Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I'm a fairly regular attendee of the Spoleto Festival, but somehow I missed Nmon Ford as Don Giovanni. From what I've heard, it was one of the steamiest Don's to be seen on stage in some time. Well, at least there are photos!
Nmon Ford was born in Panama and has already made his mark in the barihunk speciality roles of the aforementioned Don, Billy Budd, Samson and Jochanaan. If we want to see more his pulchritude, we need to get him cast in Dead Man Walking, Pearl Fishers and Streetcar Named Desire. Although still early in his career, he has already shared a Grammy Award for his participation on Bolcom's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience"
Blessed with a voice as beautiful as his body, he won First Place in the Liederkranz Foundation of New York Wagner Competition, as well as prizes from the Gerda Lissner Foundation and the George London Foundation. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of Southern California where he graduated cum laude, and was named Outstanding Vocal Arts Graduate, for both degrees.
Smart and sexy. Now that's hot!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Southern California native Christopher Job is currently Frere Laurent in the Minnesota Opera production of Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet" opposite the equally stunning Romeo of James Valenti and Juliet of Ellie Dehn. If you don't believe that good looks are playing a greater role in opera casting, then check out this production.
Job is the winner of the North Dakota District of the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions in 2007, and Second Place Winner for the Rocky Mountain Region in 2006, he is also the Grand Prize Winner of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition of 2005.
As with so many basses, he doesn't get many barihunk roles. He's been singing Count Ribbing in Un ballo in maschera, the Second Priest in Die Zauberflöte, Dr. Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore, Zuniga in Carmen, and Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni.
Maybe we need to get him working with some German directors, so we can see him looking more like Günther Groissböck.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Randal Turner: Most Popular Barihunk
I just checked my blog stats and Randal Turner is by far the most popular barihunk, passing Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Nathan Gunn. His page views are more than double that of "Teddy Bare" and "Top Gunn."
"Hi-Ho, Escamillo...and away!"
Readers owe a giant "Thank You" to a Barihunks reader in Australia who forwarded this picture of Michael Todd Simpson cutting a strapping figure as Escamillo. The 6' 4" barihunk is singing in Bizet's "Carmen" at the Sydney Opera House and apparently is leaving poor Don Jose in the dust.
OK, for all of you who like 'em a little bigger and brawnier, meet French bass Jean-François Gardeil. He has made a name for himself singing baroque music, but has venured out to sing the lyric repertoire in recent years. He is probably best known for his performance on the recording of Rameau's "Atys."
Gardeil was born in France and studied voice at the l'Université de Toulouse. He went on to win a number of voice competitions.
His barihunk role is Frederic in Lakme and possibly Gendarme in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, depending on the production.
He is beginning a career as a teacher. Anyone need voice lessons?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A steamy Michael Todd Simpson as Silvio
You can find this barihunk at about 1:44 of this video. I'd recommend skipping ahead, unless you want to watch Marty Feldman's long lost brother sing verismo.
Michael Todd Simpson
Here's a guy who can make Silvio in Pagliacci and, more remarkably, Gugliemo in Cosi fan Tutte look sexy. That alone would get him onto Barihunks, but he's obviously pretty hot in his own right. I would like to see Michael Todd Simpson as Stanley in a Streetcar Named Desire revival or in Iphiigenie in Tauride.
This steamy barihunk is currently singing Escamillo in Australia and I have no doubt that Don Jose will come out on the short end again.
This season he made debuts at the Florida Grand Opera as Guglielmo in Cosí fan tutte, the New York City Opera as Silvio in Pagliacci and the Fort Worth Opera as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor. He recently performed Silvio for his debuts at the Pittsburgh Opera, the Dallas Opera, and the Palm Beach Opera, and for his return to the Virginia Opera.
A graduate of the Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program, Mr. Simpson made his mainstage debut there as Hermann in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and has since appeared as Marcello in La Bohéme. Also a member of the Young American Artists Program at Glimmerglas Opera, he recently appeared there as The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. While in the program, he sang the role of Tooley in the American premiere of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's The Mines of Sulphur, which was recorded and released by Chandos Records in 2005.
A native of Gastonia, NC, Simpson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal performance from Erskine College in Due West, SC, where he was the first place winner of the 1996 and 1999 South Carolina National Association of Teachers of Singing vocal competition. He earned his Masters of Music degree at the College Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati where he was a regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Mr. Simpson's recent awards include the Spanish Prize in the 2007 José Iturbi International Music Competition, first prize in the first annual Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition, the Sara Tucker Study Grant awarded by the Richard Tucker Foundation and the Richard F. Gold Career Grant.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
San Francisco Opera gets a case of the uglies (and it's not the two singers pictured here!)
[Top two photos: David Alan Moore; Bottom: Jeremy Bloom]
While the Metropolitan Opera, Houston Grand Opera and the L.A. Opera are loading their rosters with verifiable barihunks, the San Francisco Opera in announcing their new Fall season decided to opt for the ugliest baritones available. There is not one barihunk on the roster other than Dmitri Hvorostovsky who is performing in the unsexiest role imaginable, Simon Boccanegra. The closest they get to a barihunk on their entire cast is 26-year-old Italian Giorgio Caoduro, who looks like a young Leo Nucci.
There is no shortage of beautiful sopranos, including Angela Georghiu, Genia Kuhmeier, Inva Mula and the stunning Anna Netrebko. I noticed that there are few cast spots still to be filled, so let me recommend two singers: Joshua Bloom, who graduated from their own Adler Fellows training program or David Adam Moore, who is singing everywhere except in San Francisco.
The young Australian Joshua Bloom has already performed a number of small roles on the SF Opera stage, most notably the Black Politician in Ligeti's "Le Grand Macabre." He is due for a big breakthrough on his home stage.
David Adam Moore has become a specialist in modern music and recently replaced barihunk Nathan Gunn as Billy Budd at the Pittsburgh Opera. He is schedule to sing La Boheme, Barber of Seville and the barihunk favorite Iphigénie en Tauride with the Seattle Opera. He also performs in another barihunk favorite, Britten's "Rape of Lucretia."
Michael Nagy began his musical training with the Stuttgart Hymnus Chorknaben. He was awarded the Second Prize and the Schubert Prize at the International Schubert Competition in Graz. In 2004, together with the pianist Juliane Ruf, he won the International Lied Competition held by the Stuttgart Hugo Wolf Akademy, which led to a TV production at the Stuttgart SWR as well as an invitation to the Bonn Beethovenfest.
After guest contracts with the Stuttgart and Mannheim opera houses, Michael Nagy was an ensemble member of the Berlin Komische Oper from 2004 to 2006, where he performed the barihunk role of Papageno (Zauberflöte), Sid (Albert Herring), Count (Le Nozze di Figaro), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Dr. Falke (Die Fledermaus).
At the beginning of last season he moved to the permanent ensemble of the Frankfurt Opera, where, apart from Papageno and Count, he sang his role debuts as Hans Scholl (Die Weiße Rose), Silvano (A Masked Ball) and Wolfram (Tannhäuser). During the current season, he will be seen on stage in reproductions of Figaro, Faust, Pique Dame, Il Viaggio à Reims as well as in the new staging of Così fan tutte by Christof Loy. In 2010, he will appear as Graf Luna (Palestrina) at the Bavarian State Opera Munich for the first time.
This summer, barihunk fans on the West Coast can enjoy Nagy singing Bach at the Oregon Bach Festival.
Let me clear about one thing regarding this posting: I in no way whatsoever consider Broadway musicals comparable musically to opera. This especially holds true for Andrew Lloyd Webber. However, how could I resist this photo of a German production of Jesus Christ Superstar? Germans seem to have a knack for stripping down their singers and adorning them in black leather. Rather than delve into the national psyche of that nation in the post-World War II era, I think it is best to just enjoy their theatrical imagery.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Randal Turner: Who wouldn't be seduced?
Here's a video of the latest barihunk find singing "Deh vieni alla finestra" in a certifiable barihunk role, Don Giovanni. Who wouldn't be seduced?
Randal Turner was born and raised in Indiana. He studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, the University of Indiana School of Music and later joined the International Opera Studio in Zurich.
Since graduation he has performed mainly in Europe, appearing in the United States only with Palm Beach Opera and New Jersey Verismo Opera. From the photos, you can see that his barihunk role is definitely Stanley in "Streetcar Named Desire." These photos are from a production at the Theater Regio di Torino. He also sings Figaro, Albert in Werther, Silvio, Valentin, Escamillo and Mose in Egitto. Another barihunk role that he has performed is Don Giovanni in Pisa and at the Accademia del Teatro Cagli. He has sung the role of Mr. Redburn in "Billy Budd," but I think he's a candidate for the title role!
Randal Turner sings "Bottom's Dream" from "A Midsummer Night's Marriage"
Singing lots of Britten will pretty much assure your status as a barihunk. I can't wait for Randal Turner to add "Billy Budd" to his repertoire.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
What is it with Austrian barihunks at the Los Angeles Opera? First Groissboeck and now Werba. I think that it's time for a field trip to Vienna.
Markus Werba has born in Kärtnen, Austria and has already made a specialty of Papageno in his young career. He has already sung the role in Vienna, Zurich, Lisbon, Berlin, Paris, Toulouse, Bologna, Palermo, Cagliari, Naples, Genova, Lyon and in 2009 he brings it across the Pond to Los Angeles. His Hans Heiling is available on DVD. Like all great certifiable barihunks, he also sings Don Giovanni.
He looks like he'd be perfect for Billy Budd, but so far it's not on his calendar. What is on the horizon is Mercurio in La Calisto and Giorgino in Paisiello's "Il Matrimonio Inaspettato" and another
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
L.A. Opera Barihunkfest 2009
If you want an absolute feast of barihunks then head to Los Angeles for their run of Die Zauberflote from January 10-25, 2009. Alternating in the role of Papageno will be barihunks Nathan Gunn and site newcomer Markus Werba. Singing Sarastro will be the latest addition to the site, Gunther Groissboeck. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I know where I'll be a year from now.
Austrian barihunk Günther Groissböck was born in 1976 and made his professional debut in Jacobo Peri's "Euridice" in 2001. He studied at the Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna where he had been taking part in Robert Holl’s master
class. Since 2005 he works regularly with José van Dam.
From the looks of one of the photos, he appears to like "hiking and long walks in the country." Any takers?
He has a much lower voice than our traditional barihunk, so his repertoire includes not-so-hunky roles like Don Ferrando in Fidelio, Sarastro in Zauberflote, the King in Aida and Fafner in Das Rheingold. Of course some German director managed to create a production of Eugene Onegin with him in a revealing tee shirt, which is where the center photo comes from. He will be performing Fafner in San Francisco Opera's production this summer. if I were a Rheinmaiden, I'd go after Fafner and leave the gold behind.
In 2010 he makes his Metropolitan Opera debut as Colline in La Boheme.
Does anyone have ideas for a barihunk nickname?
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Simon Keenlyside sings "Là ci darem la mano" with Christine Schafer
I'm embarrassed it took me so long to post Simon Keenlyside to the Barihunks site, but here he is looking quite dashing in a tuxedo.
Minnesota native Nathan Brian is fairly new on the scene, but is rapidly establishing a solid career after completing his studies at the University of Michigan. He will be singing in Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" at the Minnesota Opera in January and February 2008. He has also performed with the Sarasota Opera, Utah Lyric Opera, Minnesota Orchestra and the Ohio Light Opera.
Brian also sings musical theater, operetta and oratorio. His barihunk role is Papageno, but he looked pretty good as Ottone in "L'incoronazione di Poppea," as you can see from the photo. He was also trained as a dancer so, hopefully, he'll bring some of those moves to the stage.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Barihunk favorite Teddy Tahu Rhodes singing "The Little Prince"
Barihunks site favorite showing off his usual charm and stunningly beautiful voice.
Rene Pape - Verdi Requiem - Confutatis
When there are singers like Rene Pape out there, I have to include some basses on the site. He is simply one of the most riveting singers of the last twenty years. His DVD of Fidelio is not to be missed. He steals the show!