Sunday, December 16, 2007
I love Teddy Tahu Rhodes, but I was surprised that he was the most visited barihunk. Not that he isn't hot, but he had some stiff competition with "Hot Schrott" and "Top Gunn." I also happen to think that Rhodes has the prettiest voice of the bunch. He clearly doesn't possess the sexy, deep, dark heft of Schrott's voice, but he sings Mozart as sweetly as anyone in the last generation. I've also received emails from two people who have worked with Rhodes who say he is the nicest guy in opera, which makes him even sexier!
The 6' 3" Rhodes claims to work out five to six times a week and is known to frequent the beaches with his surfboard. He has practically made a career out of three classic barihunk roles: Stanley in "Streetcar Named Desire," Don Giovanni and "Dead Man Walking." Teddy is in such good shape that he once sang an aria from "Dead Man Walking" while doing push-ups.
Although he is known as the "Singing Surfer" on this blog, he has also picked up the nickname "Tremendous Teddy" in opera circles.
I can't understand why "Hot Schrott" wasn't the most popular barihunk on this blog. Not that Teddy Tahu Rhodes is worthy of the #1 slot, but when I show this site to friends it seems like Schrott is the one who people gush over the most.
Schrott is wrapping up Don Giovanni at Los Angeles Opera and then there this is only one American engagement on his calendar that I can find through 2010, which is at the Met where he will alternate singing Leporello and Don Giovanni. He has a number of Don Giovanni's on his calendar over the next two years, which will allow him to show off his pulchritudinous form. Also on calendar, is Attila in Verona, I Lombardi in Naples and Le Nozze di Figaro in Vienna.
Schrott claims to keep fit by running, swimming and regularly visiting the gym, where he likes to climb. Also, his lunches consist of sashimi, garden salads and fresh fruit.
Why has the San Francisco Opera not engaged Schrott?
I firmly believe that the term "barihunk" was created as an adjective to describe Nathan Gunn on stage. It's almost impossible to read a review or a blog about Gunn with a reference to his barihunkiness. I was a little surprised when I checked my blog stats and he wasn't the #1 barihunk based on page visits. No baritone bares his midriff more than Gunn on stage, although Erwin Schrott is giving him a run for his money.
Gunn is currently singing "Romeo et Juliette" at the Met. His new album "Just Before Sunrise" is a little sappy for me. I'd recommend "American Ragtime" (http://www.amazon.com/DEBUT-Nathan-Gunn-American-Ragtime/dp/B00000IWW3/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1197817822&sr=8-2), which contains some lovely settings by American composers.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Martin Achrainer was born in Tyrol, Austria. He was trained at the University of Music and Drama in Vienna, later continuing his studies with opera greats Robert Holl and Brigitte Fassbaender.
During his training he performed in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” as Masetto and Leporello, “Cosi fan tutte” as Guglielmo, and “The Magic Flute” as Papageno. Other roles included Achilla in Händels "Giulio Cesare,“ Alidoro in Rossinis "La Cenerentola,“ Belcore in Donizettis "L’Elisir d’Amore," and the world Premiere of the opera “Der Zauberberg” as Dr. Behrens.
His solo career also encompasses a vast repertoire in opera, oratorio and masses, as well as lieder ranging from the Baroque through to the 20th century.
He is the recipient of numerous prizes including the German Drama Price for his Papageno at the Opera-Festival “Schloss Rheinsberg” in Berlin, the Robert Schumann competition in Zwickau (Jury Prize), the Hugo Wolf Prize, and the Hilde Zadek competition for literature of the 20th century (first prize).
Martin Achrainer is a permanent member of the opera house in Linz, Austria. He recently sang in a homoerotic version of Salome directed by Brigitte Fassbaender and is slated to sing Harlequin in Strauss' "Ariadne auf Naxos" and the title role in Don Giovanni.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Viennese barihunk Paul Armin Edelmann is the son of the great bass-baritone Otto Edelmann, who was his first voice teacher.
From 1992 to 1997 Edelmann was the house baritone at the Stadttheater Koblenz in Germany. His career has subsequently taken him to Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, Cologne, Frankfurt, San Diego and Brussels. He is another barihunk who can look good in a silly Papageno costume. The sexy picture is from Don Giovanni.
Edelman recorded a CD of duets with his brother and fellow baritone Peter Edelmann entitled "Two Voices One Name." He also has solo album out on Oehms Classics.
Genoa born Marco Di Sapia is about to hit the big time after years of minor roles in big houses and major roles in smaller houses. In 2010, he will play all four villains in the Tales of Hoffman at the Opera House of St.-Etienne.
He definitely has a future as a certifiable barihunk, as he recently performed Don Giovanni at the Republic Theatre in Salzburg. Check out a sound clip of him singing Don Giovanni at http://www.marcodisapia.it.
Dutch baritone Martijn Sanders studied at the Conservatory in Utrecht as well as the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, working with Edith Mathis, among others. He received further instruction in master classes with Thomas Hampson as well as in the Opera Studio in Amsterdam. Shortly after receiving the first prize in the Nico Dostal Competition in Austria, he débuted in 1999 as Papageno in Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" in the Schönbrunn Palace Theatre and as Dandini in Rossini's "La Cenerentola" with the Rheinsberg Palace Chamber Opera.
Besides further principal roles in Mozart's operas, Martijn Sanders also devotes his attentions to lesser-known works such as Telemann's "Pimpinone" and Gounod's "La colombe" and has also been heard as Escamillo in Bizet's "Carmen". He has remained loyal to the opera houses in the Netherlands, yet has made frequent guest appearances at the Vienna Chamber Opera and the 2004 Belgrade Music Festival, where he appeared in "Zora D" by Isidora Zebeljan. Besides this, Martijn Sanders has made a name for himself as a concert singer, appearing with every major orchestra in the Netherlands such as the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest.
I may need to ask blog diva La Cieca to amend the definition of "barihunk" to include baritones who were accepted into the San Francisco Opera's Merola program. Lee Poulis is one more looker out of that prestigious program. Word is that he's even smarter than he is good looking, which means he's pretty darn smart.
Poulis recently won First Prize in the Chester Ludgin International Verdi Baritone Competition (Junior Division) and was previously a finalist in Placido Domingo’s Operalia Competition and winner of the Washington Vocal Arts Society’s Discovery Recital Series. He has already performed at the SF Opera, Washington Opera, LA Opera, Berlin and Bilbao, despite still being in his twenties.
He's performed in a number of barihunk operas including Don Giovanni, Zauberflote, Midsummer Night's Dream and Billy Budd (regrettably, not in the lead). Like Nathan Gunn, he is another barihunk who makes this site on the sole fact that he can look sexy playing Papageno (check out the photo!).
Lee Poulis' career took a huge leap when fellow Merola graduate and mezzo superstar Dolora Zajick encountered him in a master class. Dolora, good eye!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Jérôme Varnier has made his mark primarily in French and Italian opera, as well as establishing himself as a premier exponent of the French song repertoire. He sings mostly in France and frequently collaborates with conductor Mark Minkowski.
His repertoire extends from the baroque through the 20th century composers Milhaud, Richard Strauss, Janacek, Henze and Busoni. He was a house bass-baritone at the Opéra National de Lyon from 1995 to 2000, where he sung Die Zauberflöte, Carmen, Orfeo, Elektra, Doktor Faust, La Bohème, Don Carlos, The Midsummer Night’s, Ariane et Barbe-Bleue, Falstaff and The Little Cunning Vixen.
His barihunk opera is Don Giovanni.
Friday, November 23, 2007
What is it about those Aussie boys? Damien Pass is new on the professional opera circuit, landing some small roles at the Opera Theater of St. Louis. Pass graduated from Oberlin and was a finalist in the St. Louis District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and an Encouragement Award winner in the Marilyn Horne Song Competition.
I hope that we see much more of this young barihunk. Much more!
I have to confess that Luca Grassi is on the Barihunks site as much for his sexy, mellifluous voice as his looks. Listen to his glorious, rich, dark top voice in the video from Pearl Fishers. This guy is destined for a great career [any American impressarios out there looking for a baritone?]. This is a guy who you would expect to see in a calendar of firefighters or construction workers.
The Italian baritone was launched onto the scene in 1998 after winning the Citta di Roma competition and then going on to score a huge success at the Wexford Festival. He has sung in a number of obscure operas, but his Zurga in Pearl Fishers earns him a spot on Barihunks. He's another Escamillo in Carmen who guarantees that Don Jose will never win the heart of the gypsy girl.
OK, enough of the pretty boys! Here's a scruffy, virile barihunk who can sing as beautifully as any baritone in the world today.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
John Relyea is another alumnus of the San Francisco Opera's Merola Opera Program, who began his career singing roles on the SF Opera stage. He is rapidly making become a house favorite at the Metropolitan Opera.
He has yet to venture into barihunk territory other than the Rape of Lucretia, singing roles like the four villains in Les contes de Hoffman, Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Giorgio in I Puritani, Don Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Colline in La Bohème. But he makes the Barihunks site for his eyes alone.
Swedish barihunk Håkan Vramsmo studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and immediately was offered the opportunity to sing at the opening night of the BBC Proms. He has won a number of lieder competitions and has quickly established himself as a major talent in the field. He has sung the barihunk roles of Don Giovanni and the Rape of Lucretia. He is establishing himself as a Mozart singer to reckon with, receiving rave reviews in Die Zauberflote and Nozze di Figaro.
Winner of the Lieder Prize at the 1997 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, Christopher Maltman has gone on to record definitive versions of Faure, Schubert, Schumann and a number of British composers. He seems to revel in singing barihunk roles, including Billy Budd, Dead Man Walking, Rape of Lucretia and Therese Raquin. For sheer pleasure watch his DVD of Giulio Cesare with Daniele de Niese. You can also see him in an amazing performance of John Adams' "Death of Klinghoffer."
Canadian bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch is a former member of the San Francisco Opera's prestigious Merola Opera training program. He subsequently sang some minor roles on the San Francisco Opera stage. His first claim to fame was as Schaunard in Baz Luhrmann's production of La bohème in 2002. Despite being on the scene for only a few years, he has made his mark in barihunk roles in Don Giovanni and Dead Man Walking [see photo].
The Staatsoper Berlin has the great forturne to see German bass-baritone Hanno Mueller-Brachmann on a regular basis. He has excelled in Mozart and Bach, but he has also had huge successes in roles like Oreste in Elektra and Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande. Like so many Germans, he has established himself as a lieder singer of note. His recording of Die Zauberflote with Claudio Abbado won Gramophone's "Best Opera Recording of the Year" award.
I was thrilled to see him in his American debut at San Francisco Opera as Gugliemo in Cosi fan tutti. Unfortunately, his face was disguised with a hideous beard for most of the performance. I prefer the Brad Pitt look above.
Peruvian barihunk Eduardo Castro has been trying to piece together a career with limited success in some regional opera companies in the United States. He has performed mainly with the Virginia Opera, Amici Opera in Philadelphia and the Maryland Opera Society. He may not have much of a career, but he's some serious eye candy.
If you can make Leporello sexier than his master, than you are a verifiable barihunk. Check out the video of "Brando" singing Leporello, where he is without question the sexiest Mozart servant to ever grace the stage.
Oddly, d'Arcangelo hasn't really ventured much into the big barihunk repertory other than Don Giovanni. We need to get him cast in Iphigenie, Billy Budd, Pearl Fishers and Dead Man Walking. His dark, low voice matches his virile good looks perfectly.
Nickname: Brando (and he has the sexiest lips since the original Brando).
I'm an early music fanatic, so I have to add this clip. Watch his reaction after he nails the high note. He looks like a footballer who just scored a goal.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Imagine how thrilled I was when I received my brochure for the American Bach Soloists and I discovered this barihunk! Jesse Blumberg is a recent winner of the 5th International Hilde Zadek Competition, which was juried by mezzo greats Christa Ludwig and Brigitte Fassbaender.
Blumberg recently performed in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's the "Grapes of Wrath" at The Minnesota Opera and on December 6, 2007 he'll sing Phillip Glass' "Einstein on the Beach" at Carnegie Hall.. He is rapidly making his mark as a gifted lieder singer, as well as giving thrilling performances in the early music of the Bach family and Monteverdi.
[Photos from www.jesseblumberg.com]
Sunday, November 11, 2007
A baritone is an automatic candidate for Barihunks if he looks great without a shirt, but Franco Pomponi can walk on stage in a pair of tights and make someone think that they walked into the ballet. This Julliard graduate has matinee idol good looks that we usually find in a Terence McNally play on Broadway.
His big break was performing in Henze's "The Bassarids" at Theatre du Chatelet. This is no easy piece of music to sing, so the guy is a lot more than a pretty face. His Escamillo is actually sexier than most Carmens (see the posted YouTube video). I sure hope that we see a lot more of this guy on the major stages, and I mean SEE A LOT MORE!
With Teddy Tahu Rhodes rapidly making a name for himself as the next barihunk, we don't have to worry about directors suddenly putting shirts back on baritones. He already sings the hunk roles of Don Giovanni, Billy Budd, Dead Man Walking and Streetcar Named Desire, so we can look forward to years of him bare chested on the major stages of the world. He's already charmed audiences in San Francisco, Houston, Paris, Dallas and Munich, as well as in his native New Zealand.
Nickname: The Singing Surfer