Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Aaron Sørensen to perform first Stabat Mater with Oakland Symphony

Aaron Sørensen from past Barihunks calendars
Bass-barihunk Aaron Sørensen will be performing his first bass solo in Rossini's beautiful Stabat Mater with the Oakland Symphony. He'll be joined by tenor Thomas Glenn, mezzo-soprano Betany Coffland and soprano Shawnette Sulker under the baton of Michael Morgan.  There will be a single performance on Friday, November 17th and tickets are available online.

The program also includes Jonah M. Gallagher's Vocare and Mozart's Symphony #40. The program's theme is "love and loss," as the Stabat Mater recounts Mary's devastation over the death of Jesus, Vocare was written after the composer lost his mentor to cancer, and Mozart's Symphony #4o is one of only two of symphonies written in minor keys, reflecting his interest in the Sturm und Drang movement (Storm and Stress), in which darker and stronger emotions were showcased. 

After the production of William Tell in 1829, Rossini wrote no more operas. During a visit to Spain two years later, he reluctantly accepted a commission to write a Stabat Mater for the archdeacon of Madrid, Don Manuel Fernandez Varela. Rossini feared comparisons with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, and stipulated that Varela retain sole possession of the score and never allow publication.

The Stabat Mater was premiered in Paris at the Théâtre-Italien's Salle Ventadour on January 7, 1842, with the Italian premiere occurring three months later in Bologna led by composer Gaetano Donizetti.

Samuel Ramey sings Pro peccatis...Eja, Mater from Rossini's Stabat Mater:


Rossini's extensive operatic career had divided the public into admirers and critics. The announcement of the premiere of Rossini's Stabat Mater provided an occasion for a wide-ranging attack by Richard Wagner, who was in Paris at the time, not only on Rossini but more generally on the current European fashion for religious music and the money to be made from it. A week before the scheduled concert Robert Schumann's Neue Zeitschrift für Musik carried the pseudonymous essay, penned by Wagner under the name of "H. Valentino", in which he claimed to find Rossini's popularity incomprehensible.

The first theme in the tenor solo "Cujus animam" was quoted note-for-note in the 1941 Woody Herman jazz number, "Blues on Parade." The bass has the solo Pro peccatis and Eja, Mater sung with chorus.
Zachary Gordin & Gianluca Margheri from the 2018 Barihunk Calendar/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 quartet in Boston Lyric Opera's killer world premiere

Jesse Blumberg and Craig Colclough (Photo: Liza Voll)
The world premiere of Boston Lyric Opera's The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare may be about missing cadavers, but it's certainly not missing its fair share of barihunks. Jesse Blumberg and Craig Colclough portray the title characters Mr. Burke and Mr. Hare, while David McFerrin sings Ferguson and David Cushing is Donald, one of the unfortunate victims of the duo.

Set in 1820s Scotland – when the city’s famed schools of anatomy faced a severe shortage of fresh cadavers for their lectures – the opera follows William Burke, William Hare and their accomplices who discover a money-making opportunity by murdering disenfranchised citizens and selling their corpses to Dr. Robert Knox at his renowned medical academy.


David McFerrin and David Cushing
The chamber opera will be the first full-length piece in Boston Lyric Opera's New Works series. Performances will be staged at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama, an historic building whose neoclassical Victorian style reflects the story’s 19th century time period, and whose circular interior recalls early operating theaters where observers watched medical procedures.

We also hear that Jesse Blumberg performs the climactic scene in nothing but skivvies. 

The cast also includes tenors William Burden and Michael Slattery, sopranos Marie McLaughlin, Michelle Trainor and Antonia Tamer, as well as mezzo-sopranos Emma Sorenson and Heather Gallagher. Performances are on November 8, 9 and 12 (matinee and evening) and tickets are available online.

Brad Baron from Barihunks Calendar and 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 featured in fundraiser for Pulse nightclub survivors

Nathan Stark and Brian James Myer
The Timucua Arts Foundation and Opera Orlando have joined forces for “One Voice Orlando,” a benefit concert for Proyecto Somos Orlando. The organization brought the Latino and LGBTQ community together to provide social services and mental health care after the devastating shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016. Proceeds will also be directed to those in need after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.


The shooting at the gay bar was one of deadliest mass shootings by a single gunman in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the events of September 11, 2001, killing 49 people and injuring another 53. 

Gabriel Preisser, Brian James Myer and Nathan Stark sing 
"Can't Help Falling In Love WIth You":

Opera Orlando is providing the talent for the show, including barihunks Brian James Myer and Nathan Stark, who will be joined by soprano Maria Laetitia Hernandez. Selections will include “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les MiserablesNo Puede Ser" and selections from Zarzuela.

The event is on Sunday, November 4th at the Timucua White House in Orlando. Tickets are available online

Those wishing to donate can visit the Proyecto Somos Orlando website

Derek Chester & Marco Vassalli from Barihunks Calendar and 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!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Joyce DiDonato teams up with Ildebrando D'Arcangelo for Semiramide

Honorary Barihunk Joyce DiDonato and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Perhaps the hottest opera ticket in Europe for the remainder of 2017 is the run of Rossini's Semiramide at the Royal Opera House in London. The all-star international cast is led by mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato in the title role, bass-barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Assur, tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Idreno and mezzo-soprano Daniela Barcellona as Arsace. There probably isn't a better quartet of Rossini specialists in the world today and they'll be performing the entire run from November 19-December 16.

D’Arcangelo made his Royal Opera 21 years ago as Colline in Puccini's La bohème, and since performed a number of roles with the company, including Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Selim in Rossini's Il turco in Italia, and Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. This season, he is also performing Banquo in Verdi's Macbeth and reprising his Leporello with the company.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Edita Gruberova in the duet from Semiramide:

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo sings Assur's aria from Semiramide:

The opera is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria. After composing the opera, Rossini moved to Paris and wrote mostly opera in French, except for his comedy Il viaggio a Reims. It is considered one of the last operas to include the baroque tradition with highly decorative singing and vocal pyrotechnics.

The opera was premiered at La Fenice in Venice in 1823 and found its way to London a year later The U.S. premiere was at the St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans on May 1, 1837. By the late 1800s, the opera had virtually disappeared from the repertoire. However, it was chosen in 1880 to inaugurate the Teatro Costanzi in Rome and appeared as part of the Cincinnati Opera Festival 1882, which was attended by Oscar Wilde. The Metropolitan Opera revived Semiramide in 1892, 1894 with Nellie Melba, and again in 1895.

Although the overture is one of several of Rossini's to be widely recorded, the opera is only occasionally performed in modern times. Presentations at La Scala in Milan in December 1962 with Joan Sutherland and Giulietta Simionato required the re-assembly of the entire score from the Rossini autograph, since no other texts were known to exist.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo appears on two recordings of the opera, one with Edita Gruberova and Juan Diego Flórez, and the other with Ángeles Blancas and Daniela Barcellona.

Barihunks Calendar cover boy Jason Duika
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!



Barihunks Calendar Model Zacharias Niedzwiecki in COT's The Consul

Zacharias Niedzwiecki on the cover of our 2018 Barihunks Photo Book
Zacharias Niedzwiecki, who is prominently featured in both our 2018 Barihunks calendar and photo book, will be appearing next week in the Chicago Opera Theater's production of Gian Carlo Menotti's The Consul. Niedzwiecki appears on the cover of the photo book.

The Consul will feature the great American soprano Patricia Racette making her role debut as Magda Sorel, a strong-willed and passionate woman who will do anything to ensure her family’s safety.

Niedzwiecki will perform the roles of Assan, a friend of Magda's husband, and the Plainclothesman. Cedric Berry, who has also appeared on this site, sings the role of the secret police officer. Performances are on November 4, 10 and 12 and tickets and additional cast information are available online.

The Consul was Menotti's first full-length opera. It premiered on March 1, 1950 with Patricia Neway as Magda, Cornell MacNeil as John Sorel and Marie Powers as the mother. It went on to have a successful eight month run on Broadway, winning the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Music, as well as the 1950 New York Drama Critics' Circle award for Best Musical.

2018 Photo Book featuring Zacharias Niedzwiecki (right)
If you want to enjoy Zacharias Niedzwiecki and 19 other barihunks year around, you can purchase our 2018 Barihunks Calendar HERE or our Barihunks Photo Book HERE.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Barihunk quartet in Madison Opera's "Carmen"


Corey Crider, Charles Eaton, Thomas Forde and Erik Larson
The Madison Opera will be performing Bizet's Carmen on November 3rd and 5th with a quartet of barihunks. The group is led be Corey Crider as Escamillo, along with Thomas Forde as Zuniga, Charles H. Eaton as Moralès and Erik Earl Larson as Dancäire.

They will be joined by Aleks Romano in the title role, hunkentenor Sean Panikkar as Don José and Cecilia Violetta López as Micaëla. Tickets are available online.

Thomas Forde from the first Barihunks Calendar
Three of the barihunks have appeared with the company before, with Corey Crider performing Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Thomas Forde in Verdi's Un ballo in Maschera and Erik Earl Larson appearing in Heggie's Dead Man Walking. Charles H. Eaton is making his company debut and was recently interviewed on the company's blog. With all of these sexy men to choose from, one has to wonder why things don't end better for Carmen!

Longtime followers of this blog will recall that Thomas Forde appeared in our original Barihunks Calendar with two photos, both sporting one of our tee shirts. Forde, who lost 100 pounds on his journey from BariChunk to BariHunk, also counsels singers about fitness. Visit his website for more information.

Click HERE to listen to Thomas Forde sing "I'm a lonely man" from Carlisle Floyd's Susannah.
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!

Introducing the Komische Opera's Samuli Taskinen

Samuli Taskinen
Finnish bass-barihunk Samuli Taskinen is appearing as Lord Krishna in the Komische Oper's run of Philip Glass' Satyagraha. He is new to our site, other than a brief mention when he was a finalist in the Lappeenranta National Singing Competition.

Samuli began his music studies at the piano at age five and eventually switching to the cello. In 2011, he was accepted into Sibelius Academy's Music education department, where his intention was to become a pop and jazz voice teacher. While at the Academy, he took some voice lessons and was hooked on singing.

Samuli Taskinen and two images from Satyagraha at the Komische
Joining him in the cast are Stefan Cifolelli as Gandhi, Karolina Gumos as Gandni's wife, Cathrin Lange as Miss Schlesen, Mirka Wagner as Mrs. Naidoo, Tom Erik Lie as Mr Kallenbach,  Tomasz Wija as an Indian Colleague and Timothy Oliver as Prince Arjuna, 

Performances of Satyagraha run through November 10th and tickets are available online.

Samuli will remain at the Komische, where he will sing two roles in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, an armored man in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Paolo Calvi in  Schreker's Die Gezeichneten.

Derek Chester & Marco Vassalli/Barihunks book and 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 28, 2017

Domingo conducts barihunks on Don Giovanni's 230th Anniversary

Jiří Brückler, Simone Alberghini & Adrian Sampetrean
Placido Domingo viewed the original 1787 score of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Prague and then proceeded to conduct the opera at the very theater at which Mozart conducted the world premiere of his famous work. The performance on October 27th occurred exactly 230 years from the original performance. He will conduct one more performance on October 29th.

The original score is on loan from the Prague Conservatory and be on display at the Estates Theatre until Sunday, October 29th. 

Placido Domingo with the original score of Don Giovanni
The title role of Don Giovanni will be performed by Italian baritone Simone Alberghini, who hails from Pesaro, the same city as the Prague-based Italian operatic baritone Luigi Bassi who premiered the role. The opera was written with Bassi in mind, who did not like his aria "Finch'han dal vino," and asked Mozart to write another number where he could show off his vocal talents. Mozart wrote the duet with Zerlina "Là ci darem la mano" for Bassi, who is said to have forced five re-writes until he was satisfied.

In addition to Alberghini, the cast includes Adrian Sampetrean as Leporello, Jiří Brückler as Masetto, Jan Šťáva as the Commendatore, Irina Lungu as Donna Anna, Kateřina Kněžíková as Donna Elvira, Julia Novikova as Zerlina and Dmitry Korchak as Don Ottavio.

The performances will also be filmed by Czech Television, with a documentary film of the project also in production.  

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 27, 2017

Celebrating the 90th birthday of composer Dominick Argento

Nathan Gunn in The Aspern Papers; Carolyn Sproule & Joseph Lattanzi in Postcard from Morocco
Dominick Argento was born on October 27, 1927 and has become one of the leading American composers of modern times.

His best known pieces are the operas Postcard from Morocco, Miss Havisham's Fire, The Masque of Angels, and The Aspern Papers. He also is known for the song cycles Six Elizabethan Songs and From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, the latter earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1975. Many well known baritones have performed his operas, including Ryan MacPherson and Joseph Latanzi in Postcard from Morocco, and Nathan Gunn in The Aspern Papers. Two of his early operas, written while he was a student—Sicilian Limes and Colonel Jonathan the Saint—have been withdrawn by the composer.

Argento moved to Minneapolis in 1958 with his new wife, soprano Carolyn Bailey, to begin teaching theory and composition at the University of Minnesota. Within a few years he received commissions from virtually every major performing group in the area. His wife died on February 2, 2006.

 Christòpheren Nomura sings selections from The Andrée Expedition:

Argento became involved in writing music for productions at the then-new Guthrie Theater. In 1963, he co-founded the Center Opera Company, which later became the Minnesota Opera. He composed the short opera The Masque of Angels for the occasion as the first Performing Arts commission of the Walker Art Center. This work—with its complex harmonic language and an emphasis on expansive choral writing that prefigures his later role as a prominent choral composer—firmly established his local prominence, as well as providing a role for his wife.

In 1971 his surrealist opera, Postcard from Morocco, opened at Center Opera and received a glowing review in the New York Times. He eventually received commissions from New York City Opera, the newly formed Minnesota Opera, Washington Opera, and the Baltimore and St. Louis symphonies, among others. He also developed close professional relationships with several prominent singers, notably Frederica von Stade, Janet Baker, and baritone Håkan Hagegård, tailoring some of his best-known song cycles to their talents.

In 1984, the Minnesota Opera commissioned Casanova's Homecoming, with text by the composer, which went on to a well-received run at New York City Opera. At the insistence of Beverly Sills, then musical director of the company, the opera was the first in New York City to be performed in English and accompanied with English supertitles. The opera won the 1986 National Institute for Music Theatre Award.

In 1987, Argento composed The Aspern Papers as a vehicle for Frederica von Stade, with his own libretto adapted from the 1888 novella by Henry James. His next opera, and arguably largest work to date, The Dream of Valentino, premiered at the Kennedy Center in 1993.

Malte Roesner in Barihunks Calendar and 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!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Jarrett Ott makes role debut as Jupiter and rare West Coast recital


Jarrett Ott (Courtesy Opera News, photo: Dario Acosta)
American baritone Jarrett Ott was recently named one of twenty-five “Rising Stars” by Opera News, will make his role debut as Jupiter in Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld (Orphée aux enfers) in November with the New Orleans Opera. The work, first performed in 1858, is said to be the first classical full-length operetta.

The operetta is part of the company's ongoing commitment to French culture and French opera. The piece is an outrageous parody on the life of everyman Orpheus, as he quests heaven and hell for his true love, poking fun at the politics of the day and the state of life in the hands of “the gods.” Orpheus gave birth to the “infernal galop”, which became so popular it was adopted into the “can-can” at the Moulin Rouge decades later. It also had the distinction of insulting just about everyone in Second French Empire.

The cast also includes Casey Candebat  as Orpheus, Cree Carrico as Diana, Daniel Curran as Aristeus/Pluto, Sara Hershkowitz as Eurydice and Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet as Public Opinion.  Performances are on November 10 and 12 and tickets are available online.

On November 18, he makes a rare West Coast appearance with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera in an evening of Mozart and Rossini.  There will be selections from Rossini's La Scala di Seta and The Barber of Seville,  as well as from Mozart's Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro and a performance of the composer's Symphony No. 38 (Prague). Tickets are available online

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!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Nixon in China"

 Franco Pomponi as Richard Nixon & Kyung Chun Kim as Chou En-Lai (Photo: Marie-Noëlle Robert)
Today is the 30th anniversary of the great American opera Nixon in China by composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman.  The work premiered at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987, in a production by Peter Sellars with choreography by Mark Morris.

The three act opera was inspired by U.S. President Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972.  When Sellars approached Adams with the idea for the opera in 1985, Adams was initially reluctant, but eventually decided that the work could be a study in how myths come to be, and accepted the project. Goodman's libretto was the result of considerable research into Nixon's visit, though she disregarded most sources published after the 1972 trip.

The work had been commissioned jointly by the Houston Grand Opera, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Netherlands Opera and the Washington Opera, all of which were to mount early productions of the opera. Fearful that the work might be challenged as defamatory or not in the public domain, Houston Grand Opera obtained insurance to cover such an eventuality. Before its stage premiere, the opera was presented in concert form in May 1987 in San Francisco, with intermission discussions led by John Adams.

Jonathan Beyer sings "News has a kind of mystery" from Nixon in China:

In June 1988, the opera received its European premiere at the Muziektheater in Amsterdam followed by its first German performance later that year at the Bielefeld Opera and its UK premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival.

For the Los Angeles production in 1990, Sellars made revisions to darken the opera in the wake of the Tiananmen Square protests. The original production had not had an intermission between Acts 2 and 3; one was inserted, and Sellars authorized supertitles, which he had forbidden in Houston. Adams conducted the original cast in the French premiere, at the Maison de la Culture de Bobigny, Paris, on December 14, 1991. Despite their love for Western music, the opera has never been performed in China.

Remarkably, a number of barihunks have performed the role of Richard Nixon, beginning with James Maddalena at the premiere, followed notably by Franco Pomponi, Brian Mulligan and Ola Eliasson. A number of baritones have used the Act 1 aria "News has a kind of mystery" as an audition piece or in competitions to great effect, most notably Jonathan Beyer.   

Nixon in China contains elements of minimalism., which originated in the United States in the 1960s and is characterized by stasis and repetition in place of the melodic development associated with conventional music. The opera is scored for an orchestra without bassoons, French horns, and tuba, but augmented by saxophones, pianos, and electronic synthesizer. The percussion section incorporates numerous special effects, including a wood block, sandpaper blocks, slapsticks and sleigh bells.

The next scheduled performance is at the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg in Germany in May 2018. Houston reprised the opera in January with Scott Hendricks in the title role.

Joa Helgesson and Derek Chester 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!

Daniel Okulitch to make ENO debut in Muhly's Marnie; Perform all-Glen Roven concert

Coverboy Daniel Okulitch and performing The Last Savage
Canadian barihunk Daniel Okulitch is hitting the opera stage and the concert platform in London next month. 

On November 18th, he makes his debut with the English National Opera (ENO) as Mark Rutland in the highly anticipated world premiere of Nico Muhly's opera Marnie.  Following his highly-acclaimed opera Two Boys in 2011, this is Muhly’s second world premiere for ENO. Okulitch will be joined by mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and soprano Leslie Garrett.

With a libretto by Nicholas Wright, Marnie is based on the novel by Winston Graham and it examines the cost of freedom, the limitations of forgiveness and the impossibility of escaping the past. Set in 1950s London, the psychological thriller tells the story of a woman who has gone through life embezzling her employers, changing her identity, being forced into a loveless marriage by Okulitch's character, and eventually being forced to confront her past. 

Performances run from November 18-December 3 and tickets are available online

Glen Roven and Daniel Okulitch sings "Listening to Jazz Now":

In the middle of his run of Marnie, Okulitch will hit the concert stage on November 22 with mezzo-sopranos Kim Criswell and Lucy Schaufer for an evening dedicated to New York-based composer Glen Roven. Okulitch, who has sung Roven's music in numerous concerts, will perform his Songs from the Underground and his setting of Goodnight Moon

Roven's Songs of the Underground is a 15-song cycle consisting of songs based on texts by Yeats, Shelley, Milton, Whitman, Auden, Wordsworth, and Dylan Thomas. The music moves between classical and musical theater forms depending on the text. Originally written for soprano Lauren Flanigan, Goodnight Moon is one of two settings by Roven based on the children's books (the other being Runaway Bunny).

The recital will be at the 1901 Arts Club and tickets are available online. The concert also includes Two Song by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Saraband from Symphony No.2 and The Hillary Speeches. 

Malte Roesner in 2018 Barihunk 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!

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!