Thursday, December 13, 2012

NY Post: "He's bari-toned!" - Opera and Fitness

Ildar Abdrazakov
Today' New York Post features an article called "He's bari-toned!," about the new obsession that some opera singers have for fitness. First of all, we love the word "bari-toned" as a term for an opera singer getting fit. (Urban Dictionary, are you listening?). The article also features a "before and after" gallery of soprano Maria Callas, baritone Stan Lacy, tenor Michael Fabiano and soprano Deborah Voight.

With the advent of HD broadcast and YouTube, the issue of a singer's appearance is gaining more attention. Savvy singers are realizing that they're competing with movies and television, as much as the rival singer auditioning for the Met. Singers are also realizing that a healthy diet and a good fitness regimen is lengthening careers in an era of increasing competition. There's a reason that a buff 50-year Dmitri Hvorostovsky is busier than ever or the active 63-year old Ferruccio Furlanetto is playing roles like Attila, a plum leading role sought by singers half his age.

The amazing transformation of emerging talent Chris Carr
It's also refreshing to see someone like Met General Manager Peter Gelb admit that HD broadcasts play into the equation when casting, but also acknowledging that no-one is going to pass up a great voice. What gets lost in this article is the nuance of casting a Brunnhilde or casting a La boheme for international HD broadcast. Also, the old assumption that Maria Callas' voice faded solely because of her weight loss is a huge canard. In 1952, after director Luchino Visconti suggested that she lose weight, the singer swallowed doses of iodine which adversely affected her voice. It wasn't the weight loss, it was how she chose to lose weight.

Seth Carico: Before and After
Singers today, are losing weight through proper diet, exercise and yoga. Many singers like Seth Carico used the Spartacus workout routine to shed a few dozen pounds. Facebook even has a Spartacus site for opera singers called Operaticus where tenors, mezzos, baritones and sopranos share stories and photos about getting in shape. Singers use the site to find others in the area who want to work out together, suggest workout music, ask questions and kvetch about having to get through a routine.

Michael Mayes: Bari-Chunk to Bari-Hunk"
We've seen some amazing physical transformations on this site, including Michael Mayes, whose career took off after an amazing physical transformation allowed him to embody the role of Joseph De Roucher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, and Chris Carr, who suddenly stood out in a group of emerging young singers as a believable physical and vocal artist. In fact, Michael Mayes' feature "Bari-Chunk to Bari-Hunk" has remained one of our most visited posts and has been cited to us by numerous singers of all vocal types as an inspiration to live a healthier life and work on their appearance. And who can forget William Berger's amazing transformation that made him an operatic pinup boy overnight?

We'll leave you with the words of Peter Gelb from the New York Post's article:
The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, says that while larger singers aren’t overlooked, appearance is often a consideration. “We don’t pass on any great singers,” insists Gelb, “but we’re also looking for people who are believable in the world they play.” So does the Met cherry-pick its stars with its eyes more than its ears? “We audition with both,” Gelb says, adding: “If you can’t sing on the stage of the Met, it doesn’t matter what you look like.”
If you want to enjoy an entire year of buff baritones, make sure to order you Barihunks calendar today! It's just over two weeks until 2013 arrives and you won't want to miss one day of these hot guys.

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  1. wow Happy Gaspness and a Meny New Yearn

  2. Workout music. My first thought was "thus saith the Lord." That piece is an ab workout and a half. When you get to the part where the Lord says "and I will shake" you should be shaking, too.

  3. Thanks very much for this great article;this is the stuff that keeps me going through out these day. diet tips

  4. What gets lost in this article is the nuance of casting a Brunnhilde or casting a La boheme for international HD broadcast. Also,