Thursday, March 21, 2019

"As One" opens at Portland Opera with Lee Gregory

Hannah Penn and Lee Gregory (Photo by Cory Weaver/Portland Opera)
Barihunk Lee Gregory, who starred in the Southern California premiere of Laura Kaminsky's opera "As One" at the Long Beach Opera in 2017, will reprise the role up the coast when he opens as "Hannah before" at the Portland Opera on March 22nd.

The world premiere of Laura Kaminsky's opera "As One," which explores the revelatory and redemptive journey of a transgender individual, opened on September 4, 2014 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the real-life married couple of mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and barihunk Kelly Markgraf. The opera was a critical success and has been performed throughout the country.

Joining Lee Gregory in Portland as "Hannah after" will be soprano Hannah Penn.

Performances will be on March 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 and tickets are available online. There will be an extended Q&A after the Sunday, March 24th performance, which is free and open to the public.

Kaminsky was inspired to write As One after reading an article in the New York Times in 2008 about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from straight to gay. The opera is based on the life experience of noted filmmaker Kimberly Reed.

As One provides insights into both the personal and philosophical questions at the core of how personhood is defined, as well as into the compromised civil and humans rights of transgender individuals in the broader societal framework.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Baritone Robin Adams makes house debut at Staatsoper Stuttgart

Robin Adams (Image from Staatsoper Stuttgart)

Baritone Robin Adams made his debut yesterday at the Staatsoper Stuttgart in the title role of Henze’s opera Der Prinz von Homburg.

The initial impetus for Henze’s Der Prinz von Homburg came from Italian director, Luchino Visconti, with whom the composer had worked with on the ballet Maratona di Danza in 1957. Henze asked Ingeborg Bachmann to adapt the libretto from Heinrich von Kleist’s play, Prinz Friedrich von Homburg oder die Schlacht bei Fehrbellin and the opera was premiered on May 22, 1960 in Hamburg. The text shows Henze's strong personal dislike of German militarism.

The opera begins with the eponymous Prince of Homburg who, having been distracted by a daydream before a major battle, misses the field marshal’s briefing and risks the army’s victory when he leads his troops into the fight. The battle is won nonetheless, but the prince is sentenced to death for disregarding orders. Der Prinz von Homburg explores the prince’s struggle with guilt and reconciliation, as well as the justice or injustice of his sentence.

Performance will run until May 4th and tickets and cast information is available online.

Henzes's operas can be seen at three other houses this year. Beginning in May with Der junge Lord at the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich and his final opera Phaedra at the Royal Opera House in London featuring the Jette Parker Young Artists. In July, a new production of the Elegy for Young Lovers will open at Theater Aachen.

Vittorio Prato to make role and house debut in Hamburg

Vittorio Prato (Photo from artist's website)
Vittorio Prato will make both his role debut and house debut when he steps on the stage this week at the Hamburg State Opera.

He'll be singing the role of Lescaut in Puccini's opera Manon Lescaut, led by the stunning soprano Kristine Opolais in the title role and tenor Jorge de León as Des Grieux. Performance are on March 21 and 29 and tickets are available online.

Puccini's libretto is an amalgam of text by five different librettists whom Puccini employed, including the composer Ruggero Leoncavallo, as well as Marco Praga, Giuseppe Giacosa, Domenico Oliva and Luigi Illica. The opera was composed between 1890 and 1893 and is based on the 1731 novel L'histoire du chevalier des Grieux et de Manon Lescaut by the Abbé Prévost. It was the composer's third opera and his first big success.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Damien Pass in "Jakob Lenz" at Festival le Balcon

Damien Pass
Australian barihunk Damien Pass (whose birthday is today), is taking on the role of Oberlin in Wolfgang Rihm's one act chamber opera Jakob Lenz at the Festival le Balcon at the Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet in Paris. The title role is being sung by Vincent Vantyghem, as regular with Maxime Pascal’s contemporary Ensemble Le Balcon. Vantyghem has also sung the role at the Dialogues Festival in Salzburg. 

The opera runs through March 29th and tickets are available online

The opera was first performed at the Hamburg Staatsoper in 1979 with the late English baritone Richard Salter in the title role. It has subsequently been performed at the Wiener Festwochen and at Oper Stuttgart with Georg Nigl, Teatro Comunale di Bolgna with Tomas Möwes, Theater Bielefeld with Evgueniy Alexiev and at the English National Opera with Andrew Shore. 

The opera Jakob Lenz is based on the novella "Lenz" by Georg Büchner which deals with an incident in the life of the German poet. Lenz, who along with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, formed the “Sturm und Drang” (Storm and Stress) movement in German literature which made German authors the cultural leaders of Europe during the 18th century. 

Jakob Lenz at the Athénée Théâtre (Photo: © Le Balcon)

The source of Büchner's material comes from the diaries of the social reformer and priest Johann Friedrich Oberlin, which detail the activities of his house guest, who was clearly suffering from mental illness at the time.  The suicidal poet stayed with Oberlin in a small village in the Vosges Mountains near the German-French border in the hope of recovering from his depression.

Büchner's opening pages describing the mountain landscape and hinting at Lenz's inner state with the single sentence "he did not feel at all tired, only it sometimes annoyed him that he could not walk on his hands instead of his feet" are reduced to a stage direction, but the rest of the libretto roughly follows Büchner's outline. A key element of the libretto deals with his trauma around the death of a small child whom was he was unable to resuscitate.

At the end of Lenz's life he lived with Goethe's brother-in-law, Johann Georg Schlosser, where he lived in poverty.  After years of increasingly poor physical health and debilitating mental problems, Lenz died on the streets of Moscow 1792.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Cody Quattlebaum to premiere new edition of Handel's Brockes Passion

Cody Quattlebaum
Bass-barihunk Cody Quattlebaum will perform the role of Christus with The Academy of Ancient Music in a performance recording of Handel’s Brockes Passion. The project is the culmination of several years of scholarly research, setting Handel’s Passion as the composer intended, featuring previously unheard music and instrumentation. 

The restored version reinstates the first 63 ‘missing’ bars, brings in additional instruments, and showcases choruses and other numbers omitted from some editions.

Led by Richard Egarr, The Academy of Ancient Music will premiere the new edition at the Barbican Centre in London on Good Friday, April 19th, which is the 300th anniversary of the work’s premiere. The rest of the cast includes Robert Murray as the Evangelist), Elizabeth Watts as the Daughter of Zion, Ruby Hughes as the Believing Soul, Tim Mead as Judas and Gwilym Bowen as Peter.

Cody Quattlebaum sings "Deh vieni alla finestra":

The text of Brockes Passion is based on text by the German poet Barthold Heinrich Brockes, which has been set to music by numerous composers, including Georg Philipp Telemann. It is not known exactly why or when Handel set the text of the Brockes Passion, but the work was performed in Hamburg in 1719.

The performance will be recorded for release on AAM Records later in the year.

This season at the Dutch National Opera, Quattlebaum will perform Bruno Zirato in Hamel's Caruso a Cuba and Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Ryan McKinny featured in world premiere of Rilke Songs

Ryan McKinny (Photo from artist website)
Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will mark his 25th and final season as the San Francisco Symphony’s music director with a schedule that includes newly commissioned works by John Adams, Julia Wolfe, Adam Schoenberg and the composer/conductor himself.

Bass-barihunk Ryan McKinny will be featured along with mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke in the world premiere of Tilson Thomas' composition, "Rilke Songs," a musical setting of lyric poems by German modernist poet Rainer Maria Rilke. A number of composers have set Rilke texts to music, including Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Anton Webern, Arnold Schoenberg and Peter Lieberson.

Tilson Thomas has been an active composer throughout his career  He has set the texts of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Anne Frank. Other compositions include Street Song for brass instruments and Agnegram, an overture for orchestra.

Performances run from January 9-12 and tickets and additional concert information is available online.

Ryan McKinny can currently be seen in the European premiere of John Adams' "Girls of the Golden West" at the Dutch National Opera

Four low male voices advance to Met Semifinals

Hubert Zapiór and William Guanbo Su
Twenty-one young opera singers who have won regional auditions around the United States will compete in the semifinal round of the country's leading vocal competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, on Sunday, March 24.

The 2019 semifinalists include two baritones, one bass-baritone, one bass, nine sopranos, three mezzo-sopranos and five tenors.

The two baritone semifinalists are Thomas Glass (Rocky Mountain Region: Edina, Minnesota) and Hubert Zapiór (Eastern Region: Brzesko, Poland).  The bass-baritone semifinalist is Nicholas Newton (Western Region: San Diego, California).  The bass is William Guanbo Su (Eastern Region: New York, New York).

The closed semifinal competition, held on the Met stage before a panel of judges, will determine the select group of finalists who will advance to the final round of the competition-the Grand Finals, which is open to the public and will be held on the Met stage on Sunday, March 31.

William Guanbo Su sings Rossini's La calunnia:

The finalists who advance to the Grand Finals will have a week of training with Met musical and dramatic coaches to prepare for the Grand Finals Concert on March 31. Each finalist will sing two arias on the Met stage with conductor Carlo Rizzi leading the Met Orchestra. Bass-barihunk Christian Van Horn, who was a Grand Finals winner in 2003, will perform for the audience while the judges deliberate to decide the Grand Finals winners. Following the performance, the winners will be announced, each of whom will receive a cash prize of $15,000 and career-making exposure. 

Other singers who advanced are Sylvia D'Eramo, Monica Dewey, Meryl Dominguez, Anna Dugan, Alaysha Fox, Mary Hoskins, Meghan Kasanders, Murrella Parton, Elena Villalón, Abigail Dock, Camille Sherman, Michaela Wolz, Piotr Buszewski, Dashuai Chen, Anthony Ciaramitaro, Miles Mykkanen and Joshua Lee Wheeker.

Tickets for the Grand Finals Concert are on sale now and may be purchased at the Met Box Office, by phone at (212) 362-6000, or online.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Trio of low male voices in UK staged premiere of Smetena's Libuše

James Quilligan (Photo: Twitter @JamesQuilligan)
Regular readers (with a long memory) might recall our post in 2015 about the first barihunk sextet to be featured in a professional production. British barihunk James Quilligan was part of that cast and now he's featured with a trio of male low voices in the the British staged premiere of Smetana's 1872 masterpiece Libuše.

The U.K. debut of Libuše will debut take place on March 18th with the University College Opera. Joining Quilligan as Chrudos, will be British baritone Robert Davies as Libuše's husband Přemysl and Scottish baritone John Mackenzie as Lutobor. Joining the men will be Kirstin Sharpin as the queen Libuše and Eve Daniell as Krasava. The opera is directed by Cecilia Stinton. Additional performances are on March 20, 22 and 23 and tickets are available online.

Premysl's aria and quartet from Libuše:

In Czech historical myth, Libuše, the title character, prophesied the founding of Prague. In the current production, Smetana's Bohemian queen and her medieval court reside in a modern-day city, where soaring skyscrapers promise glamour and wealth at a human cost.

The opera was composed in 1871–72 for the coronation of Franz Josef as King of Bohemia, but was not performed. The opera was finally premiered nine years later at the National Theatre in Prague. After a fire destroyed the theater, the opera was performed at the reopening in 1883. The current production is being performed to celebrate the refurbishing and reopening of the 541-seat Bloomsbury Theatre, marking the University College Opera's return to its home after three years away performing at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Barihunk Trio in Boston's Rape of Lucretia

Brandon Cedel, Duncan Rock and David McFerrin (Photos from artist's websites)
Boston Lyric Opera’s season of rebels, dissenters and tales of strong women continues with Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, The entire series of operas is being led by women directors.

The Rape of Lucretia will feature a trio of barihunks, led by Duncan Rock as Tarquinius, Brandon Cedel as Collatinus and David McFerrin as Junius. They'll be joined by Kelley O’Connor as Lucretia, Margaret Lattimore as Bianca, Sara Womble as Lucia, and Jesse Darden and Antonia Tamer as the Male Chorus and Female Chorus. The opera runs from March 11-17 at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in Boston's Fort Point Neighborhood. Tickets are available online.

Brandon Cedel  & Duncan Rock rehearsing (Photo: BLO)
Duncan Rock created a sensation when he performed the role of Tarquinius with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in a performance that was broadcast worldwide. He also performed the role at the Deutsche Oper Berlin to great acclaim. Rock made his U.S. stage debut the Boston Lyric Opera in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni in 2015.

The opera tells the story of Lucretia, who is raped by the tyrant Tarquinius Superbus, ruler of Rome. Unable to live with the shame, Lucretia  commits suicide. The action of the opera is commented on throughout by a Male and Female Chorus who occupy another dimension, at times narrating the story and at times voicing the thoughts of the different characters.  The opera was not particularly well received by audiences or critics at the time, but the chamber opera has grown in popularity in recent years.
Duncan Rock rehearsing Tarquinius (Photo courtesy BLO)
Brandon Cedel is making his role debut as Collatinus. David McFerrin has been a regular at the Boston Lyric Opera, appearing as Ferguson in Burke & Hare, an Officer in Glass' In The Penal Colony, Kuligin in Katya Kabanova, Captain McFarlane in Lizzie Borden and Yamadori in Madam Butterfly.

Did you know that Duncan Rock started his musical career playing the bagpipes, and that he also played basketball as well as the bass?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Reader Submission: Barihunk Denis Milo

Denis Milo (Photos courtesy of artist)
Moscow born Denis Milo has lived in Germany since childhood and is currently a member of the Staatsoper Nürnberg.

He started his musical training playing the flute at age eight and later switched to voice, with early vocal training from renowned baritones Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Thomas Quasthoff in Berlin. He made his first stage appearance at age twelve in a musical production of Emil and the Detectives, which toured Europe, North America and Japan.

Denis studied at the Berlin University of Arts with Enrico Facini, where he performed Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte and Valentin in Gounod's Faust. In early 2016, he debuted as Nardo in Mozart's La finta giardiniera with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and later that year he participated in the Mozart Residency at the Académie du Festival d'Aix en Provence.

In 2016, Milo became a member of the Komische Oper Berlin Opera Studio where his roles included Fiorello in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, Moralès in Bizet's Carmen, Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Zopire in Rameau's Zoroastre and L'horloge in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges.

Since 2018 Denis has been a member of the Ensemble of the Staatsoper Nürnberg, where is rooles have included Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Posa  in Verdi's Don Carlos.

In 2017, he performed at the New Music World Festival, singing the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and the Count in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.

Milo has an extensive concert repertoire, which includes Bach cantatas, Verdi’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana and Beethoven’s Symphony No 9

As an actor, he has performed the role of Claudio in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Six Low Male Voices Amongst 20 Finalists at Cardiff Singer of the World

Leonardo Lee and Patrick Guetti
Low male voices will be well represented at the 36th BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, as they comprise six of the final twenty competitors. Competing for the prestigious prize from June 15-22 will be baritone Jorge Espino from Mexico, baritone Badral Chuluunbaatar from Mongolia, baritone Leonardo Lee from South Korea, baritone Andrei Kymach from Ukraine, bass Patrick Guetti from the United States  and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba from the United States.

Winners of the Singer of the Year Prize and Song Prize will receive £20,000 and £10,000 respectively. An Audience Prize of £2,500 will also be awarded. 

This year's panel of judges will be opera director David Pountney, tenor José Cura, soprano Dame Felicity Lott, mezzo-soprano Federica von Stade, and Grange Park Opera founder Wasfi Kani.

Richard Ollarsaba sings "Se vuol ballare" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro:

A number of operas most famous low voices were winners at Cardiff, most famously Dmitri Hvorostovsky who won the Main Prize in 1989 and Bryn Terfel who won the Song Prize that same year. Other winners have included Mongolian baritone Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar who was co-winner of the Song Prize in 2017, Tommi Hakala who won the Main Prize in 2003, Christopher Maltman who won the Song Prize in 1997, Paul Whelan who won the Song Prize in 1993 and Jacques Imbrailo who won the coveted Audience Prize in 2007.

The other 2019 competitors are Guadalupe Barrientos, Lauren Fagan, Camila Titinger, Mingjie Lei, Katie Bray, Adriana Gonzalez, Luis Gomes, Roman Arndt, Karina Kherunts, Yulia Mennibaeva, Owen Metsileng, Sooyeon Lee, Lena Belkina and Angharad Lyddon.

Friday, March 1, 2019

David Adam Moore returns to Atlanta Opera as Eugene Onegin

David Adam Moore in A Streetcar Named Desire (Photo: David Beloff)
American barihunk David Adam Moore returns to the Atlanta Opera on March 2nd in the title role of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. He previously sang Schubert's Winterreise with the company in a  production designed by GLMMR with costumes by Moore's partner Vita Tzykun.

He last sang the role of Onegin with the Arizona Opera in 2015. The Atlanta cast includes tenor William Burden as Lensky, Raquel González as Tatyana and Megan Marino as Olga. There are additional performances on March 5, 8 and 10 and tickets are available online.

David Adam Moore highlights from Winterreise:

Tchaikovsky based his opera on Alexander Pushkin's s novel, which was written in verse and is considered a classic of Russian literature. The idea of setting the story to music was suggested to the composer by the great Russian mezzo-soprano Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya. Tchaikovsky arranged much of the verse himself into the libretto with help from his friend Konstantin Shilovsky.

Moore will also be making his Teatro Colòn debut in May 2019 singing one of greatest roles,  Stanley Kowalski in Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire

Thursday, February 28, 2019

BariToned to make West Coast Debut

One of our favorite shows, BariToned, will finally be making its West Coast debut with three performances in California. They will kick of their West Coast tour with a performance at Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego on April 6th, then at Rockwell's in Los Angeles on April 9th and finally at the Oasis nightclub in San Francisco on April 10th at 8 PM. It seems appropriate that they finally appear in California whose state animal is the Grizzly Bear.

The "I Hate Men" show includes the Broadway hits “Always True To You In My Fashion” by Cole Porter from Kiss Me Kate, “Bring On The Men” by Frank Wildhorn from Jekyll & Hyde, “Wash That Man” by Rodgers and Hammerstein from South Pacific, and “Big Spender” by Cy Coleman from Sweet Charity, all mashed up together to create songs about men and their proclivities, all delivered with some gender-bending fun. 

The trios new tour also includes performances on the East Coast at Birdland in New York on April 19, and Avenel on April 24th, June 20th and June 21st.


Miskie is a New York-based Pennsylvania native who has performed Julian Marsh in 42nd Street, Cinderella's Prince/The Wolf in Into The Woods, Fred Graham in Kiss Me Kate, Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and many more. We recently posted about his book "Cancer, Musical Theatre, and Other Chronic Illnesses" which is available on Amazon and Kindle. 

Joe Hager is a New York-based Kansas native who has performed Dennis Dupree in Rock of Ages with Norwegian Cruise Lines for the last seven years. Additional credits include the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast as Gaston, the international tour of Phantom of the Opera as Monsieur Richard,  Tom MacKennle in the Seven Year Itch at the York Theatre. Additional credits include Javert in Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Macheath in The Three Penny Opera at the Brevard Music Center, and Marcello in La boheme at Hidden Valley Opera.
Oklahoman Kyle Hines dubs himself a “Lumber Sexual.” Kyle specializes in playing deeper than the average athlete – funny in an awkward way, but still sort of sexy. He also enjoys fixing things in his apartment while listening to the soothing sounds of the great Barbra Streisand. Above all, Kyle loves nothing more than spending an entire day hanging out with his wife and three rescue dog-babies – Rudy, Peanut, and Sushi. Some of Kyle’s favorite roles include Adam/Lazarus in the NY Times Critics’ Pick and Drama Desk Award Winning Play, The Mysteries at the Flea Theatre, and Captain Grizzle Beard in the NY Times Critics’ Pick & Off-Broadway Alliance Award Winning musical The Pirate La Dee Da at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Most recently, Kyle played Jesus in the Infinity Theatre Company’s production of Godspell, but lately has been spending most of his days with his rescue Baritones, Joe and Edward.

Reader Submission: Italian barihunk Giulio Alvise Caselli

Giulio Alvise Caselli (Photos: Theater Augsburg)
A reader in Germany contacted us about Giulio Alvise Caselli, who will be appearing in a revival of Othmar Schoeck's rarely performed Das Schloß Dürande from March 8-July 6 at the Staatstheater Meiningen. Written in a late-tonal Modernist style reminiscent of operas by Zemlinksy and Schreker, the opera is based on a novella by Joseph von Eichendorff.

The opera premiered at the Berlin State Opera on April 1, 1943 and outraged the Nazis. Military leader Hermann Goering declared it to be “Scheiß!” and ordered it to disappear from the repertory after four performances. Goering believed that the opera's ending portended a bad ending for the Nazi regime.

Video highlights of Giulio Alvise Caselli:

Italian-born Giulio Alvise Caselli studied violin , literature and linguistics in Ferrara and Regensburg, before studying voice with his mother, the soprano and singing professor Maria Gabriella Munari.

He is currently a member of the ensemble at the Staatstheater Meiningen, where he performed  Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Biterolf in Wagner's Tannhäuser and Moralès in Bizet's Carmen. He also appeared in the title role of Don Giovanni in the Italian Television RAI 3 broadcast from the Biennale Musica 2010 in Venice.

From 2011-2017, he was a member of the ensemble at the Theater Augsburg, where he made his role debut as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. He also sang Dr. Falke in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Pelléas in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Nardo in Mozart's La finta giardiniera, Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Algerier in Luigi Nono's “Intolleranza 1960” and Hans Scholl in Zimmermann's Weiße Rose.

Giulio Alvise Caselli (Photos: Theater Augsburg)
He has appeared in various states of undress in a number of productions, including changing into his briefs in Mozart's Don Giovanni, shirtless in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and stripped down as Nardo in the composer's La Finta Giardiniera and most famously lying naked on the stage as Pelleas in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande for an entire act.

From May 23 to June 14, he'll appear in the baritone part of a theatrical representation of Brahm's Liebeslieder. Tickets for Liebeslieder and Das Schloß Dürande are available online.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Barihunk Matt Worth named to faculty at SF Conservatory of Music

Matt Worth (Photo from artist website)
Barihunk Matthew Worth is joining the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music n Fall 2019, joining the voice department led by chair and former tenor César Ulloa. The acclaimed school has a number of noted singers on faculty, including Catherine Cook, Susanne Mentzer, Patricia Craig, Deborah Voigt and Rhoslyn Jones.

Last season, he created the role of the Narrator in the world premiere of The Passion of Yeshua with the Oregon Bach Festival. This season he will return to the role at Royce Hall in Los Angeles and again with the Buffalo Philharmonic. He recently could be seen on PBS' Great Performances as Father Flynn in Douglas Cuomo's Doubt from Minnesota Opera.

The 2018-2019 season also includes Worth’s return to Boston Lyric Opera as Figaro in Rosetta Cucchi’s production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and a workshop performance of Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed’s Postville, commissioned by Santa Fe Opera and San Francisco Opera.

Last season, Worth performed the title role in David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s JFK with Opéra de Montréal, Bernstein’s Arias & Barcarolles with the New York Festival of Song at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Laura Kaminsky and Mark Campbell’s As One with Cincinnati Opera, and recitals at the University of Cincinnati and Austin Peay University.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Curtis Sullivan opens as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast

Curtis Sullivan flexes his beastly side
Canadian barihunk Curtis Sullivan, who we've featured numerous times on this site for his sexy and beautifully sung appearances with Opera Atelier, will be crossing over to Broadway when he opens tonight as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. The musical is being presented by Tutta Musica at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick from February 23 through March 3rd. Tickets are available online.

At Opera Atelier he's performed Selim in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte, as well as Samiel in Weber's Der Freischütz.

Sullivan is not new to crossover music, as he's part of the Canadian trio Bravura, which performs classic Broadway, Pop standards, Italian folk songs and classical music. The other members include George Masswohl and James Levesque.

Sullivan is not the only operatic barihunk to sing Gaston on stage. In 2015, Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek joined the national touring company of the show on their U.S. tour.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Introducing American barihunk and podcaster Jared Ice

Jared Ice (Photos l & r: Uwe Hauth)
A fellow barihunk brought American baritone Jared Ice to our attention.

Ice grew up in Seattle and received his Master’s Degree from the University of Washington. After working with Dolora Zajick at her Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, he dabbled in various types of music including Country & Western, Off-Broadway and opera.

After arriving in Germany in 2013,  he won the International Kammeroper Schloss Rhiensberg Singing Competition, eventually landing the role of Holofernes in Siegfried Matthus’ opera Judith with the Staatstheater Braunschweig.

Jared Ice sings the Te Deum from Puccini's Tosca:

He has gone on to sing a number of Siegfried Matthus’ new operas, including world premieres in Bochum, Frankfurt, and Berlin. In 2018, he performed in the burlesque opera “A Bad Man’s Life” in Rheinsberg, written by the composer's son Frank Matthus. The opera was subsequently performed in Berlin, Latvia and Estonia.

In 2016, he returned to the Rheinsberg summer festival to sing the role of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca. In 2017, he made his debut at the Hamburger Kammeroper in Hamburg performing Count Walter in Verdi’s Luisa Miller.

Jared Ice (Photo: Oliver Junge)
In 2018, Ice started the opera podcast “Sex, Drugs, and Opera” with tenor Michael Pegher, which has featured barihunks John Brancy and George Festl. They have covered topics ranging from addiction to dealing with rejection, as well as giving their unique breakdown of opera plots.

Ice also founded his own music production company, Towermint Studios, which creates music for corporate training videos, advertisements or webinars.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Former opera bass wins RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars

Kevin Bertin aka Monet X Change
RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Monet X Change, who has a degree in opera performance and has appeared professionally as a bass, has won RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars along with Trinity the Tuck. It was the first time in the show's history that two people won the crown.

Monet X Change previously placed sixth and won Miss Congeniality on the tenth season. His offstage name is Kevin Bertin and he was born in Saint Lucia and raised in the Caribbean until the age of eleven. Since then, Bertin has lived in New York City.

Monet X Change sings Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit": 

A graduate of the Westminster Choir College, he made his debut with the Westminster Opera Theater in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte and later performed Sarastro in the composer's Die Zauberflöte. He became a featured soloist with the Westminster Choir on their California and Florida tours, performing in Bach's Magnificat, Brahms' Requiem, and Bruckner's Te Deum.

He also appeared as Sarastro at the Portland Opera for the Education and Outreach Program, and also sang Colline in Puccini's La bohème

As a drag performer, he was mentored by Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, who taught him how to sew, as well as some performance tips. Monet's drag mother is Honey Davenport, who appeared on Season 5 of the show.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Karl V: First full-length twelve-tone opera to be broadcast

Actor Janus Torp and Bo Skovhus (Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper)
Ernst Krenek's "Karl V," the first full-length twelve-tone opera will be broadcast from the Bavarian State Opera on February 23rd with barihunk Bo Skovhus in the title role. The opera can be seen live on February 16, 21 and 23. 

The opera revolves around the life the Holy Roman Emperor, Karl V, particularly the end of his life. In his life confession he defends his actions as ruler and his failure to establish a grand Christian empire to the monk, Juan de Regla.

Krenek’s opera Karl V has rarely been performed since its debut on June 22, 1938. The opera created a cause célèbre when the 1934 premiere in Vienna was cancelled after Krenek was blacklisted in Germany by the Nazi government immediately following the German parliamentary elections in March 1933. Krenek revised the opera in 1954. Krenek was wrongly named as a Jewish composer during the Third Reich and ended up fleeing to the United States due to constant threats from the Nazi regime.

Bo Skovhus (Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper)
It was performed at the Bregenzer Festspiele in 2008 and has previously been seen in Munich. Performances at the Bavarian State Opera run through February 23rd, but the opera will also be performed at the Munich Opera Festival on July 19th.

The current modernist staging was produced by Carlus Padrissa, a member and co-founder of the theatre group, La Fura dels Baus, with stage designs and costumes by artist Lita Cabellut.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Introducing Belgian barihunk Fabio Lesuisse

Fabio Lesuisse (photos: Theater Aachen)
Belgian barihunk Fabio Lesuisse, who will turn 27 on February 17th, is our newest addition to Barihunks. He is a graduate of the Cologne University of Music and First Prize winner at the 2015 Bach Competition in Barcelona, Spain. 

He is currently a guest artist at the Theater Aachen in Germany, where he singing Mercutio in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette and Junior in Bernstein's A Quiet Place, which is part of a double-bill with Trouble in Tahiti.

He has performed the title role in T.J. Hermann's Hamlet at the Theater Dortmund, as well as numerous roles at Oper Bonn, including Morales in Bizet's Carmen, Ned Keene in Britten's Peter Grimes, Marco in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Ramiro in Ravel's L'heure Espagnole.

Performances of A Quiet Place continue on February 16, 24 and 27, as well as March 10 and April 11. Performances of Roméo et Juliette are on February 17, March 9 and 24, as well as April 4, 13 and 22.

Upcoming performances include Killian in Weber's Der Freischütz, which opens on March 3rd and Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, opening this summer.

Monday, February 11, 2019

“The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” wins Grammy for best Opera Recording

Ed Parks as Steve Jobs (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Opera)
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” by composer Mason Bates walked away with the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. The recording featured two barihunks, Edward Parks and Kelly Markgraf, along with Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu and conductor Michael Christie with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.

Daniel Kushner in his "Critic's Choice" review in Opera News wrote of the opera, that it "may well become a staple in the twenty-first century’s operatic’s the work’s subtle nuances in structure, text and the musical treatment of the characters that are most impactful—and may point to where the future of opera is headed."

Every nominee for Best Opera Recording this year featured a barihunk. The other nominees were:

  • John Adams, Doctor Atomic, featuring barihunk Aubrey Allicock, Gerald Finley, Julia Bullock and Brindley Sherratt. 
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully, Alceste, featuring barihunks Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Douglas Williams, Emiliano Gonzalez, Toro and Judith Van Wanroij. 
  • Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier, featuring Günther Groissböck, Elīna Garanča and Erin Morley. 
  • Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto, featuring the late barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Nadine Sierra.
There are two performances of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs coming up on the West Coast. The Seattle Opera will perform the piece from February 23 through March 9th with John Moore as Steve Jobs with Nicole Paiement conducting. The San Francisco Opera will present the opera from June 20 through July 3r with Edward Parks as Steve Jobs and Michael Christie conducting.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Simon Keenlyside knighted by Prince Charles

Simon Keenlyside (photos: Clarence House)
British barihunk Simon Keenlyside was knighted by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on February 7, 2019 for his "services to music.'

After the ceremony, he commented,  "I like the fact that the arts in some way are included. It's a wonderful present and I am thrilled to have it."

The 59-year-old singer made his debut as Lescaut in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1987.  The following year, he performed Count Almaviva in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Hamburg State Opera. In 1989, he joined the roster of Scottish Opera, where he remained until 1994, performing a wide range of repertory from operetta to Puccini, Britten and Richard Strauss.

He won a Grammy Award for his recording of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and in 2011 was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year.
Also knighted at the ceremony was Nobel Prize-winning author Kazou Ishiguro, who wrote "Remains Of The Day," "Never Let Me Go" and "An Artist Of The Floating World."

Hadleigh Adams to make European opera stage debut in Netherlands

Hadleigh Adams (Photo right: Cory Weaver)
Bass-barihunk Hadleigh Adams will make his long overdue European debut in a staged performance of an opera. The San Francisco-based singer will appear in Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the Nederlandse Reisopera from March 16th through April 9th. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Adams will be performing the role of the buffoonish, hypocritical, yet charming Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, who sings the popular piece "In Praise of Women." The most famous piece from the opera is Desiree's "Send in the Clowns," which has been popularized by numerous singers, including Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan.

Adams has previously performed in Europe, but not in a professionally staged operatic production. He attended the Guildhall School of Music in London, where he sang Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and also performed Bach's St Matthew Passion at the Royal National Theatre in London, as well as Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex in a concert performance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since its premiere in 1973, A Little Night Music has become a staple of Broadway musical theaters and opera companies, toeing the lines between a musical, operetta and opera. Numerous writers and critics have argued whether the piece should be categorized as a musical or an operetta/opera. Although the piece is best known for its runs on Broadway and London's West End, a number of opera companies have produced the piece, including the New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Australia and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler were inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, which involves the romantic lives of several couples. A film of the musical was released in 1977 featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Len Cariou, Lesley-Anne Down, and Diana Rigg.

On June 4th, Adams returns to California to join the San Francisco Symphony on June 4th for Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. He then performs in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at both the Cincinnati Opera and the San Francisco Opera.

James Wright makes company debut in Shreveport before heading to Sunshine State

Baritone James Wright
We first featured American barihunk James Wright back in 2015, but haven't featured him since. A reader just spotted him making his company debut as Larry in Robert Paterson's Masquerade at Shreveport Opera.

Masquerade is part of a trio of operas from the composer's "Three Way," which also includes The Companion and Safe Word. Three Way premiered at the Nashville Opera in 2017 and was subsequently performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music later that same year.

The plot revolves around four couples at a party at a country mansion who during the course of an evening are forced to face their deepest taboos. The masquerade party is hosted by Pleasure Pilgrims, an online community of sensualists and pleasure seekers, who come from all walks of life to shed the mundaneness of their everyday lives and push the limits of erotic expression.

There is one remaining performance on Saturday, February 9th.

James Wright sings "Largo al factotum":

James Wright can next be seen at Opera Orlando in Florida, where he performs the role of Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which is being paired with Stravinsky's Pulcinella. The cast also includes Brian Cheney as Canio, Suzanne Kantorski as Nedda, Daniel Scofield as Tonio and Alex Mansoori as Beppe. Performances run from March 22-26. Tickets are available online.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Christopher Maltman featured in Marnie on Great Performances

Isabel Leonard and Christopher Maltman in Marnie (Image courtesy of The Met)
British barihunk Christopher Maltman will star alongside mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard in Nico Muhly and Nicholas Wright’s “Marnie” on PBS’s Great Performances son Friday, February 1, 2019. Check HERE to see what stations are broadcasting near you.

Nico Muhly’s opera, based on the 1961 Winston Graham thriller that inspired the iconic Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name. The opera also features Mark Rutland. Janis Kelly, Denyce Graves, and Iestyn Davies, with Robert Spano conducting.

Michael Mayer’s production, which had its U.S. debut at the Met in fall 2018, takes place in England, where the alluring Marnie pursues a life of crime and dishonesty by assuming new identities after stealing from her employers. After pulling off another heist and adapting a new look successfully, she moves on to a new job at Halcyon Printing where her new boss is widower Mark Rutland. Marnie makes an attempt to steal from the company’s safe but is caught red-handed by Mark, who blackmails her into marrying him by threatening to turn her in to the police. Now forced into a loveless marriage, Marnie must face the traumas of her childhood and past indiscretions to free herself from a vicious cycle of deception.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Jesse Blumberg in world premiere of Edwin Huizinga's Annunciation

Jesse Blumberg and Opera Atelier
Barihunk and early music specialist Jesse Blumberg will be featured in Opera Atelier's double-bill of The Angel Speaks and the Canadian premiere of Annunciation, a new commission by Toronto-based composer and violinist Edwin Huizinga for period instruments. The concert will blend baroque music with contemporary music inspired by early music.

The Angel Speaks unites baroque music, contemporary music and dance, while Annunciation is a setting of Rainer Maria Rilke's poem of the same name for six soloists by Canadian composer Edwin Huizinga. Blumberg will be joined by soprano Mireille Asselin, soloists from the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and five dancers from the Atelier Ballet.

Performances are at the historic Royal Ontario Museum  on February 21, 2019 and tickets are available online

Jesse Blumberg peforms Monteverdi's Vespers:

Blumberg can be heard on February 20th, as part of the New York Festival of Song's Hyphenated Americans, featuring songs by first-generation American composers whose close links to their parents’ homelands can be heard through their compositions.  Tickets and additional information is available online.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Watch livestream of Günter Papendell in Barrie Kosky's new La bohème

Günter Papendell (photos courtesy Komische Oper)
You can watch German barihunk and audience favorite Günter Papendell as Marcello in Barrie Kosky's new production of Puccini's La bohème from the Komische Oper Berlin from January 27 through July 26. The livestream can be seen on OperaVision.

Kosky says that the opera is about death and the audience needs to shed a tear, but without sentimentalism. This production looks at how young people look at death. Kosky sees the opera through the daguerreotype, which was invented around the time that the story takes place. 

The remaining cast includes Nadja Mchantaf as Mimì, Gerard Schneider as Rodolfo,Philipp Meierhöfer as Colline, Vera-Lotte Böcker as Musetta, and Dániel Foki as Schaunard.

 Günter Papendell sings Tchaikovsky's "Nur wer die Liebe kennt":

If you want to see Papendell live as Marcello, he is performing the role on January 27 and 28, February 8, March 17, 22 and 30, and June 28 and 29. Tickets are available online, but many dates have limited availability.

Papendell's other roles at the Komische Oper include Doktor Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Graf Almaviva in Mozart's Die Hochzeit des Figaro, Fritz Kothner in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Fürst Jeletzki in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, Sharpless  in Puccini's Madame Butterfly, the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Odysseus in the Monteverdi triptych, Achilla in Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto, and Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux.  

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Barihunks take top prizes at Paris Opera Competition

Ilya Kutyukhin
Russian barihunk Ilya Kutyukhin won the 2019 Paris Opera Competition, taking home both the Claude Dassault First Prize and the Audience Prize. Second Prize went to French barihunk Jérôme Boutillier.

Kutyukhin, a native of Pyatigorsk, Russia, performed Yeletsky’s aria Ya vas lublyu from Tchaikovsky's ,” and Ebben, cosi si narra!...Quando le soglie paterne from Donizetti’s La Favorite” and a duet with Russian-Israeli mezzo-soprano Zlata Khershberg.

Nina Tarandek & Ilya Kutyukhin sing the duet from Così fan tutte:

Kutyukhin is a member of the ensemble at the Bolshoi Theatre, where he has performed Andrey Shchelkalov in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Moralés in Bizet's Carmen, the Novice's Friend in Britten's Billy Budd and Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte.
Upcoming roles include Yeletsky in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame at the Vilnius City Opera, the title role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Bregenzer Festspiele and Guglielmo at the Bolshoi.

Jérôme Boutillier
Upcoming performances for Jérôme Boutillier include Bardi in Godard's Dante at Opéra Saint-Étienne, Le Précepteur Alidor in Massenet's Cendrillon and the duel roles of Le corrégidor and Bridoison in Offenbach's Maître Péronilla.

Third prize at this year's Paris Opera Competition went to French soprano Melissa Petit.