Barihunk Benjamin Appl nominated for Gramophone Best Solo Vocalist award

Benjamin Appl's Heimat
The brilliant young recitalist Benjamin Appl has been nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award as best Solo Vocalist for his album Heimat with accompanist James Bailieu. The recording features music by Brahms, Britten, Grieg, Ireland, Poulenc, Reger, Schubert, Adolf and Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Warlock and Wolf.

Other nominees in the category include Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles for Krenek's Reisebuch aus den österrichischen Alpen and Matthias Goerne and Christoph Eschenbach for Brahms' Vier ernste Gesänge.

The German barihunk was a BBC New Generation Artist and an ECHO Rising Star artist for the 2015/16 season, appearing in recital at major European venues. He became an exclusive SONY Classical recording artist in May 2016 and won the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award in 2016.

Benjamin Appl sings Schubert's Der Lindenbaum:


He is currently performing Schubert recitals in the U.K., including on August 17th at the Edinburgh International Festival's Queen’s Hall with Schumann and Grieg, and at Ireland's Kilkenny Festival where he'll perform Winterreise on August 19th and a program with soprano Ailish Tynan and tenor Robin Tritschler on August 20th.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Introducing Nicholas Martorano; Performing Chicago area recital

Nicholas Martorano
American barihunk Nicholas Martorano, who graduated with a Master of Music degree in vocal arts last year from the University of Southern California, is new to our site.

Martorano will be returning to his homestate of Illinois to perform a recital in Morris, which is about an hour outside of Chicago. He'll be joined by Alexandra Martinez, Liya Khaimova and Napat Mingkwanyuen in a concert of arias, duets and ensembles from opera and musical theater. The four singers were all students together at USC.

Martorano first began singing on stage when he appeared as Winthrop in a Westmont High School production of  “The Music Man.” He developed his love for opera while in high school and opted to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in vocal performance.

The concert is Friday, August 18th at the First Presbyterian Church in Morris, Illinois.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wes Mason in LoftOpera's innovative Pagliacci

Wes Mason (Photos Jason Lee Denton & Ellen Appel)
Wes Mason will star as Silvio in LoftOpera's new production of a Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci from September 15-26 at a former bus depot in Brooklyn. Mason will be joined by Lucas Levy as the clown Canio, Kelly Glyptis as Nedda, Joshua Conyers as Tonio and Michael Kuhn a Beppe. 

The production is directed by the always innovative director John de los Santos and includes a Coney Island-inspired set design by Jung Griffin. Following each performance, audience members are encouraged to stay for a dance party and reception featuring DJ Svetlana Voice.

Founded in 2013, LoftOpera aims to bring opera to its roots and to the masses with environmental, immersive stagings that emphasize the communal aspects of the genre. Previous productions include Rossini’s Otello, Macbeth, Tosca, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and La bohéme.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Barihunk Karl Daymond collapses and dies at hearing where he came to speak about saving arts venue

Karl Daymond
[REPRINTED FROM BBC NEWS]

An opera singer collapsed and died while arguing to save an arts venue.

Karl Daymond fell ill just before he was due to speak at a meeting about Drill Hall in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, where he had directed shows.

He was a passionate supporter of the arts who wanted to ensure the future of the venue.
Chepstow mayor Dale Rooke said he was "one of those larger than life characters" with a "huge heart and a huge passion".

"He will be sorely missed and it's a huge, huge loss to Chepstow," he added.

Mr Rooke said Mr Daymond was "quite stressed" about speaking at the meeting, which was organised to allow locals to have their say on the future of the hall.

It came amid a row over whether the venue's ownership should be transferred from the local authority into the hands of a newly-formed charity.

'Emotional' meeting

The hall secured £50,000 from the Big Lottery in February to fund renovations with plans for a further £1m bid dependent on who owned it in future.

Mr Rooke said: "It was an emotional meeting but we knew it was going to be. About 80 people were present.

"It was particularly traumatic as when he collapsed, everyone was stuck in the council chamber and lots of the people in the room knew Karl."

Mr Daymond trained at The National Opera Studio before touring the world with both the English and Welsh national operas.

His career included performing at the BBC Proms in 1999 and 2002, and twice at the Royal Variety Performance, in 1982 performing The Pirate King from Pirates of Penzance, and as a soloist in 2004.

He appeared with Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman in a 1989 production of the Merchant of Venice, and took a starring role in Leonard Bernstein's Grammy-nominated one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti in 2001.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Barihunk quartet opens NY City Opera season

Kevin Short, Kenneth Overton, Christopher Job and Alexander Birch Ellliott (Clockwise top left)
New York City Opera is opening its 2017/2018 season with Puccini's La fanciulla del West starring the barihunk quartet of Kevin Short as Jack Rance, Alexander Birch Elliott as Sonora, Christopher Job as Ashby and Kenneth Overton as Jake Wallace. They will be joined by soprano Kristin Sampson as Minnie and tenor Jonathan Burton as Dick Johnson.

The production is a collaboration between New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and Teatro di Giglio di Lucca. Performances are on September 6, 8, 10 and 12 at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. Tickets are available online.

Based on American playwright David Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West, the opera tells the story of love and redemption in a mining camp during the California Gold Rush. Puccini's La fanciulla del West had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1910, and the opera has been a favorite of New York audiences ever since.

The remainder of New York City Opera's season includes the New York premiere of Pepe Martinez’s mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Montemezzi’s  L’Amore  dei Tre Re, the long-awaited US premiere of Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain, the New York premiere of Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and a double-bill of Donizetti’s Il Pigmalione and  Rameau’s Pigmalion.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jacques Imbrailo to premiere new Danish opera Brødre

Jacques Imbrailo
Jacques Imbrailo will premiere composer Daníel Bjarnason's new opera Brødre (Brothers) at the Danish National Opera on August 16th. The opera is based on Susanne Bier’s film Brothers, which is part of the Musikhuset Aarhus’ Bier Trilogy, in which the acclaimed film trilogy by Susanne Bier is adapted into three different genres. Brothers will be performed as an opera, After the Wedding as musical theatre and Open Hearts as modern dance.

Bier not only directed the 2004 film version of Brothers, but she also co-wrote the screenplay for the opera adaptation with Anders Thomas Jensen. The opera will be directed by Kasper Holten.

The tale relates the story of two brothers who both fall in love with the same woman. While the elder brother is on military service in Afghanistan, leaving his family behind in Denmark, the younger brother – who has just came out of prison – ends up spending a lot of time with the family. When they are informed that the elder brother is missing in action, a love grows between the younger brother and the sister-in-law out of solitude and despair. And when the hero returns from war, everything changes.

Performances are on August 16, 18, 20 and 22.  Tickets are available online.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Barihunk trio in live stream of "La pietra del paragone" from Rossini Festival

Gianluca Margheri and Paolo Bordogna
The barihunk duo Gianluca Margheri, Paolo Bordogna and Davide Luciano will appear in a live stream of La pietra del paragone (The Touchstone) from the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro on August 11th. Gianluca Margheri sings the Conte Asdrubale, Paolo Bordogna sings Pacuvio and Davide Luciano sings Macrobio. The cast also includes La pietra del paragone as the Marchesa Clarice, Maxim Mironov as Cavalier Giocondo, Aurora Faggioli as Baronessa Aspasia, Marina Monzó as Donna Fulvia and William Corrò as Fabrizio.

Much of the action taken place in and around a swimming pool, so you'll get to see some barihunk skin in this popular production.

La pietra del paragone, which was Rossini's first major commission, was first performed at La Scala in Milan on September 26, 1812 and was an instant success. Despite its early success in Europe, the work did not receive its North American premiere until 1955 and not until 1963 in Britain, when it was performed at he St Pancras Town Hall.

In Rossini's comedy, a wealthy man devises a test to separate his true friends from those who love him only for his money. Although “touchstone” is no longer regularly used in the English language, it is still alive in an Italian proverb that forms the basis of this comic opera. They say “Men have a touchstone to test gold, but gold is really the touchstone to test men.” (“L’uomo ha la pietra di paragone per saggiare l’oro, ma l’oro è la pietra di paragone per saggiare gli uomini.”) 

You can also watch the same Pier Luigi Pizzi production on Medici.TV with barihunk Marco Vinco as Il Conte Asdrubale, Paolo Bordogna as Pacuvio and Pietro Spagnoli and Macrobio.

Barihunk duo in Rossini Festival's Le siège de Corinthe

Luca Pisaroni, Nino Machaidze and Iurii Samoilov
The barihunk duo of bass-barihunk Luca Pisaroni in Mahomet II and Iurii Samoilov as Omar in Rossini's Le siège de Corinthe. They are joined by John Irvin as Cléomène, Nino Machaidze as Pamyra, Sergey Romanovsky as Néoclès, Carlo Cigni as Hiéros, Xabier Anduaga as Adraste and Cecilia Molinari as Ismène. Performances are on August 10, 13, 16 and 19 and tickets are available online.

The opera premiered at the Salle Le Peletier of the Paris Opéra on October 9, 1826 and was a partial rewrite of the composer's 1820 Italian opera, Maometto II, with exactly the same story and characters. The original version premiered in Naples on December 3, 1820.

The opera commemorates the siege and ultimate destruction of the town of Missolonghi in 1826 by Turkish during the ongoing Greek War of Independence (1821-1829). The reference to Corinth is an example of allegory, although Sultan Mehmed II had indeed besieged the city in the 1450s. This same incident, condemned throughout Western Europe for its cruelty, also inspired a prominent painting by Eugène Delacroix (Greece Expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi), and was mentioned in the writings of Victor Hugo. Lord Byron's 1816 poem The Siege of Corinth has little, if any, connection with the opera.

Luca Pisaroni sings "Sorgete... Duce di tanti eroi" from Maometto II:

On August 15, Pisaroni will also perform a recital of music by Schubert, Liszt and Rossini with Giulio Zappa at the piano. Tickets are available online. He returns to the US in December as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera. He rotates the role with fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien.

Iurii Samoilov returns to his home base at Oper Frankfurt in October as Ned Keene in Britten's Peter Grimes. He remains with the company this season to perform Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte, Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Luis Alejandro Orozco in Maria de Buenos Aires in New Orleans, Fort Worth

Luis Alejandro Orozco
Barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco, who just performed his signature role of  Payador Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires with Mill City Summer Opera, will reprise the role with the New Orleans Opera's chamber series on September 9 and 10. The special performances will also include dinner and a post-performance tango dance party. 

The production will also feature soprano Catalina Cuervo, Milton Laayza in the role of Duende-Elf and Robert Lyall conducting musicians from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. The piece, which is set in a theater-in-the-round, will be directed by Tomer Zvulun, the artistic Director of the Atlanta Opera.

Orozco will perform the piece again next Spring with the Fort Worth Opera with John de los Santos directing his unforgettable conception. Barihunk Paul La Rosa will be performing Payador with the director at San Diego Opera in January.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sean Michael Plumb's debuts new website; Returns to Bayerische Staatsoper

Sean Michael Plumb (Photo Dario Acosta)
American barihunk Sean Michael Plumb has a new website and management page with Étude Arts. His website includes his new bio and schedule. He will be returning to the ensemble of the Bayerische Staatsoper for the 2017-18 season to sing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Dandini in La cenerentola, and Prosdocimo in Il turco in Italia
He was a member of the Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project in 2016 and has been a young artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and the Aspen Music Festival.

We featured Plumb back in 2012 when he made his national television debut in the HBO documentary “Renée Fleming: A YoungArts MasterClass.” He was honored by President Obama as a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts at a ceremony at The White House and has garnered a multitude of awards for his singing including the Grand Prize of the 2016 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions
Highlights of Sean's 2017-18 season include the following performances:

Il Trittico (Marco) - Bayerische Staatsoper, December 2017 - January 2018, July 2018

Così fan tutte (Guglielmo) - Bayerische Staatsoper, March 2018

La cenerentola (Dandini) - Bayerische Staatsoper, March 2018

Liederabend - Munich, April 2018

Tristan und Isolde (Melot) - The Cleveland Orchestra, April 2018

Die Zauberflöte (Papageno) - Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, June 2018

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Joseph Lattanzi to reprise lead role in Fellow Travelers

Joseph Lattanzi and Aaron Blake in Fellow Travelers
The Lyric Opera of Chicago has announced that barihunk Joseph Lattanzi will reprise the role of Hawkins Fuller in Gregory Spears' opera Fellow Travelers.

Fellow Travelers, which was written in collaboration with librettist Greg Pierce and director Kevin Newbury, was developed in a 2013 Opera Fusion workshop. Lattanzi sang both the workshops for the opera, as well as the world premiere at the Cincinnati Opera last year. Newbury will also direct the Chicago performances.

Joseph Lattanzi sings "Our very own home" from Fellow Travelers:

The cast will include tenor Jonas Hacker as Timothy Laughlin, who falls in love with Hawkins Fuller during the height of the McCarthy era in 1950s Washington D.C. Devon Guthrie will sing the role of Mary Johnson, Hawkins’s assistant and Timothy’s confidante.

This chamber work will be presented in four performances at the Athenaeum Theatre between March 17-25, 2018

You can catch Lattanzi as Sonora in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West at Virginia Opera from November 10-December 3. Performances will be in Norfolk, Richmond and Fairfax. 

Trio of barihunks joins Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program

Michael Adams, Timothy J. Bruno and Christopher Kenney (L-R)
The Washington National Opera has announced their incoming members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, which begins in September. Three low male voices will be included, including Michael Adams, who has been featured regularly on this site. Joining him will be bass Timothy J. Bruno and baritone Christopher Kenney.

This year's young artists will star in performances of Handel's Alcina and Rossini's The Barber of Seville at the Kennedy Center Opera House, participate in the American Opera Initiative Festival's Proving Up, a new opera by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, as well as appear in recitals and concerts across the Washington, D.C. region. Proving Up is based on a short story by Karen Russell, which tells the story of a Nebraskan family homesteading in the late 19th century.

Michael Adams sings "Pensa a chi geme" from Handel's Alcina:


Joining the trio of low voices will be tenor Frederick Ballentine, mezzo Eliza Bonet, mezzo Allegra De Vita, tenor Arnold Livingston Geis, soprano Leah Hawkins, pianist Paul Jarski, pianist Christopher Kenney, soprano Madison Leonard, tenor Alexander McKissick and soprano Alexandria Shiner.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bass-barihunk Laurence Meikle in Meyerbeer rarity Margherita d'Anjou

Laurence Meikle
Laurence Meikle, who recently made the transition to bass, opened last night at the Festival della Valle d'Itria as Carlo Belmonte in Meyerbeer's rarely performed opera Margherita d'Anjou. Meikle began exploring the transition to bass in 2016 when he performed Mozart's Così fan tutte with Fabio Luisi at the Festival della Valle d'Itria.

Margherita d'Anjou marked Meyerbeer's debut and first real success at the Teatro alla Scala. The opera is loosely based on an actual historical themes about the English Wars of the Roses. The opera was the first by Meyerbeer to mix historical events and personages with fictional characters and situations, as his French grand operas Les Huguenots, Le prophète and L'Africaine were later to do.  It contains opulent virtuoso and broad choral passages, along with several ensembles for male voices, including a trio for bass voices. 

Laurence Meikle
The opera premiered at La Scala on November 14, 1820 and was subsequently performed throughout Europe in Italian, French and German. It received its US debut in New Orleans on  April 17, 1854. This is the first modern era production of the opera that is fully stage, There was a concert performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London in November 2002. A new critical edition of the score was published by Ricordi Berlin in 2015.

From October 29 to November 8, Meikle will return to the Teatro di San Carlo as Osmin in the Strehler production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He performed there earlier this year as Grenvil in Verdi's La traviata.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Barihunk Leon Kim wins two prizes at Operalia Competition; Boris Prýgl takes Nilsson Prize

Korean barihunk Leon Kim

Korean barihunk Leon Kim walked away with both the Third Place prize and the Rolex Audience Prize at the 2017 Operalia Competition. Bass-barihunk Boris Prýgl also won the Birgit Nilsson Prize for the best singer of Wagner/Strauss repertory.

This year three baritones made it to final fourteen of the Operalia Competition, including South Korean Leon Kim, American Emmett O'Hanlon and Boris Prygl from the Czech Republic. Leon Kim was also one of the five finalists in the Zarzuela competition. The event was held at the Astana Opera in Kazakhstan. First prize is US $30,000, Second Prize is $20,000 and Thrid Prize is $10,000.

The last low male voices to win were bass-baritone Ao Li from China, who took the top men's prize in 2013 and Mongolian bass Enkhbatyn Amartüvshin, who took top honors the previous year.

The winner of the 2017 Pepita Embil Prize of Zarzuela for female voice is Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia and the winner of the Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Prize of Zarzuela for male voice is Italian tenor Marco Ciaponi.

The 2017 Culturarte Prize went to Korean soprano Sooyeon Lee.

Boris Prýgl
The 2017 Birgit Nilsson Prize for the repertoire of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner went to bass-baritone Boris Prýgl for male voice and to soprano Oksana Sekerin for female voice.

The winner of Third Place prize went to Korean baritone Leon Kim for male voice and Kazakhstan soprano Maria Mudryak for female voice.

The winner of Second Place for male voice went to Italian tenor Davide Giusti and to Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan for female voice.

The Grand Prize winner for male voice went to South African tenor Levy Sekgapane and for female voice Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia.

The Rolex Audience Prize went to South Korean baritone Leon Kim and for female voice Kazakhstan soprano Maria Mudryak.

The 2014 Operalia Competition became known as the "Baritone Blackout," as 11 of the 40 competitors were baritones, but not a single baritone made it to the final round. No low male voice won any of the fourteen prizes handed out that year. This was in spite of the low voice competitors including some amazing talents, including Igor Bakan, Aleksey Bogdanov, Alexandre Duhamel, Dan Kempson, Alexey Lavrov, Alex Lawrence, Shea Owens, Damien Pass, Pavel Shmulevich, Anatoli Sivko and Ivan Thirion. 

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

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Barihunk duo in Amy Beach rarity "Cabildo"

Tyler Putnam (Photo by Devon Cass)
Barihunk Bryan Murray and bass-barihunk Tyler Putnam are performing in Amy Beach's rarely performed opera Cabildo. Both singers are new to the site.

Set in New Orleans, the composer’s only opera recounts the legend of a French noblewoman who gives a bracelet to a pirate as a proclamation of her love. When she disappears mysteriously at sea, he is accused of her murder, imprisoned and then released in time to defend the city in the War of 1812.

Beach composed the music in 1932 and made use of folksong and Creole tunes. The work was not performed in her lifetime and didn't receive its premiere until 1947.

Performances run from July 26-August 2 and tickets are available online

Bryan Murray's winning set at the  2016 Heida Hermanns Competition:


Bryan Murray, who sings  Pierre Lafitte in Cabildo, is a 2017 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera and winner of the 2016 Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition. He pursued his Master of Musical Arts degree from Yale University, as well as receiving his Master's in vocal performance from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.

Tyler Putnam, who sings  Gaoler in Cabildo, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Dartmouth College. In 2014 and 2015, he was a Santa Fe Opera apprentice artist where he sang the role of Thomas in Jennifer Higden's Cold Mountain, appeared in Verdi's Rigoletto and Strauss' Salome, as well as covering Rocco in Beethoven's Fidelio. In October, he will make his role debut as Colline in Puccini's La bohème at Malloy College. He then performs Handel's Messiah with The Villages Philharmonic in Florida.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Introducing Bass-barihunk Carlo Checchi; Belcore at Festspiele Immling

Carlo Checchi
Italian bass-barihunk Carlo Checchi is new to our site and was brought to our attention by a reader, Checchi is performing Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore through August 13th at the Festspiele Immling in Germany. The cast also includes Sergio Foresti (who we should also feature) as Dulcamara, Elisa Cenni as Adina, Chuanliang Wang as Nemorino and Anastasia Churakova as Gianetta. Tickets and additional information is available online.

Cecchi, who also has a degree in computer engineering, studied voice at l'Istituto Musicale Pareggiato "Vittadini" di Pavia. He was the winner of the VI Concorso ArteInCanto Competition.

Carlo Checchi
He made his debut at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa as Apollo in Mozart's Apollo and Hyacinth. His past roles include Figaro in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Valle in Rome, as well as in opera houses in Lucca, Pisa and Livorno; Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflote at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman; and, Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Tirana.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dmitri Hvorostovsky adds two concerts to schedule

Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Two new concerts have appeared on the website of Siberian barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who the Associated Press had recently reported was canceling all performances for the coming season due to “severe illness.”

First up will be a September 22nd recital at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, Romania, which is already sold out. The concert features a collections of Russian songs, including music by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Borodin and Anton Rubinstein. This will be followed by a September 26th recital with regular collaborator Ivari Ilja at the Moscow Conservatoire. No details are given on the website. His last program with him included music by Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss, with a poignant encore of "Farewell, happiness."

Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015. He was due to play leading roles in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, Otello and Rigoletto in Vienna this year and next, but canceled those engagements. He also withdrew from performances of the Met's production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, where he was replaced by fellow barihunks Peter Mattei and Mariusz Kwiecien. In April, he did make an appearance in Toronto with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Introducing Glimmerglass barihunk Jarrett Porter

Jarrett Porter
We recently featured a post about what we believe to be the largest single gathering of barihunks since we started blogging, as about a dozen hunky low voices are currently performing at the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York. A few of the singers in that post have not appeared on our site before, so we thought we'd start with an introduction of Jarrett Porter. 

Porter is currently a Young Artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, where he is singing Sam in Oklahoma! and covering the role of The English Spy in the American premiere of Donizetti's The Siege of Calais, under the direction of Francesca Zambello. 

Porter joins Arizona Opera for their 2017/18 season as a Marion Roose Studio Artist, where he will make his debut in the title role of Patrick Morganelli’s film-opera collaboration Hercules vs Vampires. Other roles with the company will includ Sciarrone in Puccini's Tosca, Maximilian in Bernstein's Candide, and Fiorello in Rossini's The Barber of Seville with fellow barihunk Jared Bybee in the title role.

Jarrett Porter sings Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen":

This past season Porter made his NPR debut with selections from Schubert's Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin with accompanist Taylor Hutchinson, and narration by Graham Johnson and Sir Thomas Allen. He was also seen in recital with Jake Heggie at the German Consulate of San Francisco in a program of Jake's newest works, including selections from his new chamber opera, Out of Darkness
 
Jarrett Porter

Recent roles have included the title role in Don Giovanni, Chevalier des Grieux in Massenet's Le portrait de Manon, and Sid in Britten's Albert Herring. He is the First Prize winner of the 2017 Pacific Music Society Competition, the Ellie Silver Award winner at the Holt Competition, and the recipient of the 2017 Pankonin Art Song Award.

Hunky Pin-Up Guys in Young Vic's HMS Pinafore

CJ Hartung, Joshua Hughes, Jeffrey Williams, John Kaneklides, and with flag (L-R)
Who says that Gilbert & Sullivan can't be sexy? The Young Victorian Theatre Company has assembled a cast of three barihunks and a hunkentenor for their current run of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. The pin-up worthy cast includes barihunk Joshua Hughes as Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty; barihunk Jeffrey Williams as Captain Corcoran, Commander of the HMS Pinafore; hunkentenor John Kaneklides as Ralph Rackstraw; and, bass-barihunk Christopher "CJ" Hartung as Dick Deadeye.

The show has already proved to be a huge box office success, as Saturday's opening night performance and today's matinee both completely sold out. Fortunately for anyone near the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, there are three remaining performances on July 20, 22, and 23 at the Sinex Theater in the Roland Park area.

Joshua Hughes, graduated with a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Peabody Conservatory, and previously appeared in the company's 2016 summer production of Iolanthe. He recently performed in Charpentier's Les Arts Florissants and Purcell's The Fairy Queen with Dallas Bach Society.

Jeffrey Williams and cast
Jeffrey Williams, who won the Middle/East Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, will be appearing next season with the Nashville Opera in both Puccini's Tosca and Hercules vs Vampires. He is also an Assistant Professor of Voice at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

CJ Hartung is a student at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and is a regular young artist with the Berk's Opera Company, where he most recently sang the role of Lodovico in Verdi's Otello.

John Kaneklides has been singing both opera and musical theater, having performed Henrik in Sondheim's A Little Night Music and Tony in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. This season he made his role debut in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann with the St. Petersburg Opera, where he performed the title role.

Tickets for the remaining shows are available online.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Barihunk duo to reprise Lully's Alceste at Versailles

Douglas Williams (left) and Edwin Crossley-Mercer (right)
Two of operas hottest men are appeared together in Lully's Alceste last night and we somehow missed it! Barihunk Edwin Crossley-Mercer sang Alcide and bass-barihunk Douglas Williams sang Lycomède and Caron at the Festival International d'Opéra Baroque under the baton of Christophe Rousset.

Fortunately, the opera gods are looking over us, as the duo will reprise their performance at the Grandes Eaux Musicales at the Châteua de Versailles on December 10th with Les Talens Lyriques.

Edwin Crossley-Mercer

The opera was originally presented in celebration of King Louis XIV’s victory against Franche-Comté, and the prologue features nymphs longing for his return from battle.

The opera concerns Alceste, princess of Iolcos and queen of Thessaly, who is abducted by Licomède, king of Scyros, with the aid of his sister Thetis, a sea nymph; Aeolus, the god of the winds; and other supernatural forces. In the battle to rescue her, Alcide is triumphant, but Alceste’s husband, Admète, suffers a mortal wound. Apollo agrees to let Admète live if someone will take his place in death. Alceste volunteers herself but is rescued by Alcide, who loves her.

The opera ends with a celebration of Alceste’s return from the underworld and of Alcide’s noble gallantry in returning her to her husband and relinquishing any claims to her.

Friday, July 14, 2017

World's largest gathering of barihunks at Glimmerglass?

Jarrett Ott, Michael Hewitt, Jarrett Porter and Brent Michael Smith (left) and Justin Austin (right)
Once again, director Francesca Zambello has deservedly landed on our site. Longtime readers know that most opera lovers credit her with beginning the barihunk craze and coining the phrase after having Nathan Gunn appear shirtless in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. Now she may have created the largest single gathering of barihunks ever assembled at the Glimmerglass Festival, where she is the Artistic & General Director, as well as the stage director for Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Donizetti's The Siege of Calais and Ben Moore's Robin Hood.

Norman Garrett in Glimmerglass' Porgy and Bess
There are at least a dozen barihunks who we know of in the various casts and probably a handful more that we've not been made aware of yet. Most of them have appeared on this site in the past. The Glimmerglass artists include:
  • Norman Garrett as Crown in Porgy and Bess 
  • Brent Michael Smith as the cop in Porgy and Bess; Ariodates in Handel's Xerxes; and the Commentator in Derrick Wang's Scalia/Ginsburg.
  • Zach Owen as the English Spy in The Siege of Calais and the detective in Porgy and Bess.
  • Jarrett Ott as Curly in Oklahoma! 
  • Michael Hewitt as Jud Fry in Oklahoma! and Edoardo III in The Siege of Calais
  • Harry Greenleaf as Cord Elam in Oklahoma!
  • Jarrett Porter as Sam in Oklahoma!
  • Justin Austin as Jake in Porgy and Bess
  • Calvin Griffin as the Undertaker in Porgy and Bess and Elviro in Xerxes
  • Conor McDonald as Skidmore in Oklahoma!
  • Eric Shane covering roles in Oklahoma! and Porgy and Bess
The festival opened July 7th and runs through August 22. Additional cast information and tickets are available online.

POST UPDATE: We heard from some of the singers at Glimmerglass that we may have missed a few singers, including Makoto Winkler, Nicholas Davi, Carl DuPont and Adrian Timpau. We also made some casting updates to the list above.

Andrè Schuen making US debut with Schubert concerts

Andrè Schuen
Tyrolian barihunk Andrè Schuen is making what we believe is his American debut with two concerts of Schubert lieder. He joins composer/pianist Thomas Adès for Tanglewood's “Schubert’s Summer Journey,” a six-concert exploration of the music of the composer. The program includes his famous setting of Goethe’s Wanderers Nachtlied II.

Tickets and additional information is available online.

On July 29th, he'll sings Schubert's Schwanengesang at the Aspen Music Festival with pianist Andreas Haefliger. Schuen and Haefliger will perform the songs not in one grouping but as distinct sets, separated by two solo piano works, Beethoven's Piano Sonata op. 101 and Berg's Piano Sonata.  Tickets are available online.

Andrè Schuen sings Hugo Wolf's Goethe Lieder:

In October, he returns to the opera stage at the Opéra national de Lorraine to portray the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni. The cast includes Nahuel di Pierro as Leporello, Levente Páll as Masetto, David Leigh as the Commendatore, Kiandra Howarth as Donna Anna, Yolanda Auyanet as Donna Elvira and Julien Behr as Don Ottavio. Additional information is available online.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Aaron Sørensen back as Sparafucile

Bass-barihunk Aaron Sørensen
Bass-barihunk calendar model Aaron Sørensen will show off his amazing low F as Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto at the Charlottesville Opera (formerly Ash Lawn Opera). Sørensen recently performed the role to great acclaim with the Mississippi Opera. The Charlottesville cast will include Eglise Gutiérrez as Gilda, Matthew Vickers as the Duke of Mantua and Hyung Yun as the ill-fated father Rigoletto.

The opera opens on July 9th at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at Virginia Tech University and then heads to the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia for performances on July 14, 16 and 19. Tickets are available online.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Watch Philippe Sly as Don Giovanni at Aix-en-Provence

Philippe Sly as Don Giovanni as Aix-en-Provence
Barihunk Phillipe Sly is a particularly sexy (and scantily clad) Don Giovanni in Mozart's classic at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. This performance marks his debut in the role, as well as the role debut of Isabel Leonard as Donna Elvira.

Performances are running through July 21, but one can also catch a broadcast of it on July 10th on Medici.tv at 12:30 PM PDT.

 The new production by Jean-François Sivadier includes Nahuel Di Pierro as Leporello, Eleonora Buratto as Donna Anna, hunkentenor Pavol Breslik as Don Ottavio, Julie Fuchs as Zerlina,  Krzysztof Baczyk as Masetto and David Leigh as Il Commendatore.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

David Adam Moore making role debut as Guglielmo in Central City

David Adam Moore (center from The Exterminating Angel)
Barihunk David Adam Moore will make his principal role debut as Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Central City Opera. The opera has not been performed at the historic Colorado opera house since 1990, when they marked the 200th anniversary of the piece. Performances will run from July 15 through August 4.

Moore will be joined by soprano Hailey Clark as Fiordiligi, mezzo-soprano Tamara Gura as Dorabella, tenor Matthew Plenk as Ferrando, Megan Marino as Despina and Patrick Carfizzi as Don Alfonso.

The full name of the opera is actually Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, which means "Thus do they all, or The School for Lovers." The subject matter of infidelity was considered so taboo in the 19th century that the opera was often accompanied by an apology, altered or even completely rewritten. Mozart's contemporary Antonio Salieri attempted to set the libretto to music, but never completed the project. 

In November, Moore will reprise the role of the Colonel in Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel at the Met. He'll be joined by fellow barihunks Christian van Horn as Julio, Rod Gilfrey as Roc and Kevin Burdette as Russell.
Last performed in Central City in 1990, this new production of Così fan tutte is directed by London-based Stephen Barlow,
Last performed in Central City in 1990, this new production of Così fan tutte is directed by London-based Stephen Barlow,

Stéphane Degout to be broadcast in world premiere of Pinocchio

Stéphane Degout
French barihunk Stéphane Degout is returning to the Aix Festival in Philippe Boesmans' Pinocchio, which was commissioned for this year's festival. Degout performs four key roles in the opera, the troupe director, the crook, a murderer and the circus director. Performances run through July 16th.

Joël Pommerat's libretto is based on his 2008 stage play, which returns the narrative to Carlo Collodi's original 1883 fable. In this version, Pinocchio escapes his maker Geppetto and is anything but a cute wooden figure. The villains are hardly what one would think of as characters in children's story.

The opera will be broadcast on July 9th on Arte Concert and France Musique.

In 2014, Degout also created Philippe Boesmans' Au Monde at La Monnaie in Brussels.


Introducing bass-barihunk Philipp Alexander Mehr in Mannheim's Mahaggony

Philipp Alexander Mehr in Mannheim's Mahagonny
30-year-old bass-barihunk Philipp Alexander Mehr, who is new to this site, is currently appearing in Kurt Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Performances are running through July 19th.

Philipp Alexander Mehr made his debut as a twelve-year-old at the Frankfurt Opera in Peter Maxwell Davies' children's opera Cinderella and dabbled with rock music as a teenager. He studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt and the Mannheim School of Music, continuing his studies on a Richard Wagner scholarship. He also studied cognitive neurosciences before dedicating himself to music. 

He is the co-founder of "Mehr & Milde," which performs songs and cabaret.  

Upcoming roles in Mannheim include Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola, the King in Verdi's Aida, the Priest of Jupiter in Handel's Hercules, Tom in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera and Titurel in Wagner's Parsifal

Monday, July 3, 2017

Polish bass-barihunk Daniel Miroslaw joins Glyndebourne's La traviata

Daniel Miroslaw
Polish bass-barihunk Daniel Miroslaw will be appearing in two of the Glyndebourne Festival operas this season, beginning on June 12th when he takes over as Doctor Grenvil from Henry Waddington in Verdi's La traviata. The cast also includes Kristina Mkhitaryan as Violetta in her Glyndebourne debut, Zach Borichevsky as Alfredo Germont and Igor Golovatenko as Giorgio Germont. Miroslaw will also be performing on June 16 and 19.

You can see Glyndebourne's 2014 of La traviata with the thrilling tenor Michael Fabiano from June 8-15 by clicking HERE.

Daniel Miroslaw sings "It's just another Rumba":

On June 25, he takes the stage as Truffaldino in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with fellow barihunk Björn Bürger as Harlequin. The cast also includes the legendary baritone Sir Thomas Allen as the Music Master, soprano Lise Davidsen in the title role, tenor AJ Glueckert as Bacchus and Erin Morley as Zerbinetta. Performances run through July 27.

Miroslaw is a member of the Frankfurt Opera, where he's slated to sing a number of roles this season, including Eustazio in Handel's Rinaldo, Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore and Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto.  In April 2018, he will be making his debut at the Municipal Theatre of Santiago singing a title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Dmitri Hvorostovsky cancels all Vienna performances

Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Photo: Pavel Antonov)
According to the Associated Press, the Vienna State Opera says Siberian barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky has canceled all performances for the coming season due to “severe illness.”

Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015. He has continued performing since them but has occasionally been forced to pull out of scheduled roles. His website currently lists no upcoming performances.

He was due to play leading roles in Verdi's Un ballo in mascheraOtello and Rigoletto in Vienna this year and next. A statement yesterday says replacements will be announced later.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Quirijn de Lang featured in one-act operas with Opera North

Wallis Giunta and Quirijn de Lang in Trouble in Tahiti
The U.K.'s Opera North is presenting a new series dubbed "Little Greats," which are six operas that run about an hour each and are presented as a double-bill. To entice new opera attendees, tickets start for as little as £10. The series will include Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, Janáček's Osud, Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury and will run from September 16 to October 21.

Dutch barihunk Quirijn de Lang will be featured in both L'enfant et les sortilèges as the Grandather Clock and Tom Cat and in Trouble in Tahiti as Sam, one half of a bickering married couple.

Quirijn de Lang
The operas will be performed in Leeds starting on September 16, Kingston starting on October 26, Nottingham starting on November 1, Newcastle starting on November 8 and Salford Quays starting on November 15. Ticket information is available online.

Quirijn de Lang can currently be seen as Selim in Rossini's Il Turco in Italia at the Garsington Opera through July 15. On July 29, he'll be featured in "A Night at the Opera," a concert with full orchestra with Opera North featuring soprano Jeni Bern.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Craig Verm heads cast of barihunks as "Billy Budd" in Des Moines

Craig Verm as Billy Budd (photo courtesy of Des Moines Metro Opera)
American barihunk Craig Verm is returning to the role of Billy Budd at the Des Moines Metro Opera on July 1, 9, 11 and 14. Verm has become a popular singer of Benjamin Britten's title character. Verm performed Billy to great acclaim at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago in 2013.

The production will feature a number of other singers familiar to readers, including Zachary James as the evil John Claggart, Michael Adams as Donald, Emmett O'Hanlon as the Novice's Friend and barihunk turned hunkentenor Chris Carr as Maintop. 

In 2007, Verm first appeared in the opera as the Novice's Friend in Pittsburgh opposite the Billy Budd of Nathan Gunn and the thrilling Claggart of Greer Grimsley. The production was directed by the woman who inspired Barihunks, Francesca Zambello.

Emmett O'Hanlon, Zachary James as Claggart and Michael Adams
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.

The libretto was written by the English novelist E. M. Forster and Eric Crozier, and is based on the short novel Billy Budd by Herman Melville. The book was first published posthumously in London in 1924. Melville began writing the work in November 1888, but left it unfinished at his death in 1891. The novella was discovered in manuscript form in 1919 by Raymond M. Weaver, who was studying Melville's papers as his first biographer.

Craig Verm as Billy Budd (photos courtesy of Des Moines Metro Opera)
The first production of the opera 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.

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, Lucas Meachem, Jacques Imbrailo, Daniel Belcher, Roderick Williams, Iurii Samoilov and Liam Bonner.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Malte Roesner to perform lost Soler and Süßmayr songs

Dashe Cellars in Oakland and German bass Malte Roesner
Malte Roesner, who is making his U.S. stage debut with West Edge Opera in Vicente Martín y Soler's The Chastity Tree (see our post), will also be making his U.S. concert debut at Dashe Cellars on July 22 performing lost Soler songs along with his wife soprano Aurora Perry, hunkentenor Sam Levine and accompanist Bob Mollicone on fortepiano.

The concert tickets also include wine from Oakland's Dashe Cellars, a premiere California winery that uses traditional and natural winemaking techniques, including small-lot fermentation, the use of indigenous yeasts, and little-to-no fining or filtration. Their wines frequently score 90+ points in leading wine magazines. Click HERE to purchase tickets.

The concert will feature music by Soler and his Viennese contemporaries Mozart, Antonio Salieri, Franz Xaver Süßmayr and the blind, female composer Maria Theresia von Paradis. The concert will explore the musical landscape of 18th century Vienna, where all of the composers on the program either knew each other or inspired each other. Another common thread will be texts by the famed librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Malte Roesner
Roesner is performing two sets of music that have not been heard since the 18th century: Soler's "Songs and Duets for the Princess of Wales," which he found in an archive in London, and a set of songs by Süßmayr that he unearthed from the Austrian National Library. Perry will be singing Soler's "Songs for Miss Miller" and selections from Mozart, while Levine will sing Paradis' "Songs for the Duchess of Saxony" and songs by Salieri.

Despite being born in New York City, Roesner was raised in Germany and has focused his career in Europe. During his decade as a fest singer at the Staatstheater Braunschweig he portrayed more than fifty roles in the baritone repertory. He took some time off to retrain as a basso cantante and auditioned in the United States last year, eventually landing one of the few principle roles for a bass, Doristo in The Chastity Tree at West Edge Opera. Tickets are on sale HERE.

Roesner, who also trained as a musicologist, was hugely responsible for unearthing many of the lost manuscripts for this program.

Barihunks rotating Don Giovanni in Munich

Mathias Hausmann (left) and Günter Papendell (right)
Barihunks Günter Papendell and Mathias Hausmann are rotating the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich, Germany through July 12th. The production is being guided by the Viennese actor and director Herbert Föttinger, who is mostly associtate with the Theater in der Josefstadt. His concept is to look at Don Giovanni as a conglomerate of freedom, anarchy, seduction and sex; one who women desire and men desire to be.

Papendell will be joined by Levente Páll as Leporello, Christoph Filler as Masetto, Sergii Magera as the Commendatore, as well as Jennifer O'Loughlin as Donna Anna, Lucian Krasznec as Don Ottavio, Camille Schnoor as Donna Elvira and Sophie Mitterhuber as Zerlina. Papendell, can still be seen at his home base at the Komische Oper, where he's simultaneously performing Jason in Reimann's Medea on July 2 and 15. He'll be perfoming Don Giovanni in Munich on June 27 and July 6, 8, 9 and 12.

Günter Papendell in Don Giovanni in Munich
Mathias Hausmann will be singing Don Giovanni on June 26 and July 1, 2, 5 and 8. He'll be joined by Matija Meić as Leporello, Christoph Filler as Masetto, Christoph Seidl as the Commendatore, as well as Sophia Brommer as Donna Anna, Szabolcs Brickner as Don Ottavio, Nadja Stefanoff as Donna Elvira and Mária Celeng as Zerlina. On July 16, he'll perform in Händel's Alexander's Feast with the company. This Fall, he heads to the Oper Leipzig where he'll take on the role of Rodrigo in Verdi's Don Carlo

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Introducing barihunk Roman Ruckhofer

Roman Ruckhofer in Silbersee (left)
22-year-old Austrian barihunk Roman Ruckhofer was suggested to us after he performed in Kurt Weill's Silbersee at the Theater im Palais at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz.

Ruckhofer started his career as a leading performer with choirs he graduated with distinction. He started with the HIB.art.chor of Liebenau, one of Austria’s leading high school choirs, which has won numerous prizes worldwide. He was awarded a First Prize in the Youth Vocal Solo Competition with Green Guys at the Golden Gate International Choral Festival in 2015.

Since 2014, he has been studying voice at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. His repertoire ranges from sacred music to musical theater and contemporary music from the 21st century. He has already performed on international stages in Croatia, Norway, Canada and the United States. He recently was awarded a full scholarship to attend the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS) in Graz in 2017.

When he's not focused on music he is busy studying law.