Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Elliot Madore makes U.K. debut at Glyndebourne

Elliot Madore (Photo: Kristin Hoebermann)
Out in the Sussex countryside away from the commotion of the Summer Olympics, the Glyndebourne festival is about to present it's sixth and final production of the season. On August 4th, the company will open the Ravel double-bill of L’heure espagnole and L’enfant et les sortilèges. Ravel’s two one-act operas will reunite director Laurent Pelly and conductor Kazushi Ono, who made their Glyndebourne debuts in 2008 with Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel.

Canadian barihunk Elliot Madore will make his U.K. and Glyndebourne debut as Ramiro in L’heure espagnole and as The Cat/Grandfather Clock in L’enfant et les sortilèges'. There are nine performances running through August 25th and the opera will be screened in theatres throughout the U.K. on Sunday, August 19th for those who didn't get their tuxedos pressed in time.

 The 1987 production from Glyndebourne with barihunk Francois LeRoux:

The former Lindemann Young Artist participant has also joined the ensemble of Opernhaus Zürich for the 2012-13 season. The company has cast him in a new production of Peter Eötvös’s 'Three Sisters', and revivals of 'Pagliacci' (Silvio), 'Un ballo in maschera' (Silvano), and 'La scala di seta' (Germano).

Readers of this site will recall that Madore created a sensation when he stepped in for Daniel Okulitch as Don Giovanni with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. He also appeared as Lysander at The Met in their Baroque pastiche The Enchanged Island.

Other operas that are still running at Glyndebourne include La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro and Purcell's The Fairy Queen. Visit their website for tickets and additional performance information.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

West Edge Opera's "City of Sin"

Barihunk Daniel Cilli (shirtless) and Paul Murray
West Edge Opera is doing some of the more interesting and original programming in the American opera scene under Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky. The company, formerly known as Berkeley Opera, has moved to neighboring El Cerrito with a repertory geared to attracting a broader and younger opera audience. The revamped company is a key player in the rich San Francisco opera scene which includes the conservative San Jose Opera, internationally acclaimed San Francisco Opera, stunning baroque opera/oratorio from the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and dozens of regional companies. For opera lovers looking for a change of pace from the usual fare, West Edge Opera has become the company of choice.

West Edge Opera is pairing the Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht social satire “Mahagonny Songspiel” with another one-act opera, Daron Hagen's “Vera of Las Vegas.” Regular readers of this site will recall that Hagen debuted his opera "Amelia" at the Seattle Opera in May 2010 with a cast that included Nathan Gunn as Paul (and fellow barihunk David McFerrin in the second cast).

The productions include shirtless singers, modern day references, a world-famous countertenor in drag, musical mash-ups of jazz/cabaret/classical music and the famous "Alabama Song." 

Artistic Director Mark Streshinsky discusses "City of Sin":

In 1927, Mahagonny Songspiel became the first major hit for the Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill collaboration. It was later expanded to become the full-length opera "The Rise and Rall of the City of Mahagonny."

Countertenor Brian Asawa and Tenor Thomas Glenn (giving barihunks a run for their money)
Composer Daron Hagen and poet Paul Muldoon have teamed up to create a quintessentially American dream-gone-wrong opera, set in the quintessential city of illusory hopes, Las Vegas. The story is about two former IRA operatives trying to escape their nightmares who become enmeshed in a surrealistic Vegas fantasy of sex- and identity- confusion. The score will is played by a 1920’s cabaret band.

Visit westedgeopera.org for additional information.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo Wows Verona, Heads to L.A.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo

Barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo just completed his historic run in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Arena di Verona. The new Franco Zeffirelli production was the first performance of the opera at that venue in ninety years. We suspect that video will pop up over the next few months from the production. Most of what is available now is rehearsal footage. We promise to post it as it becomes available, because it was a production for the ages.

Video stills from Muica with Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Musica did a wonderful video overview of the opera that features the Italian heartthrob shirtless most of the time. There's also an interview from RAI Radio 3 in Italy with the singer. Watch it at Euronews and D'Arcangelo's interview HERE (in Italian).

In the meantime, enjoy D'Arcangelo serenading some happy Italians with  "Deh vieni alla finestra."

 Ildebrando D'Arcangelo sings "Deh vieni alla finestra" from Verona:

D'Arcangelo now takes his seductive Don to Hollywood, as he opens as the title character with the Los Angeles Opera. The three week run begin on September 22 with the adorable Masetto of Joshua Bloom. Regular readers might recall that Bloom made his successful debut in the role last Fall with a cast that includes fellow barihunks Luca Pisaroni and Mariusz Kwiecien.

For additional cast and performance information visit the Los Angeles Opera website.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Keenlyside's Sexy ads for Met's "The Tempest"

Simon Keenlyside
If there was ever any doubt that sedxy men in opera are finally being recognized for having the same marketing potential as their female counterparts, it was firmly dispelled with the arrival of the new Metropolitan Opera 2012-13. In the past, one could count on Anna Netrebko, Kiri Te Kanawa or Elīna Garanča gracing the cover. Barihunk Simon Keenlyside graces the cover with a full body tattoo and have exposed torso. The British singer, who turns 53 on August 3rd, looks as stunning as singers half his age.

Composer Thomas Adès will conduct and Robert Lepage will direct the Met premiere of this modern masterpiece. Keenlyside will sing the role of Prospero, the banished Duke of Milan who practices his otherworldly arts. The entire cast could be out of Hollywood central casting. It includes Isabel Leonard as Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, Toby Spence as his brother Antonio and Audrey Luna as the spirit Ariel.

The cast also has other barihunk connections, as Leonard is the wife of barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Luna is the wife of barihunk Jordan Shanahan.

If you can't make it to New York City, you can watch the performance in the Met's Live in HD broadcast of Saturday, November 10, 2012.

Kyle Ketelsen to star in Carmen
Other barihunks performing at the Met his Fall include Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Un Ballo in Maschera and Don Carlo, Mariusz Kwiecien in L'Elisir d'Amore, Peter Mattei in Parsifal, Guido Loconsolo in Giolio Cesare, Kyle Ketelsen and Teddy Tahu Rhodes in Carmen, Nathan Gunn in Le Comte Ory, Ildar Abdrazakov and Erwin Schrott in Don Giovanni and John Relyea in Faust.

Visit the Met's website for additional performance and cast information.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aubrey Allicock to star as boxer Emile Griffith

Aubrey Allicock and Emile Griffith
The Opera Theatre of St. Louis has announced that barihunk Aubrey Allicock will star as bisexual boxer Emile Griffith in the world premiere of Champion on June 15, 2013. The opera was written by jazz great Tereence Blanchard with a libretto by playwright Michael Cristofer and will also star mezzo Denyce Graves.

Aubrey Allicock has become an instant fan favorite at the Opera Theatre where he played Mamoud in The Death of Klinghoffer in 2011 and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland in 2012. Local opera fans got to know him during his two year stint with the Gerdine Young Artist program where he performed the roles of Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin and the Customs Official in La bohème.

Terence Blanchard: Taxi Driver:

Emile Griffith was a three-time World Welterweight Champion and twice a World Middleweight Champion, fighting from the late 1950s into the 1970s. However, one of his greatest professional triumphs – winning back the Welterweight Championship from Benny “The Kid” Paret in 1962 – was also one of his greatest personal tragedies. The seventeen punches he landed on Paret in seven seconds resulted in not only a knockout, but also a coma from which Paret would never recover. Paret would die ten days later.

The end of the Griffith-Paret fight + Norman Mailer's commentary:

Before that life-changing televised fight, in a room full of press and officials, Paret mocked Griffith repeatedly with a derogatory term for homosexual. Years later, Griffith’s sexuality as a gay man was revealed to the public after he was nearly killed by a gang outside a gay bar in New York. “I kill a man,” Griffith was quoted to have said, “and most people understand and forgive me. I love a man, and to so many people this is an unforgiveable sin.” In an inspiring, moving, and painful journey of self-discovery, Champion presents audiences with a great contemporary tragic hero – a man of strength and courage consumed ultimately by rage, regret, and the terrible consequences of his actions.

Today, Griffith requires full time care and suffers from pugilistic dementia.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rocky Mountain High: 3 Barihunks in Crested Butte

Marcell Bakonyi
Yesterday we featured barihunks out in the English countryside, so it's only appropriate that we head up into the Colorado Rockies today. In beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado a trio of barihunks is also taking up Mozart. At the Crested Butte Music Festival, Philip Cutlip (Papageno), Keith Miller (Sarastro) and Marcell Bakonyi (Speaker) are performing the Magic Flute at the famed ski resort.

Keith Miller & Philip Cutlip
We've featured Cutlip and Miller extensively on this site in the past, but Bokonyi is a new singer for us. Bakonyi was born in 1980 in Győr, Hungary. He studied voice at the Leo-Weiner Conservatory of Music in Budapest, and later at the Hochschule für Musik, Stuttgart with Professor Julia Hamari where he also attended classes in Lieder singing. Since 2009 he has been a member of the ensemble of the Landestheater Salzburg where he sang the roles of Bartolo and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as Kaspar in Der Freischütz, Angelotti in Tosca and Bacco in Arianna, Dulcamara in L'elisir d'amore and Leporello in Don Giovanni.

Crested Butte is best known for their international film festival, skiing and as the birthplace of mountain biking. The Music Festival presents diverse array of music, dance and opera. This year's lineup includes Broadway tunes, bluegrass, jazz, sacred, chamber, symphonic and operatic fare. There is also a young artist training program headed by tenor Marcello Giordano. The Magic Flute will run from July 25-29. Visit their website for additional information.

In a sign that barihunks are being viewed as sex symbols more widely, Keith Miller was asked to model for this Suburu ad and we think he looks pretty hot.


CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Barihunks in the English Countryside take on Figaro

Baritone Marc Callahan
American Marc Callahan and Brit Michael Davis opened as Figaro and the Count respectively in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro this weekend at the beautiful Winslow Hall in Buckinghamshire, England. The estate out in the glorious English countryside was designed by England’s greatest architect, Sir Christopher Wren. Performances run through Sunday, July 29th. To book tickets, call the Stowe Opera box office at 01280 848275 or download a booking form from www.stoweopera.com.

Winslow Hall
Now resident in the United Kingdom, Marc Callahan is a native of Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. His formal music studies began at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music Degree, and later at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he received his Masters Degree and is continuing his doctoral studies. A lover of French art song, Marc furthered his vocal studies in Paris, France at the Schola Cantorum and the École Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot.

Michael Davis
Born in London, Michael Davis studied at Oxford University and the Royal College of Music, where he was supported by the Constant and Kit Lambert Studentship. He furthered his studies on the English National Opera, Opera Works course. He also won first prize in the 2009-10 Bayreuth Bursary Competition.

 Simon Keenlyside sings "Hai gia vinta la causa" from Le nozze di Figaro:

Contact us at Barihunks@gmail.com

Both Szymanowski Operas Being Performed in July

Mariusz Kwiecien
There is a lot of excitement about Mariusz Kwiecien bringing his world-remowned performance of Karol Szymanowski's title character King Roger to the Santa Fe Opera. There are five performance beginning tonight and running through August 14. Visit their website for additional information.

We've covered Kwiecien's sexy portrayal of the king extensively on the site, including the complete video of the opera and some sexy shirtless pictures of the "Hot Pole" from the Paris Opera production. You can also listen to Mariusz Kwiecien's recent radio interview where he talks about his love for Santa Fe and performing King Roger.

We're huge fans of Szymanowski and are thrilled that the Santa Fe Opera is exposing his music and stagecraft to American audiences. Although King Roger is the best known opera, his rarely performed Hagith is certainly worth experiencing.

Mariusz Kwiecien as King Roger at the Paris Opera
Szymanowski is best known for his wonderful piano music, which includes the famous Étude, Opus 4, No. 3, his four symphonies, two violin concertos, the ballets Harnasie and Mandragora two string quartets, a sonata for violin and piano, his famous Stabat Mater and a number of orchestral songs.

Hagith, which has been compared to Richard Strauss' Salome, is based on the Old Testament story of King David. Priests tell the aged king that the love of the young girl Hagith will bring him a new lease of life. But Hagith and the young king, the aged king's son, love each other, and Hagith refuses to make a sacrifice on behalf of the aged king. The aged king eventually dies, and Hagith is stoned to death.

The opera is receiving a rare performance outside of Poland this month as the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires is presenting four performances between July 22-28 in a double bill with Schoenberg's Erwartung. You can watch the Opera Wrocławska production in its entirety with Viktor Gorelikov below.

Opera Wrocławska's performance of Hagith:

Contact us at Barihunks@gmail.com

Friday, July 20, 2012

Zachary Gordin: Orff, Orff. Woof, Woof.

Zachary Gordin rehearsing with Festival Opera
We've seen opera singers show up in all kinds of garb for rehearsals from turbans to yoga outfits, but few make quite the impression that barihunk Zachary Gordin makes. This photo was taken at the recent rehearsal for Festival Opera's "Make Our Garden Grow" benefit in Walnut Creek, California. Gordin is known for his flashy, flesh revealing outfits and occasional baubles, bangles...and bright, shiny beads.

A regular fixture on the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, where he started as a countertenor, Gordin has increasingly become a fixture in Southern California, as well. His next appearance will be on July 28th with the Pacific Shores Philharmonic at the Libbey Bowl in Ojai, California. Gordin will be reprising the baritone role in Orff's Carmina Burana, which he recently performed to critical acclaim with the Oakland East Bay Symphony.

All we have to say is: WOOF!!! We want to get invited to some rehearsals.

Contact us at Barihunks@gmail.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chris Carr is Opera's Latest Spartacus Transformation

Chris Carr (far left) in Oklahoma and a "Before and After" photo
The last time we featured Chris Carr, he was doing a free masterclass with mezzo Joyce Di Donato in Kansas City. The emerging singer has been working hard on perfecting his voice, but it appears he's also working hard on his physique. 

The amazing transformation of Michael Mayes
Carr is the latest opera singer to take up the Spartacus workout routine and it appears to paying off. Barihunk Michael Mayes is perhaps the biggest proponent of the workout and his transformation prompted us to feature him in our "BariChunk to BariHunk" post. Mayes has even created a Facebook site called Operaticus for singers who doing the workout. Mayes has become one of our ten most popular singers on Barihunks since his transformation. Mayes is well-known in opera circles for rounding up singers and marching them to the gym like an over-caffeinated Marine drill sergeant. 

Michael Mayes and tenor Gabriel Nochlin-Gargari after a Spartacus workout

The Spartacus workout is a series of ten exercises that work every part of your body, including your heart, lungs and muscles. The high-intensity circuit is designed to burn away fat, while defining your chest, abs, and arms.

Our favorite fitness guru Scott Herman explains the Spartacus workout:

Since we mentioned Joyce Di Donato earlier in the post, we should let you know that her homecoming concert in Kansas City will be broadcast on PBS beginning on Friday, July 20 and rebroadcast all week. Check your local listings. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Florida Grand Opera's "Opera's Sexiest Men"

The Florida Grand Opera has been having a great time on Facebook and Twitter with the recent Marie Claire feature about the sexiest men in opera. They've now created they're own meme of "Opera's Sexiest Men."

We certainly won't take issue with ANY of the barihunks on their list, which includes Seth Carico, Mariusz Kwiecien, Nathan Gunn, Randal Turner, Gabriel Bermudez, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Michael Mayes, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo and Keith Miller, all of whom have appeared on this site. They've even included some of our favorite tenors, like Jonathan Blalock, Alek Shrader Michael Fabiano and Eric Margiore.

Make sure to check out Florida Grand Opera's upcoming season, which includes Puccini's La boheme, Mozart's Magic Flute, Verdi's La traviata and Bellini's La sonnambula. Visit their website for additional information.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Jonathan Estabrooks Takes on Rodgers & Hammerstein

Jonathan Estabrooks
The Toronto Symphony has announced that barihunk Jonathan Estabrooks will be one of the singers featured in their upcoming "Some Enchanted Evening" concert. The evening will showcase the music of Rodgers & Hammestein. Estabrooks will be joined by soprano Ashley Brown and tenor Aaron Lazar in selections from The Sound of Music, The King and I, Oklahoma, Carousel, and South Pacific. 

There will be an evening performance on October 9th and both a matinee and evening performance on October 10th. Visit their website for additional information.

You can check out some sound files of Estabrooks singing both opera and Broadway musicals at Reverbnation.

You can also follow the internet savvy singer on Twitter @estarp, on his Facebook fan page, or on YouTube where he hosts "A Singer's Life."

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Celebrating the anniversary of "Die Entführung aus dem Serail"

For all of you BariChunk lovers: Kurt Rydl as Osmin in Salzburg
Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail premiered on this date in 1782. We often don't focus a lot on the bass end of the barihunk range, so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity. The opera contains three arias for Osmin and the music goes down to the lowest reaches of the bass range.

Mozart wrote the role of Osmin for the formidable bass Ludwig Fischer, who was a friend of the composer. Mozart also wrote the aria "Alcandro, lo confesso…Non sò, d'onde viene" (K. 512) for the singer and some other concert arias. This is significant, because he had primarily written these concert show pieces for sopranos and the occasional tenor.

Ludwig Fischer
A letter between Mozart and his father dated September 26, 1781 shows that Osmin originally had very little music.
 "In the original libretto Osmin has only [one] short song and nothing else to sing, except in the trio and the finale; so he has been given an aria in Act 1, and he is to have another in Act 2. I have explained to Stephanie [the librettist] the words I require for the aria ['Solche hergelaufne Laffen'] - indeed, I had finished composing most of the music for it before Stephanie knew anything whatever about it. I am enclosing only the beginning and the end, which is bound to have a good effect. Osmin's rage is rendered comical by the use of the Turkish music. In working out the aria I have allowed Fischer's beautiful deep notes to glow. The passage 'Drum beim Barte des Propheten' is indeed in the same tempo, but with quick notes; and as Osmin's rage gradually increases, there comes (just when the aria seems to be at an end) the Allegro assai, which is in a totally different metre and in a different key; this is bound to be very effective. For just as a man in such a towering rage oversteps all the bounds of order, moderation and propriety and completely forgets himself, so must the music too forget itself. But since passions, whether violent or not, must never be expressed to the point of exciting disgust, and as music, even in the most terrible situation, must never offend the ear, but must please the listener, or in other words must never cease to be music, so I have not chosen a key foreign to F (in which the aria is written) but one related to it - not the nearest, D minor, but the more remote A minor."
The first aria is "Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden," which advises the listener to reward your loved one with kisses and make her life great,  as well as to locking up your woman's other lovers, lest they tempt her to forget her faithfulness.

Gottlob Frick sings "Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden":

In the aria "Solche hergelaufne Laffen" Osmin graphically explains why he does not like Pedrillo. It's is mainly because Osmin and Pedrillo are both in love with Blondchen and Pedrillo is in better favor with both Blondchen and the Pasha.

Gottlob Frick sings "Solche hergelaufne Laffen":

After Pedrillo, Belmonte, Blondchen, and Konstanze are captured trying to escape, Osmin sings of the delight that he will have when they are all hanged in the aria "O wie will ich triumphieren."

Kurt Moll sings "O wie will ich triumphieren":

Ezio Pinza sings the aria in Italian:

Since the aria contains one of the lowest notes in the standard repertory, we thought that it would be fun to compare some of the greatest basses and their low D's (the aria goes from D2 to D4).

In chronological order:
1. Ezio Pinza 1947 (in Italian)
2. Mihaly Szekely 1959 (in Hungarian)
3. Gottlob Frick 1966
4. Kurt Moll 1974
5. Marti Talvela 1984
6. Matti Salminen 1987
7. Jaako Ryhänen 1988
8. Robert Lloyd 1991
9. Cornelius Hauptmann 1992
10. Franz Hawlata 2006
11. Kurt Rydl 2006

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reader Submission: Luis Alejandro Orozco

Luis Alejandro Orozco
Our latest reader submission is Mexican-American baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco. The emerging barihunk was born in El Paso Texas, and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico. Orozco is currently an artist diploma candidate at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He will be performing in Astor Piazzolla's "María de Buenos Aires" at the Cincinnati Opera on July 25 and 27 under Jose Maria Condemi’s direction. Visit their website for tickets and additional performance information. He will reprise the performance with the Lexington Philharmonic in February 2013.

Orozco appeared as the baritone soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Also at the Conservatory Orozco has done the roles of Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia.  He has performed with such companies as Lake George Opera (Saratoga Opera), Des Moines Metro Opera, and El Paso Opera and Cincinnati Opera. He has performed the roles of Marcello in La boheme, Yamadori in Madama Butterfly, and le Dancaïre in Carmen.

 Luis Alejandro Orozco sings Mozart's "Deh, vieni alla finestra" at CCM:

Orozco has performed the role of Papageno in Mozart’s Magic Flute, in The Seoul International Opera Festival in South Korea. Also overseas he has performed with CCM Spoleto’s summer festival in the roles of Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia, and the title role in Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino.

In 2010 he was the winner of the Metropolitan Opera Tri State district, and obtained an encouragement award in 2011 in the Metropolitan Opera Four City District. He obtained a Bachelor of Music degree at The University of Texas at El Paso, and Master of Music degree from Cincinnati Conservatory of music, where he studies under the vocal instruction of William McGraw.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Barihunks Galore available for viewing at Arte Live Web

Giorgio Caoduro
Director Olivier Py's sexy production of Bizet's Carmen is currently available in its entirety at Arte Live Web. The production stars Giorgio Caoduro as Escamillo and it's not to be missed!

If Carmen's not your cup of tea or if one barihunk isn't sufficient to whet your appetite, then check out Mozart's Marriage of Figaro with Paolo Szot as Count Almaviva and Kyle Ketelsen as Figaro. (The production also features the amazing Cherubino of Kate Lindsey).

Paolo Szot & Kyle Ketelsen

Both operas will be available for free for about the next six month. For your convenience, we've posted them both on Barihunks for your viewing pleasure.

In an unrelated matter, we're taking submissions for our 2nd Annual Barihunks Charity Calendar. Send pictures (with appropriate permissions) to Barihunks@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tobias Schabel as Wallenberg

Tobias Schabel as Wallenberg
Barihunk Tobias Schabel, who we last featured as a partially nude Wotan, is starring in Erkki-Sven Tüür’s opera "Wallenberg" at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe co-starring Lucas Harbour.

The opera tells the story of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who saved 100 000 Jews from German concentration camps. The opera's first performance took place in Dortmund in 2001 and was later performed at the Estonian National Opera in 2007. The latter performance received the Cultural Prize of the Republic of Estonia and Annual Award of Estonian Theatre for best musical staging.

 Scenes from "Wallenberg" at the Estonian National Opera:

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Luca Pisaroni in Rossini masterpiece in Santa Fe

A young Luca Pisaroni and getting fit for Maometto
One of the greatest opera festivals in the world is getting into full swing with the upcoming world premiere of the new critical performing edition of Rossini's foot-tapping Maometto II.  The Venetian love story contains some of the Italian composers greatest music, but has somehow never entered the standard repertory, even in its reworked version Le siège de Corinthe. The last U.S. performance was the 1988 production in San Francisco, which was produced as a showcase for Simone Alaimo and June Anderson.

Pisaroni as Radamisto (Photo by Ken Howard)

Although the two best known arias are sung by the mezzo Calbo (Non temer: d'un basso affetto) and the soprano Anna (Giusto Cielo, in tal periglio), the title role is sung by a bass-baritone and contains some of Rossini's best music for low voice. Perhaps the most touching is the duet between Maometto and Anna, "Anna... tu piangi," which you can hear below.

Santa Fe has brought in one of our favorite singers, Luca Pisaroni, to sing the title role. Pisaroni has been a fan favorite at the Santa Fe Opera since his stunning debut in Handel's Radamisto in 2008. 

Pisaroni discusses Maometto II:

Performances of Maometto II will run from July 14-August 16 with the new starting times of 8:00 and 8:30 PM, dropping the later 9 PM start time (for which we are grateful). Pisaroni's Anna will be the hottest new Verdi soprano on the scene, Leah Crocetto. Tickets are available on the company's website.

Samuel Ramey & Cecilia Gasdia from Pesaro in 1985:

On July 21, Pisaroni will also be performing a recital with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. He'll be performing Bach's Cantata No. 82, “Ich Habe Genug," BWV 82. Tickets are available online.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Monday, July 9, 2012

Don Giovanni - On tour, On stage, On Air, On Internet, On Everywhere

Sam Dundas in Opera Australia's "Don Giovanni"
We could probably create a sister site simply dedicated to barihunks performing in Mozart's
"Don Giovanni." No other opera provides us with as much content and sheer joy. Fortunately, there are Don Giovanni's being performed around the globe and the casts are filled with some of our favorite singers. Moreover, some of them will be available for worldwide viewing. Oh, how did we survive before the internet age?

Sam Dundas debuted the role of Don Giovanni with the Victorian Opera in 2009 and has become a fan  favorite in the role. On Saturday, he kicked off a ten week, twenty-four city tour, apparently adding more sexual conquests to Leporello's catalogue. (We can hear the catalogue aria now: "In Queensland, a hundred and three! In Melbourne, a thousand and forty! In Wollongong, well we're not coming back to Wollongong!"). 

Visit the Opera Australia website for additional tour, cast and ticket information. 

Shigeo Ishino & André Morsch
Oper Stuttgart is presenting Don Giovanni with Shigeo Ishino as the Don and André Morsch as his sidekick Leporello. The performance on July 25th will be available three different ways to those who can't make the actual performance. The opera will be broadcast throughout Germany on SWR television, streamed on the internet at 3sat and broadcast into the public plaza outside of the opera house. 

Erwin Schrott & Christopher Maltman
Barihunks Christopher Maltman and Erwin Schrott have taken their successful Salzburg Festival portrayal of Don Giovanni and Leporello to Berlin's Staatsoper Unter den Linden. Also, check out our previous post about Erwin Schrott and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo sharing the title role in Verona, as well as the free NY Philharmonic performance of the Act 1 finale that available for free on Medici.tv that features three barihunks. There are also productions in Des Moines, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Savonna and Lacoste. 

Watch the trailer of the Claus Guth production with lots of sexy Shrott & Maltman:

A behind the scenes look at the Unter den Linden production featuring Erwin Schrott:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Reader Submission: Soloman Howard

Soloman Howard shows he has arms to match his voice

Our latest reader submission is Soloman Howard, affectionately known as SoHo to his friends. 

A native of Washington, D.C.,  Howard is in his second year of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. This season he appears with the Washington National Opera as Il Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni, which runs from September 20-October 13. The Don Giovanni's will be barihunks Paulo Szot and Ildar Abdrazakov and the Leporello is Andrew Foster-Williams. Last season he was seen on stage as High Priest of Baal in Verdi's Nabucco.

Solomon Howard "Total Praise" at the 1:09 mark (Check out those low notes):

His recent credits include a debut with Washington Concert Opera as Leone in Verdi's Attila, and performances at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage with the Conservatory Project. Previous engagements include Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and many concerts with the Morgan State University Choir, including the role of Porgy in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, under the baton of Paul Freeman.

Howard is a graduate of Morgan State University and the Manhattan School of Music.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Upcoming Recitals & HD Broadcast

Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Un Ballo in Maschera

The "Siberian Hunky" Dmitri Hvorostovsky is taking a break from the stage until November while he wraps up his recital tour. He has tour special concerts coming up this month.  On July 8, he'll join the great bass Paata Burchuladze and soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya for a concert in Abakan, Russia. The program will include operatic fare by Rubenstein and Bizet, including Escamillo's signature aria "Votre toast" from Carmen. As part of his performance in the Khakassian capital, Dmitri will also sing songs by celebrated composer Aleksandra Pakhmutova, including her "Ti Moya Melodiya" and the touching "Kak Molodi Mi Bili."  (Translation of text at end of this post)

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Pakhmutova's "Kak molody my byli": 

On July 20th, he'll open the 21st International Český Krumlov Music Festival with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra. The concert will take place in the beautiful Brewery Garden of the historic Czech town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hvorostovsky will sing arias from Verdi's Rigoletto and Il Trovatore in addition to Wagner's "Abenstern" from Tannhäuser and Bellini's "Or dove fuggo io mai!" from I Puritani, among others. The gala comes to a close with Neapolitan songs.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky sings Falvo's Neapolitan song "Dicitencello vuie":

If you're like most of us and you won't be in Russia this month, you can catch him on the December 8th Live in HD broadcast of Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera from the Metropolitan Oper.

Kak Molodi Mi Bili

Look back,
unfamiliar passerby,
Your glance is incorruptibly familiar.
Maybe that is me, only younger?
We not always remember ourselves.
Nothing on this earth passes without a trace,
And the youth that went away is nevertheless immortal.

How young we were!
How young we were!
How sincerely we loved
How believed we in ourselves!

Others met us back then without laughs (put-downs)
All the flowers on the roads of this earth.
Our friends for their mistakes we forgave
Only changes (cheating) we could not forgive.
The first time we already have won
And only one thing from that we understand.
So others on this earth would not lose you,
Try to not lose yourself!

How young we were!
How young we were!
How sincerely we loved
How believed we in ourselves!

In the heavens, the sky lightings have gone (sunrise and sunset)
And in the heart, the thunder is calming.
To not forget our loved faces
To not forget our native eyes...

Friday, July 6, 2012

Liam Bonner to star in neglected Chabrier opera

Liam Bonner

The last time we posted about Liam Bonner, he was part of what we called the "barihunk laden" cast of Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera "Silent Night" at the Minnesota Opera. Bonner scored a critical success as Lieutenant Audebert in that world premiere performance. Prior to that, we featured him singing the beautiful song "Lost in the Stars" in our tribute to Kurt Weill. If you missed Silent Night, you're in luck, as Bonner will reprise his role with the Opera Company of Philadelphia in February 2013.

Bonner has broken out of the barihunk pack of Silent Night and will be singing the lead role of Henri de Valois in Emmanuel Chabrier’s neglected opera The King in Spite of Himself (Le roi malgré lui) at Bard SummerScape in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Bonner returns to SummerScape after his successful 2010 performance in the American premiere of Kurt Weill’s Royal Palace.

Nicolas Rivenq sings "Cher pays" from Le Roi malgré lui from Lyons:

SummerScape is performing the first staged revival of the original 1887 version of the opera. The production will receive a contemporary treatment from director Thaddeus Strassberger. The opera will be performed on July 27 and 29, and August 1, 3 and 5 with the American Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leon Botstein. The company will also perform Saint-Saëns’s grand opera Henry VIII. Visit their website for additional performance information.

The King in Spite of Himself  is a comedy about the hapless 16th-century French noble who has been chosen by the Poles to be their king, despite various factions who are plotting against him. Henri is repelled by the weather, the food, and the fashion, and pines for his milieu in Anjou. Farce ensues when he tries to eschew the crown, but fate is sometimes easier to reluctantly accept than to escape.

The opera contains vocal fireworks, an exuberant chorus, lively dances and a clever orchestral score. For those of you who have seen Aida, La Boheme or Carmen once too often, this is a great chance to see an opera that was greatly admired by Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky, but has fallen from the standard repertory. 

Liam Bonner & Quirijn de Lang
For those readers on the other side of the Pond, you can see Bonner as Henri de Valois in October at the Wexford Festival Opera. That performance also features popular barihunk Quirijn de Lang in the role of Laski. Visit their website for additional information.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Celebrating American Opera Composers on July 4th (Independence Day in the U.S.)

Matthew Worth in Virginia Opera's Orphee by Philip Glass
American opera didn't happen until more than 140 years after the first opera, Jacobo Peri's Daphne. William Henry Fry is considered the first American opera composer. He wrote the unperformed Aurelia the Vestal in 1841 followed by Leonora in 1845. Most early American composers are forgotten today. Perhaps the first who are remembered today are Walter Damrosch, Scott Joplin, Louis Gruenberg, Roger Sessions and Victor Herbert.

One composer who is largely forgotten today is Harry Lawrence Freeman, an early African-American composer who supported himself and his own opera company during his lifetime and performed to largely black audiences. In 1893, his opera Epthelia was the first opera performed in the U.S., which was written by an African-American composer.

Louis Gruenberg's "The Emperor Jones" with Nmon Ford:

Before the advent of World War II, a number of prominent American composers emerged whose music endures today, including Marc Blitzstein, Virgil Thomson, George Gershwin, Douglas Moore, Aaron Copland and Gian Carlo Menotti. Perhaps the most enduring works from this period are Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts and Gershwin's Porgy & Bess.

Robert Sims sings "I got plenty o nuttin'" from Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess":

The second half of the 20th Century saw the emergence of some of America's greatest composers ever, including Hugo Weisgall, Dominick Argento, Carlisle Floyd, Samuel Barber, Thomas Pasatieri, Philip Glass, John Adams and Stewart Wallace. In 1955, Carlisle Floyd wrote what many consider America's greatest opera, Susannah, which remains in the standard repertory today.

Samuel Ramey sings "Hear Me, O Lord, I beseech Thee" from Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah":

Long before the composing couple of Mark Adamo and John Corigliano emerged, America was blessed with lifelong companions Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti, who wrote some of the greatest operatic works in history. Barber penned Antony & Cleopatra and Vanessa, the latter with a libretto by Menotti. Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966 with Leontyne Price and Justino Diaz.

Catherine Malfitano & Richard Cowan sing "Oh take those lips away" from 
Barber's "Antony & Cleopatra":

Gian Carlo Menotti wrote the most performed American opera ever written, Amahl and the Night Visitors. His impressive list of operas include The Consul, The Saint of Bleeker StreetAmelia Goes to the Ball, The Old Maid and the Thief, The Telephone and The Last Savage. In 1958, Menotti founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy and then founded its companion festival in Charleston, South Carolina in 1977.

Bryan Elsesser sings "When the air sings of summer" from "The Old Maid and the Thief" 
by Gian Carlo Menotti

The 21st century has seen an explosion of interest in living American composers, including Tobias Picker, John Adams, Philip Glass, Jake Heggie, Mark Adamo, Ricky Ian Gordon, Anthony Davis, Steve Mackey, John Corligliano, Daron Hagen and John Harbison. Philip Glass has been successfully writing operas for 35 years, with such major successes as Hydrogen Jukebox, Einstein on the Beach, Kepler, Satyagraha and Appomattox. He has composed over twenty operas.

Father Death Blues from Hydrogen Jukebox:

Although he is far less prolific than Glass, many people consider John Adams an equal to Glass as the greatest living American composer. His masterpiece is considered Nixon in China, which is currently being performed in theaters around the world.  His other somewhat less successful opera is The Death of Klinghoffer

Michael Mayes in Tulsa Opera's "Dead Man Walking"
Perhaps the modern day wunderkind of American opera is Jake Heggie, who has strung together a remarkable number of operas which are entering the standard repertory. His 2000 opera Dead Man Walking is becoming an audience favorite far beyond the U.S. shores. Of course, we love it, because it has become a major vehicles for barihunks who are portraying the convicted killer Joseph De Rocher . His other successes include The End of the Affair, Three Decembers and the recent hit Moby-Dick

Norman Treigle sings "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner":

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Monday, July 2, 2012

Andrew Garland wins National Association of Teachers Competition

Andrew Garland has kept the barihunk winning streak alive in vocal competitions, as he won the National Association of Teachers Competition this weekend.

Garland will receive $10,000 in cash and prizes including $5000 in cash, a $2500 winner’s recital at the 2014 National Conference in Boston,  and $2500 towards personal expenses for a New York solo recital debut sponsored by the Distinguished Concerts International New York. He also receives a full tuition scholarship to AIMS in Graz, Austria and a $1,000 gift certificate for music from Hal Leonard Corporation.

Judges for the finals were Christopher Arneson, Jane Eaglen, Lynn Helding, Beverley Rinaldi, and Donald Simonson.

Garland can next be seen on July 28th at the South Shore Concert series in Hingham, Massachusetts performing music from opera and operetta.

Garland sings Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" 

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gregory Gerbrandt in South American production of Bernstein's West Side Story

Gregory Gerbrandt/Wilson Fitzer, Gregory Gerbrandt and Andrew Maloney

American barihunk Gregory Gerbrandt is making his debut at the Nacional Teatro Sucre in Quito, Ecuador as Riff in the quintessential American Broadway musical, "West Side Story." Riff is the leader of the Jets, who suggests setting up a "rumble" with the rival gang The Sharks. Riff's big number in the show is "Cool," which he sings with his Jets buddies. West Side Story was Leonard Bernstein's modern adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and the role of Riff would parallel Mercutio in the original version.

When Gerbrandt returns to the U.S. in September, he'll perform Marcello in Puccini's  La bohéme at the Hidden Valley Opera Seminars with fellow barihunks Gabriel Preisser and Isaiah Musik Ayala.

Leonard Bernstein rehearses "Cool" with baritone Kurt Ollmann:

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com

Watch Kelly Markgraf LIVE or ONLINE

Kelly Markgraf
One of our favorite emerging barihunk stars is Kelly Markgraf, who was just part of the sold out two-night performance of Philharmonic 360 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. He was joined by barihunks Keith Miller and Ryan McKinny in one of the most talked about classical music performances in years.

If you missed the performance, you're in luck, as it will be webcast for free by medici.tv beginning July 6 at 2:00 PM EDT/11 AM PST for 90 days. You might recall the medici.tv also provided the same benefit to opera lovers by broadcasting the Operalia competition online. In addition to the three barihunks, who are performing the closing scene from Act 1 of Mozart's Don Giovanni, the webcast features the New York Philharmonic's Music Director Alan Gilbert conducting Karlheinz Stockhausen’s epic composition Gruppen.

Our favorite picture of Kelly Markgraf

We're visual people and will be watching on medici.tv, but if you can suffice with just the audio, the concert will be streamed on Q2 Music, WQXR’s online music station, on Tuesday, July 10 at 3:00 PM EST, Wednesday, July 11 at 7:00 PM EST, and Saturday, July 14 at 10:00 AM EDT and archived for 30 days.

Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke
For those who prefer to see Markgraf live, he'll be performing with his wife Sasha Cooke at the internationally acclaimed Music@Menlo series this month. The attractive couple is going to give Erwin Schrott and Anna Netrebko a run for their money with their "made-for-Marie Claire" looks and great singing. 

The couple will be part of the July 27 concert entitled "TRANSPORTED: Sonic Journeys."  “Transported” will explore music’s ability to enrapture listeners through vivid depictions of places near and far. Markgraf will perform Samuel Barber’s classic Dover Beach which are set to poet Matthew Arnold’s picturesque paean to the English shore. The program also features, Chen Yi’s "Romance of Hsiao and Ch’in, " Debussy’s "Images," Albéniz’s "Iberia Suite," Sibelius’s "Voces Intimae" and Gustav Mahler’s "Das himmlische Leben" from his 4th Symphony.

If you plan on going, order now, as tickets are already limited. Click HERE for tickets.

CONTACT US AT Barihunks@gmail.com