Thursday, May 31, 2012

Celebrating Walt Whitman's birthday

Walt Whitman
We celebrate baritone birthdays daily on Barihunks, but today we thought that it was important to celebrate the birthday of poet Walt Whitman.

Whitman has not inspired scores of composers to set his poetry to music, but singers are often so personally moved by the text that they seek out songs set to his words. Don't miss the selection from Randal Turner singing Clint Borzoni's "I Dream'd in a Dream" with the singers personal tale of inspiration and hope.

According to Michael Hovland's Musical Settings of American Poets, the poetry of Walt Whitman has been set to music 539 times, more than that of any other American poet with the exceptions of Emily Dickinson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Composers as diverse as Ned Rorem, Frederick Delius, Clint Borzoni, Ricky Ian Gordon, Kurt Weill, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Roy Harris, Lee Hoiby

Ian Greenlaw sings 'Oh Captain! My Captain!' from Kurt Weill's Walt Whitman songs. Performed at a cabaret sponsored by operamission last year in New York:

Walt Whitman is known for his famous, and controversial, collection of poems, Leaves of Grass.

Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, New York. His mother, Louisa Van Velsor, was descended from a long line of New York Dutch farmers; his father, Walter Whitman, was a Long Island farmer and carpenter. His mother was Louisa Van Velsor.

In 1823, the family moved to Brooklyn in search of work. The second of nine children in an undistinguished family, Whitman received little in the way of formal education. He still managed to read the works of Homer, Dante, and Shakespeare.

A sunstroke in 1885 and another paralytic stroke made Walt Whitman increasingly dependent on others. He died of complications from a stroke on March 26, 1892.

At the age of 17, Whitman began teaching at various Long Island schools and continued to teach until he went to New York City to be a printer for the New World and a reporter for the Democratic Review in 1841. For much of the next years, he made his livelihood through journalism. Besides reporting and freelance writing, he also edited several Brooklyn newspapers, including the "Daily Eagle," the "Freeman," and the "Times."

In 1848, Whitman met and was hired by a representative of the New Orleans Crescent. Although the job lasted only a few months, the journey by train, stagecoach, and steamboat helped to broaden his view of America.

Randal Turner sings Clint Borzoni's "I Dreamed in a Dream" and talks about how this song made him think about the gay teens being bullied, including his own personal story. 

Whitman received little money with the first edition of Leaves of Grass, but he did receive some attention, including a letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The second edition in 1860 with the "Calamus" poems and the third edition of Leaves created controversy for readers, but the Civil War turned all eyes on the battlefields.

Whitman traveled to Virginia to search for his brother, George, and found him wounded. He stayed to help tend wounded soldiers in Washington DC; and wrote some of his famous war poetry, printed partially as "Drum Taps" and "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." He witnessed Lincoln's second inauguration and mourned the assassination of Lincoln in April.

In the years after the war, Whitman's reputation increased both in England and in the US. In January of 1873, he suffered a paralytic stroke. Several months later, in May, his mother died. Unable to work, he returned to live with his brother in Camden, New Jersey.

He was able to take trips to New York, Boston, and even to Colorado to see the Rocky Mountains, but his declining health mostly provided him with the opportunity to restructure and revise his most famous work, Leaves of Grass, the culmination of so many previously published collections.


Bryn Terfel sings English composer Frederick Delius' "Sea Drift", based the poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" from Book XIX of the poetry collection "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman. The work was premiered in 1906 and the poetry is suffused with images of love, the sea and death as Whitman observes two mating birds, the male's bewilderment, following the death of the female, becoming analogous to the human experience of loss and grief.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Randal Turner performs "Don Juan at 40"

American composer Julia Schwartz wrote the 10-minute scene "Don Juan at 40" for barihunk Randal Turner, who debuted the piece at his West Coast recital debut in December 2010. Until now, the piece was only viewable on the commercial DVD, but it's now available on the composer's YouTube site. The text is by Ron Butlin, the great Scottish poet, novelist, short-story writer, librettist, playwright, and journalist.

The concert also includes a set of Walt Whitman songs by Clint Borzoni, which were written for Turner, as well.

We should also mention that Randal Turner is featured in the promotional video for Lucy Liu's new TV show on CBS, "Elementary." He appears around the 3:26 mark. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Attitude magazine: "Get Your Rock Off"

Duncan Rock featured in Attitude
Aussie barihunk Duncan Rock generated international buzz when he recently appeared in "Don Giovanni: The Opera" at London's Heaven. The updated, gender bending version of the Mozart-Da Ponte classic rubbed some of the old-timers the wrong way, but young audiences ate it up.

Attitude, which bills itself as the U.K.'s largest LGBT magazine, recently did a feature on the ripped redhead with the great headline "Get Your Rock Off." We couldn't possibly improve on that! We also love that gave a nice shout out to Barihunks, writing:
Rock has featured heavily on the inspired website Barihunks (baritone hunks, obvs), which shows male opera singers in a state of undress. So what happened to opera's rep for the larger gentlemen? "A lot of the roles, particularly the ones for a young baritone voice, now require certain physical characteristics," Rock explains. "For certain roles, for dramatic credibility, people expect a certain look, but opera is an art form that is all about beautiful singing and that will never change."
Fortunately for Rock, his voice is as beautiful as his physique.

Check out a preview of the ENO's Billy Budd featuring Duncan Rock:

We first discovered Duncan Rock when he was in Britten's Billy Budd at Glyndebourne and he's back in the same opera at the English National Opera. Rock will be performing the role of Donald. Performance are running from June 12-July 12. He remains on the ENO roster for a run of Bizet's Carmen beginning in November where he takes on the role of Moralès. Visit the ENO website for tickets and additional information.

Duncan Rock: Master-OF-Arms

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Reader Submissions: Michael Redding & Aubrey Allicock

Michael Redding

There are few things we love more than our "Reader Submissions." We've been exposed to some of our favorite singers through our readers. We view our readers as our opera scouts who bring us the best talent from across the globe. A reader recently introduced us to two singers, Michael Redding and Aubrey Allicock.

Atlanta native Michael Redding received his Masters in Music from Indiana University after completing his undergraduate work at the North Carolina School of the Arts.  During his time at the School for the Arts he was also a  resident artist with the Piedmont Opera Outreach Program and later a member of the Young Artist Programs of the Utah Festival Opera and the Janiec Opera Company.

He has performed with the Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Carolina, the Natchez Festival of Music and the New Orleans Opera. This season Redding debuts the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni with the Piedmont Opera and he'll open the 2012-2013 season with the Berliner Philharmoniker in a concert-version of Porgy & Bess under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle.

Aubrey Allicock
Aubrey Allicock received his Masters of Music from Indiana University and holds a Bachelors of Music from Grand Canyon University. While attending Indiana Universersity, Mr. Allicock studied and coached with renowned teachers who include Andreas Poulimenos, Sherrill Milnes and Carol Vaness.

Last season, Allicock joined the Metropolitan Opera roster where he covered the roles of Astarotte in Armida and Marullo in Rigoletto. In 2011, he made his role debut as Mamoud in John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer at the Opera Theater of St. Louis. As a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St. Louis he also performed the roles of Zaretsky in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and covered the title role of Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. Allicock has performed with the Wexford Festival Opera, the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, the South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic and  the bass soloist role with the Concerts-Austria in Mozart’s Coronation Mass at the Karlskirche. 

He returns to Opera Theater of St. Louis in 2012 as the Mad Hatter and Duck in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland. In 2012-13 he becomes an Artist Diploma candidate at Juilliard and returns to the Opera Theater of St. Louis.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Barihunks as leading ladies?

Michael Mayes & Seth Mease Carico
We've always maintained that the Fort Worth Opera Festival is one of the best opera festivals in the United States. The quality of their productions combined with excellent musicians and singers always makes for great week of music. They also have their fair share of barihunks on the roster, but even we were shocked when we saw barihunks Michael Mayes and Seth Mease Carico show up to a promotional event for Mark Adamo's "Lysistrata" looking like a cross between a Ukranian mezzo-soprano and a Wal-Mart shopper from Nacogdoches, Texas.

The Fort Worth Opera hosted a Tug-of-War between the women and the men to kick-off the opening night of Lysistrata which features Seth Mease Carico as the Spartan General Leonidas and Michael Mayes as the Athenian Kinesias. Mayes and Carico thought that they would lend some muscle to the women's team, but it was to no avail, as the men won all three sets (that mus mean sex for everyone!).

The comic opera is about the battle of the sexes, where the Athenian and Spartan women are tired of their battle happy husbands refusing to lay down their weapons. They band together and refuse to have sex with the men until peace is declared.

Michael Mayes plants a kiss on fellow barihunk Matthew Worth
There are performances of Lysistrata today and on June 3rd. Other remaining performances at the Festival include Jake Heggie's "Three Decembers" with barihunk Matthew Worth on May 26, 31 and June 2nd, Tosca with the amazing and sexy Scarpia of Michael Chioldi on June 2nd and The Marriage of Figaro with barihunks Donovan Singletary as Figaro and Jonathan Beyer as Count Almaviva. Tickets are available on the Fort Worth Opera website.

If you can't make it this  year, make sure to add it to your travel plans next year when the Festival performs La Boheme, Daughter of the RegimentsAriadne auf Naxos and Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jānis Apeinis Strips for Mozart

Jānis Apeinis
An astute reader found these new video clips of Jānis Apeinis doing a little strip tease during the duet "La ci darem la mano"and walking around in his skivvies during "Ah, fuggi il traditor." The clips are from a recent performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Latvian National Opera. 

Gunta Davidčuka & Jānis Apeinis sing "La ci darem la mano":

Jānis Apeinis graduated from the vocal department of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music in 2002 and received his Masters in 2004. Jānis Apeinis made his debut at the Latvian National Opera in 2003. He made his debut in the title role of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at the Tiroler Landestheater in 2008 and returned to the Tiroler Landestheater as Carlo Gerard in Giordano's Andrea Chenier in 2010.

 Jānis Apeinis in skivvies as Asmik Grigorian sings "Ah, fuggi il traditor":

His roles include Yeletsky in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème, and Joseph in Ešenvalds's Joseph Is A Fruitful Bough. He can next be seen in the title role of Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Riga Opera Festival opening on June 12th. 

Jānis Apeinis sings Les Misérables:


Celebrating the premiere of Marschner's "Hans Heiling"

[Barihunks is on the road. Here's a tribute to an opera that is popular in Germany, but has failed to catch out in other countries.]

Hans Heiling is a German Romantic opera in 3 acts with prologue by Heinrich Marschner with a libretto by Eduard Devrient, who also sang the title role at the première which occurred at the Königliche Hofoper (now Berlin State Opera), Berlin on 24 May 1833, and went on to become his most successful opera.The opera brought the composer a considerable reputation, although this did not materially affect his position in Hanover, where he was music director of the Court Theatre. Like Marschner's other great success, Der Vampyr, the plot of Hans Heiling makes great use of supernatural elements. As with several of his operas, Hans Heiling is based on a folk legend.

A pivotal opera between Weber and Wagner, Hans Heiling's structure is highly original. The overture to act 1 does not open the opera as it conventionally would — there is instead a prologue before the overture begins after which the curtain descends, and the overture is played during a change of scenery. Heiling's aria from the first act, An jenem Tag (On that fair day), still has recordings and performances in concert both in Germany and abroad and is generally regarded as the gem of the score. Also of worth are the Queen's aria, O bleib bei mir (O stay with me); the first act finale; Anna's scena and aria, Einst war so tiefer Freude (Once was such deep contentment); Conrad and Anna's duet, Ha! dieses Wort (Ha! Such a word) and Heiling's conjuration, Herauf (Appear). It is worth to mention here that the theme from the Queen's aria in 2nd act (to the words: Sonst bist du verfallen...) was later on used by Wagner in his Die Walküre, act 2, when that silightly modified leitmotif is repeated many times in the scene of Brünnhilde's apparition to Siegmund, their mutual questions and answers. Albeit very rare example of borrowing in the case of Wagner, even he was not always absolutely unique. [From Wikipedia]

Monday, May 21, 2012

Scott Conner wins Loren L. Zachary Competition

Scott Conner
Baritones and basses continue to dominate vocal competitions, as bass Scott Conner took away the top prize at the Loren L. Zachary Vocal Competition over the weekend. Earlier this year, Conner won the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition. A District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Conner has been a finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, and was named a Gold Winner in Voice by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA).

He is an Artist in Residence at the Academy of Vocal Arts where he has performed the title role in Don Giovanni, Colline in La bohème, La Roche in Capriccio, Oroveso in Norma, First Man in the world premiere of Scarlet Letter. the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann, the title role in Verdi's Oberto, and Dulcamara in L'elsir d'amore.

Two other barihunks walked away with top prizes, as Eugene Brancoveanu and Wes Mason also won prizes. Brandon Cedel, who was an early favorite to win the competition, had to withdraw due to illness. Other winners this year included, mezzo Olivia Vote, soprano Chloe Moore, soprano Anush Avetisyan, tenor Viktor Antipenko, tenor Benjamin Bliss and soprano Anna-Lisa Hackett.

Scott Conner sings "Fin ch'han dal vino" from Don Giovanni:

A number of barihunks have walked away with top prizes at the Loren L. Zachary competition in past years, including Zachary Nelson and Brandon Cedel in 2011, Donovan Singletary and Jonathan Beter in 2010, Kelly Markgraf in 2009 and Matt Trevino in 2007.

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Reader submission: Tom Krause

Tom Krause as Don Giovanni

Our latest reader submission is the Finnish baritone Tom Krause, who was a leading baritones for four decades across the globe. He originally planned on becoming a psychiatrist, and received his medical degree from Helsinki University. However, he opted for a career in opera, beginning his studies in Helsinki, and later at the Vienna Music Academy and in Berlin.

Since his debut in Berlin in 1957, Tom Krause has established himself as a leading baritone with a vast repertoire, ranging from Bach to Messiaen. He was with the Deutsche Oper Berlin for three years and was a member of the Hamburg State Opera for decades beginning in 1962, where he performed in a number of world premieres. He went on to perform in most of the major houses in Europe, including La Scala, Vienna, London, Berlin, Munich, Copenhagen, Brussels, Amsterdam and Rome. He performed leading roles in The Marriage of FigaroLes Contes d'Hoffmann, La ConcrentolaParisfalElektraCosi fan TutteThe Queen of SpadesKatya Kabanova, and Saint Francois d’Assise.

In 1963, he made his American debut in America at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1967 as Count Almaviva.

Tom Krause appears on numerous recordings of both opera and lieder, including works by Brahms, Schumann, Moussorgksy, Schubert and Sibelius).

He is currently teaching in Hamburg and is member of numerous Voice Competitions through the world.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Erwin Schrott & Anna Netrebko Create Children's Foundation

Anna Netrebko, son Tiago and Erwin Schrott
We have a particular fondness for singers who use their celebrity for good causes. Few singers do more for humanitarian causes than barihunk  Erwin Schrot and his soprano wife Anna Netrebko. They stepped it up a notch this week when they announced the formation of the  "Anna and Erwin Foundation - Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott for Kids."

Schrott & Netrebko sing "Bess, you is my woman now..." from Porgy & Bess:

The two singers said that they want to use their popularity "to help children in need" and called it "a dream come true." The first projects to benefit from the foundation's support will be SOS Children's Village, a children's hospital in St. Petersburg, the Austrian charity "Unser Kind," and the Spanish foundation A.Va.Pa.Ce.

You can follow them on Twitter  @AnnaErwin4Kids


R.I.P. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925-2012)

The esteemed Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has died at age 86. Known throughout the world for his romantic Lieder interpretation, he died just 10 days before of his 87th birthday.
German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau died on Friday, just shortly before his 87th birthday, his wife, Julia Varady, announced.
Fischer-Dieskau was one of the most famous 'Lieder' performers in post-war Europe. He also had success as an opera singer, music teacher and aspiring novelist.
Fischer-Dieskau’s name will forever be linked to his interpretations of Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise."
Born in 1925 in Berlin, Fischer-Dieskau retired from singing in 1992.
Among the many highlights of his career was his participation in the world premier of Benjamin Britten’s "War Requiem" at the inauguration of the new Coventry Cathedral in the UK in 1962.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adrian Kramer Bids Farewell to COC Ensemble Studio

Adrian Kramer
We've followed Adrian Kramer's career as he's honed his skills at the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio over the last three years. It was exciting to see this talented young artist score huge successes at both the Castleton Festival and with the Chicago Opera Theater. [Don't miss the sexy pictures that we posted from COT].

Today, Kramer bids farewell to the COC Ensemble Studio with a concert featuring Schubert’s great song cycle, Die schöne Müllerin. The concert is at noon today at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, so we figure that most readers won't make it.

However, you can click HERE and read his farewell interview. We wish him the best of luck in his career.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Young Barihunk featured on HBO with Renee Fleming

Set you DVRs for 6 PM on May 28th for "Renee Fleming: A YoungArts MasterClass" on HBO. The legendary soprano will work with four aspiring opera-singers on developing their voices and their careers. 

The students in this program are awardees of the Miami-based arts organization, YoungArts. Each year, YoungArts selects 150 high school students from an applicant pool of over 7,000.  The highly-popular first season of the Master Class Series featured tenor Placido Domingo, Julian Schnabel, Jacques d'Amboise, Frank Gehry, Olafur Eliasson, Edward Albee, Bill T. Jones, Liv Ullmann, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

The four singers who were selected to work with Fleming are Aaron Casey, Crystal Vanrell, Samantha Hankey and an emerging barihunk, Sean Michael Plumb. The 20-year-old Los Angeles native studies at the Curtis Institute of Music with Marlena Malas and Mikael Eliasen. He also holds a fellowship at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where he has studied for the last two summers. 

He has performed at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Broad Stage, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and as a United States Presidential Scholar, the Kennedy Center. Additionally, Sean performed at the 2010 Grammy Week Salute to Placido Domingo with the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. He has won many competitions including the Classical Singer Magazine 2009 High School Competition, the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards, and the top prize (Gold) at the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts’ YoungArts Week. At Curtis Sean has appeared in Apollo and Daphne (Apollo), Faust (Wagner), La Tragedie de Carmen (Lilas Pastilla), Il Signor Brushchino (Il Comissario), and The Cunning Little Vixen (Grasshopper). 

A 2010 graduate of Loyola High School of Los Angeles, Sean also plays piano and enjoys swimming and watching college basketball. Check out his website for more information.

You can follow the YoungArts Master Class program on Facebook.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pape to sing for Pope

We had to run this item just for the headline and the fact that we can't think of any other reason to post Pope Benedict XVI.  It's also probably the only time that a Pope will be featured in two consecutive posts, as our last post about Attila featured Sam Ramey playing Pope Leo I. 

Pape will sing in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Daniel Barenboim at Milan’s La Scala, in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI on June 1st. The Pope's visit is part of the World Encounter of Families, which deals with issues relating to the family. The first Pope to attend a performance at La Scala was was Pope John Paul II, who enjoyed selections from Verdi operas in 1983 under Riccardo Muti.

Pope Leo I
After entertaining the Pope, Pape will don a crown and perhaps borrow the papal scepter to play King Philip II in in Verdi’s Don Carlos under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst at the Vienna State Opera. Performances run from June 16-29 and the cast also includes fellow barihunk Simon Keenlyside as Rodrigo. Visit the Vienna State Opera website for additional details. 


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ildar Abdrazakov reprises successful Attila

Ildar Abdrazakov in a Met promo photo

We first posted Ildar Abdrazakov as Attila in Verdi's, when he was singing the role in Peru before taking the role to The Met. The post drew an enormous amount of interest and continues to receive a huge number of hits.

The Russian bass in back as the Hun leader in a Pier Luigi Pizzi production at the Teatro dell'Opera Roma under the baton of maestro Riccardo Muti. Also in the cast is fellow barihunk Luca Dall’Amico in the role of Leone. Performances run from May 25 through June 5th.

Luca Dall’Amico with a former Attila, Samuel Ramey
After wrapping up in Rome, Abdrazakov will perform the role in a concert version at the Mikkeli Music Festival under maestro Valery Gergiev. The performance on July 5th at the Mikkeli’s Wooden Church will be only the third performance of the early Verdi masterpiece in Finland.

Ildar Abdrazakov and Claudio Sgura perform “Tardo per gli anni” from Attila:

The San Francisco Opera will also be performing Atilla this summer from June 12-July 1 with a much older Attila than is normally cast in the dramatically intense Ferruccio Furlanetto. The 63-year-old Furlanetto is about 15 years older than Attila was at his death. The cast will include another  great Attila of the past, Samuel Ramey, in the critical but small role of Pope Leo I.

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Highlights from Thomas Hampson/Luca Pisaroni Concert

Luca Pisaroni (L) & Thomas Hampson (R)
We recently posted about the much anticipated concert in Heidelberg, Germany featuring Luca Pisaroni and Thomas Hampson. As regular readers will know, not only are these two men some of the most popular barihunks in the world, but they are a father-in-law/son-in-law tandem. They also happen to be two of the greatest singers in the world today.

Luca Pisaroni (L) & Thomas Hampson (R)
For those of you who missed the broadcast, here are the duets from the concerts. We've also added Luca Pisaroni singing "Sorgete... Duce di tanti eroi"  from Rossini's Mamoetto II, which he will be singing at the Santa Fe Opera this summer. A performance that is not to be missed.  You can watch the entire concert at teresa59's YouTube site.

Thomas Hampson, Luca Pisaroni - Il rival salvar... Suoni la tromba (I puritani)

Thomas Hampson, Luca Pisaroni - Restate (Don Carlo)

Thomas Hampson, Luca Pisaroni - Cheti, cheti immantinente (Don Pasquale)

Thomas Hampson, Luca Pisaroni - Uldino...Tardo per gl'anni (Attila)

Luca Pisaroni - Sorgete... Duce di tanti eroi (Mamoetto II)


Friday, May 11, 2012

Zachary Gordin to premiere Clint Borzoni work at Sacramento Gay Pride

Zachary Gordin as he appears in the 2012 Barihunks calendar

On June 1 at 7 PM PST, the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center is presenting "Courage to Stand," which showcases the stories of LGBT service members who served before, during, and after the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell"  era. The event is the official kickoff of the 2012 Sacramento Gay Pride Weekend and it will include barihunk Zachary Gordin premiering New York composer Clint Borzoni's "A Nation Announcing Itself" taken from Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass."

We asked Borzoni about his selection of "A Nation Announcing Itself."
I scoured my go-to source material, Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" for a poem that might set well for the commission. I came upon the first poem in the "Chants Democratic" section which I thought perfectly captured the emotions of the LGBT troops. Lines like, "What we are, we are...", "I swear I dare not shirk any part of myself, not any part of America, good or bad", and "O I see now flashing, that this America is only you and me, its power, weapons, testimony, are you and me...". The song isn't only about an individual group standing up for their rights, but about a section of that group fighting for the rights of every person, even those that condemn them. The song is titled, "A Nation Announcing Itself".
We asked Zachary Gordin about the piece and here's what he had to say:
Clint treats the subject matter directly, and takes great care in setting the text. There are bugle-like intervals in the vocal line at the beginning of the song, setting a military theme which develops into a melody that flows from powerful exclamation, to floating pianissimi, and back. The accompaniment is virtuosic and exciting, reinforcing the emotional "buzz" of the text, and there's a big finish! I am amazed by how well Clint wrote for my specific voice, exploiting a full tonal palette in a way that seems like we collaborated endlessly on each phrase. All this, after one conversation about basic technical aspects of the vocal line. I'm thrilled to premiere this song with pianist Jim Jordan, who is an incredibly gifted artist and an absolute joy to make music with!
Tickets to this event are $75 per person and includes an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and a selection fo wine from Bogle Vineyards. The event is at the Citizen Hotel in Sacramento. Tickets are available HERE.

Regular readers of this site will recall that Borzoni also set another Whitman poem, "I Dream'd in a Dream" for barihunk Randal Turner's West Coast recital debut in 2010. That recording is available at CDBaby. or at Amazon (click on the box in the sidebar to order).

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Barihunks featured on NBC Channel 5 in Dallas

Donovan Singletary takes on the title role in the Marriage of Figaro
The local NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth ran a feature on the upcoming opera festival, which included a nice mention of Barihunks.

Barihunk Donovan Singletary, who is singing the title role in the Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" is prominently featured on the news segment. The cast includes fellow barihunk Jonathan Beyer as Count Almaviva, Andrea Carroll as Susanna, Jan Cornelius as Countess Almaviva, Rod Nelman as Dr. Bartolo, Kathryn Cowdrick as Marcellina and Wallis Giunta as Cherubino. The opera will be performed on May 19, 27 and June 1st.

View the news segment HERE.

Tom Forde as Angelotti in Tosca
Visit the Fort Worth Opera Festival website for additional information and tickets. They are also performing Mark Adamo's Lysistrata, Puccini's Tosca and Jake Heggie's Three Decembers


Vittorio Prato is risqué "Les Indes Galantes"

When we first saw these pictures, the naked body on the right was identified as baritone Nathan Berg. We've seen him perform and were confident that it wasn't him. A little further research revealed that he's a dancer in one of many nude scenes in Rameau's "Les Indes Galantes" at the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse. The scene pictured above is supposed to represent the Garden of Eden, which featured jocks and rap stars as symbols of our decaying society.

A shirtless Vittorio Prato
The opera goes on to deal with a number of topics that Rameau clearly never had to grapple with musically in his day, including consumerism, cocaine, illegal immigration and Islamic attitudes towards women (sexy women in lingerie are covered in burkas). We don't review operas and we weren't there, so we'll let you decide how you feel about the updated production concept by director Laura Scozzi.

Of course, what really caught our eye was one of our favorite barihunks, Vittorio Prato, prancing around shirtless on the "beach." Prato plays the role of Osman in the first act, but doesn't appear elsewhere in the opera. Prato can next be seen in Wolf-Ferrari's "Il segreto di Susanna" at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and then in the title role of Handel's "Imeneo" at the Théathe des Champs Elysées in Paris under Christopher Hogwood.

Nudity abounds in Théâtre du Capitole's latest production
Performances run through May 15 and additional information can be found at the Théâtre du Capitole website.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Edwin Crossley-Mercer gets an internet presence

Edwin Crossley-Mercer
We've been huge fans of Edwin Crossley-Mercer ever since he first came to our attention in 2008 after a fan of the site heard him in recital. Once we heard him (and saw him), we were hooked. However, he has been mysteriously absent on the internet, despite the development of an increasingly loyal fan base.

We were thrilled to learn that the gifted French barihunk now has an artist page on IMG Artists, as well as a personal site with his schedule. You can follow him on Twitter @EdwinXleyMercer. We also love his new head shot, which could be right out of GQ magazine.

Edwin Crossley-Mercer sings excerpts from Othmar Schoeck's cantata:

Upcoming performances include:

* June 3, 2012 : Recital of songs by Franz Schubert with pianist David Fray at Festival de Saint Denis, France
* June 14, 17, 20, 24, 27, 30, July 4, 7, 10, 2012 : Graf Dominik in Arabella by Richard Strauss, Opéra Bastille, Paris
* June 15, 2012 : Die Winterreise by Franz Schubert with Laurent Martin, piano, Festival de piano à Riom, France
* July 13, 2012 : Thésée in Hippolyte et Aricie by J.P. Rameau, festival de Beaune, France
* July 22, 2012 : Opera Gala, Orchestra of Scala Accademia, Bad Kissingen, Germany
* September 2012 : Jean Jacques Rousseau in the world premiere of "Jean Jacques Rousseau, citoyen de Genève" by Philippe Fénelon. Opéra de Genève, Switzerland


Nathan Gunn Names His "Top 5" Operas Where He Disrobed

Nathan Gunn as Billy Budd, at the Met on left (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) & in San Francisco (Darryl Bush SF Chronicle)
Nathan Gunn has become the über-barihunks of barihunks. Not only is he the reason that the phrase was first coined 15 years ago by director Francesca Zambeloo, but he has shown amazing staying power as one of opera's most popular sex symbols. After all, how many opera singers have had their workout routines featured in the Wall Street Journal?

WQXR 105 in New York City recently asked Nathan Gunn to name the "Top 5" operas in which he was asked to disrobe. Not only did he manage to come up with a great list and descriptions of each role, but he showed a great grasp of the history of the term "barihunk." Here is the list, followed by the video:

5. Daniel Catán - Florencia en el Amazonas (Riolobo)
4. Tobias Picker - An American Tragedy (Clive)
3. Péter Eötvös - Love and Other Demons (Father Delaura)
2. Benjamin Britten - Billy Budd (Billy Budd)
1. Gluck - Iphigénie en Tauride (Oreste)


Saturday, May 5, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: McCammon Winners Announced

Andrew Garland & Norman Garrett
The winners of the 2012 McCammon Voice Competition have just been announced and two of the award winners were barihunks who have been featured on our site. Congratulations to Norman Garrett who won 3rd Prize and to Andrew Garland who won the coveted Audience Favorite Award.

Since its debut in 1985, the McCammon Voice Competition has grown into one of the world's most important operatic events. Every two years, the contest showcases the most compelling young singers of our time. After several rounds of reviews and eliminations, the McCammon finalists engage in two days of intense competition. Many of the winners are catapulted onto major opera stages.

Previous barihunk winners include Jonathan Beyer and Donovan Singletary. Both men are appearing at the upcoming Ft. Worth Opera Festival in Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro."

Donovan Singletary
Andrew Garland can next be seen as Mercutio in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at the Annapolis Opera.

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"Madama Butterfly" Simulcast in Seattle Tonight

Brett Polegato (Sharpless) at Seattle Opera  (Elise Bakketun, photo 

Fresh on the heals of Dallas Opera's successful simulcast of Mozart's "Magic Flute," the Seattle Opera will be featuring Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" in a broadcast at KeyArena tonight (Saturday, May 5th).

Doors open for those who have preregistered at 6 p.m., and for the general public at 6:30 p.m. Anyone without a ticket will be allowed into KeyArena until the capacity is met. The opera begins at 7:30 p.m. This is the first time the Seattle Opera has hosted a simulcast of one of its productions.

Seattle Opera's production stars Brett Polegato as Sharpless,  Patricia Racette as Cio-Cio-San and Stefano Secco as Pinkerton.

Live performances of "Madama Butterfly" continue through May 19 at McCaw Hall. Visit the Seattle Opera website for more information. 

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Eugene Brancoveanu singing "Vi menr lebn" from The Thomashefsky's

Eugene Brancoveanu

When we saw Eugene Brancoveanu's latest post on YouTube of the title song from Joseph Rumshinsky's "Vi mener libn" (The Way Men Love), we figured it was worthy of its own post.

The piece is featured in the show "The Thomashefskys," which has been a project of conductor Michael Tilson Thomas. "The Thomasefsky's" features the Yiddish music of shows that played in the theater houses of the Lower East Side in New York and other American cities to which the Thomashefsky troupe traveled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Michael Tilson Thomas, rescued, researched, edited and arranged countless old scores. Much of it had to be restored according to his memory of how his grandmother Bessie Thomashefsky, father Ted Thomas and uncle Harry Thomashefsky performed the numbers in the living room of his North Hollywood family home in the 1950s.

To learn more about this project, click HERE

Here is Eugene Brancoveanu singing "Vi menr lebn":

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Teddy Tahu Rhodes Set to Tour "South Pacific"

Lisa McCune & Teddy Tahu Rhodes

Another opera barihunk is about to take on the role of Emile de Becque in Rodgers & Hammerstein's timeless musical "South Pacific." Following in the successful footsteps of Ezio Pinza and Paulo Szot, New Zealand barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes will open the show in Sydney on August 8th and then in Melbourne on September 13th.

Tahu Rhodes will be joined by four-time Gold Logie award-winning actress Lisa McCune as Nellie Forbush, Kate Ceberano as Bloody Mary and Eddie Perfect as Luther Billis.

The production by Bartlett Sher, swept the 2008 Tony Awards® taking home seven statues. The show played to sold-out houses for two and a half years, making it one of the Lincoln Center Theatre’s most successful productions. Tickets for the Sydney performances are already on sale and tickets for Melbourne go on sale on Monday, May 7th. Click HERE to get more information or to purchase tickets.

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Tom Corbeil featured in OPERA NEWS

Tom Corbeil in Opera News (Photo © Jörg Meyer 2012)
We can gauge the popularity of singers a number of ways on Barihunks, the most reliable is Google Analytics, which lets us know exactly which posts are receiving the most traffic. The other is email, which is less reliable, but a better gauge of the intensity of interest in a singer. Many famous barihunks generate a lot of traffic and email, particularly Nathan Gunn, Mariusz Kwiecien, Dmitry Hvorostovsky and, incresingly, Luca Pisaroni. It's fascinating when a younger, lesser known singer starts generating intense interest with fans, as is the case with Tom Corbeil.

Our recent post generated a lot of traffic, as well as links to older posts about the current star of the Addams Family musical. When Corbeil appeared in the recent issue of Opera News, we were inundated with emails making sure that we saw the article. The emails came from four continents, which was pretty impressive for a singer who is just beginning to make a name for himself.

Here is a highlight of the SOUND BITES feature from Opera News:

By F. Paul Driscoll

Tom Corbeil has been hitting low E-flats all over North America this season — but he hasn't been singing any opera. Explanation? Since September 2011, the thirty-four-year-old bass-baritone — who has won great notices over the past several years in Mozart, Haydn, Rossini and Puccini roles — has been on tour as Lurch, the taciturn butler in Broadway's The Addams Family. This month alone, Corbeil is scheduled to strut Lurch's stuff in Madison, Wisconsin; St. Paul, Minnesota; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and his hometown of San Diego, California. 

Although Corbeil says he has no intention of moving away from opera permanently — there are confirmed dates on his 2012–13 calendar for Rossini's Basilio at Michigan Opera Theatre and Rodolfo in Florida Grand Opera's La Sonnambula — he is enjoying his current stint as a touring actor. "I'm not singing for the entire show, so it's not as stressful as if I were doing eight Collines or eight Leporellos a week — it's more akin, from a purely vocal standpoint, to doing eight performances a week of the Marquis d'Obigny in La Traviata. That comes with its own stress, because you have a very short amount of time to make a very strong impression — or to make a very strong failure!"

[Read the entire article and Opera News HERE and, if you haven't already,  subscribe while you're there]


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Randal Turner takes on a role of biblical proportions

Randal Turner and the biblical Elijah

The Biblical figure Elijah was no slouch. After all, he raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and was lofted into the sky in a whirlwind by a chariot and horses. The role of Mendelsohn's "Elijah" is also no slouch and it requires some lofty singing from the baritone.

On Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:00 PM, you can hear Randal Turner take on the role at the Spring Music Festival in Greenwich, Connecticut. He'll be joined by sopranos Hanna Golodinskii and Carolyn Paulus, treble Katie Weatherseed, mezzo-soprano Linnea Conley and tenor Christopher Pfund. The First Church Festival Chorus and chamber orchestra will be led by Craig Scott Symons. The concert is free of charge, but a donation is strongly encouraged (or Elijah will bring fire down upon your head).

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings "It is enough" from "Elijah":  

The oratorio depicts various events in the life of the Biblical prophet Elijah, taken from the books 1 Kings and 2 Kings in the Old Testament. Mendelssohn made sure to include some of the grander episodes in Elijah's life, including the resurrection of a dead youth, the bringing of rain to parched Israel through Elijah's prayers, and the bodily ascension of Elijah on a fiery chariot into heaven. Perhaps the most dramatic episode is the "contest of the gods," in which Jehovah consumes an offered sacrifice in a column of fire, after a failed sequence of frantic prayers by the prophets of the god Baal.

For more information, visit the First Congregational Church of Greenwich website