Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Dream Team" reunites for Ricky Ian Gordon's Green Sneakers

Cellist Kathryn Bates Williams and baritone Jesse Blumberg
If you missed the amazing performance of Ricky Ian Gordon's one-man opera Green Sneakers in San Francisco, you'll have another chance to see it on May 10 & 11, 2012 at Opera Piccola of San Antonio.

The opera was written by Gordon for barihunk Jesse Blumberg, who will be reprising the role for these performances. The San Francisco performances were transformative for the piece when the sensational young director John de los Santos was brought in for the West Coast premiere of the opera. He creatively integrated the string quartet into the action, creating some of the most magical and emotionally compelling moments seen on an opera stage in years.    

Jesse Blumberg and the brilliant Del Sol Quartet
Opera Piccola of San Antonio was founded in 2012 by Mark A. Richter, with the intent of building a professional chamber opera for San Antonio. The company has produced Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Mollicone's Face on the Barroom Floor, Menotti's The Telephone and Donizetti's Don Pasquale.  Operas are performed in English and ticket prices are quite affordable.

The company will also be performing Menotti's The Medium, as well as a double-bill of Mozart's Bastien and Bastienne and Robert X. Rodriguez's La Curandera. Visit their website for additional information or tickets.  

Green Sneakers, which is broken into nineteen songs and runs about 80 minutes is scored for Baritone, String Quartet, and Empty Chair. It premiered on July 15, 2008 in Vail, Colorado and has had a number of subsequent performances since, mostly with Blumberg. 

Remarkably, the opera, which deals with AIDS,  didn't have its New York or San Francisco premiere until this year. Jesse Blumberg performed the piece at Lincoln Center on April 6th with the Voxare Quartet and on February 19th with the Del Sol Quartet in San Francisco.

Ricky Ian Gordon recently completed an opera of Giorgio Bassani's Garden of the Finzi Continis with librettist Michael Korie. He is wrapping up commissions for the Metropolitan Opera with playwright Lynn Nottage, as well as new operas for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Houston Grand Opera. Last year,  he completed a new operatic monologue for Renee Fleming, Harper's other monologue from Tony Kushner's "Angels In America." 

North Carolina Opera announces barihunky new season

A well-dressed Soloman Howard and an undressed Troy Cook in Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias
North Carolina Opera has announced their new season and it includes some of our favorite singers. Anytime an opera company produces Puccini's La boheme, odds are that at least one of the three baritones will be a barihunk. The company has not announced their Schaunard, but we're thrilled that Troy Cook will appear as Marcello and Soloman Howard as Colline. Cook, you may recall is one of six singers who have appears on this site in the "full monty." Performances are on January 24 & 26, 2014.
Sidney Outlaw
Mozart's Così fan tutte will feature the ridiculously talented and brilliant Sydney Outlaw as Guglielmo. You can see the Brevard, North Carolina native in performances on October 3, 5 & 6, 2013. Fans in New York can catch him on November 4th at Carnegie Hall performing Mendelssohn's Walpurgisnacht & Mozart Requiem. He'll also be making his debut with the Atlanta Opera next year as Figaro in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Their final offering is Antonín Dvorák's magical opera Rusalka. Although this isn't a barihunk vehicle, it does include two rising soprano talents who you won't want to miss: future Wagnerian mega-star Heidi Melton and Joyce El-Khoury. There is one performance scheduled on March 14, 2014.

North Carolina Opera was formed in 2010 from the merger of Capital Opera Raleigh and The Opera Company of North Carolina. Visit their website for tickets and additional cast information.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sam Dundas wins coveted Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship

Sam Dundas (Photo: Craig Borrow, Herald Sun)
We're unapologetically huge fans of Aussie barihunk Sam Dundas. Not only is he one of the biggest talents "down under," but he's one of the greatest guys in the business. Dundas is the kind of singer that one pulls for to succeed in the mad world of opera. His personality is as infectious onstage as offstage and we predict a great future for the 30-year-old singer.

We were about to post about his upcoming performance as Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale when we learned that he had won the coveted $42,000 Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship. The prize allows Dundas to come to the United States for six weeks of work on the opera skills of his choice.

Dundas has indicated that he's going to use the prize to work on his Russian language skills. We're sure that there are some coaches in Брайтон-Бич (Brighton Beach) who would be happy to assist him in honing his Russian language skills. We can't wait to see him in two Tchaikovsky roles: the title role in Eugene Onegin and Prince Yeletsky in Pique Dame.

For those of you fortunate enough to be in Australia, you can catch his Dr. Malatesta from August 1-15 at Opera Australia with Conal Coad in the title role. Tickets are available online. From August 16-30 you can catch him as Sid in Britten's Albert Herring.

Tobias Greenhalgh raising money for kids with life-threatening illnesses

Tobias Greenhalgh
Three weeks ago, we posted about John Brancy and Tobias Greenhalgh appearing on the PBS NewsHour episode "Artists Learn Art of Business to Brave Tough Economic Times." The two singers were featured for their mutual involvement with "Operation Superpower," which uses their love of classical music to teach young students about their own unique superpowers.

Tobias Greenhalgh has decided to use his "superpowers" to good use on September 28th. He is going to run in the the Hamptons Marathon for the New York City based "Friends of Karen" charitable organization under the auspice of "Operation Superpower." The non-profit group "Friends of Karen" provides emotional, financial and advocacy support for children with a life-threatening illness and their families, in order to help keep them stable, functioning and able to cope.

The budding barihunk has set up a Indiegogo account to raise $1,000 for the cause. We're pitching in $100 and are encouraging our readers to help him reach his goal (and, hopefully, far exceed it).Click HERE and donate NOW!!!

Don't forget to check out his business partner John Brancy on YouTube with his winning performance from the Marilyn Horne Song Competition.

Monday, July 29, 2013

NEWS FLASH: José Carbó wins Helpmann Award

José Carbó in Die Tote Stadt at Opera Australia
We just learned that barihunk José Carbó has won a prestigious Helpmann Award as "Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera" for his performance in Korngold's Die Tote Stadt at Opera Australia. The award is the Australian equivalent of Broadway's Tony Awards and London's Laurence Olivier Awards. They recognize distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in live performances in Australia, including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, cabaret, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre.

Also winning in the category of "Best Male Performer in Opera" was baritone John Wegman for his performance in Salome at Opera Australia.

Also nominated were Italian barihunk Giorgio Caoduro for his performance in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at Opera Australia and Dmytro Popov for his performance in Carmen on Sydney Harbour with Opera Australia.

Click HERE for a complete list of winners.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Thomas Hampson on two new recordings of interest

We don't review recordings, DVDs or performances, as our goal is simply to promote the barihunks that we love. But there are two new recordings that might be of interest to readers and they both feature Thomas Hampson.

Back in April, we posted about Luca Pisaroni singing Paolo Albiani to Thomas Hampson's portryal of the Doge Simon Boccanegra in Vienna. Also in the cast is fellow barihunk Carlo Colombara as the Genoese nobleman Fiesco. The Decca recording was made from live concert performances in Vienna. If the twists and turns of this family plot aren't complicated enough on stage for you, Pisaroni is Hampson's son-in-law in real life.

At the complete other end of the spectrum is a new crossover album called Great Voices Sing John Denver, featuring some of the biggest names in opera. The album is of interest to our readers that they've included some of the most popular barihunks in the business, including Rod Gilfry, René Pape, Thomas Hampson and Nathan Gunn.

The album also features Plácido Domingo, Daniel Montenegro, Denyce Graves, Patricia Racette, Shenyang, Danielle de Niese and Dolora Zajick, Matthew Polenzani and Placido Domingo, Jr. 89-year-old Milt Okun, who produced all of John Denver’s recordings and won 16 Grammy awards in his career,  produced the CD. We particularly enjoyed Rod Gilfry singing This Old Guitar.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Listen to John Brancy's winning performance at Marilyn Horne Song Competition

Marilyn Horne & John Brancy

We recently posted about barihunk John Brancy and pianist Mario Antonio Marra winning the  Marilyn Horne Song Competition. We now have the entire performance available for you to enjoy.

We're also looking forward to his recital at Hahn Hall at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage, and the National Opera Center in New York City next year, which is part of winning the competition. 

Brancy sang Schubert's Nachtstück, Rachmaninov's In the Silence of the Secret Night, and Stephen Foster's Beautiful Dreamer.

Judges for this year's competition were Marilyn Horne, Jeremy Geffen, Barbara Hocher, Gayletha Nichols, and Lorne Richstone. 

Brancy will also be performing Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Music Academy of the West on August 2 and 4. Tickets are available online

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Barihunk John Brandon featured for male nanny service

John Brandon
We recently ran a feature highlighting John Brancy and Tobias Greenhalgh, who were featured on a PBS segment about people in the arts and their entrepreneurial endeavors. Now we found a feature about 27-year-old barihunk John Brandon who has created a company for male nannies called NYC Mannies (you really can't make stuff up this great!).

The company is actually thriving and Brandon works as a manny for a celebrity couple on the Upper East Side. You can read the entire feature HERE.

You can enjoy Brandon's operatic skills HERE.

Greer Grimsley interview

You have now sung Wotan all over the world. What does this Ring mean to you?
I love this Ring. Since it is the first Ring that I ever did, it has huge sentimental value for me. I also believe in the production. I believe in the storytelling that we do. For all of its wonderful music, the Ring is also very text driven. The care that’s given to the text and to making sure that all intentions and relationships are clear—you don’t get that in all productions. That keeps me coming back.

Plus, I’m just so happy to be back in Seattle. I consider Seattle one of my home spots in the world.

When did it occur to you that someday you’d sing Wotan?
I had lots of folks telling me, ‘You might end up doing this,’ but it wasn’t until Speight gave me the opportunity to sing Telramund in Lohengrin. Prior to that, I was a victim somewhat of the very conservative nature of musical-vocal thinking in the United States: that you have to sing Mozart until you’re 45 and then you can do heavier things. That’s not how my voice worked. Early in my career on I was having trouble finding direction because that didn’t suit what I could do. It wasn’t until I sang my first John the Baptist that things clarified for me in terms of where I should find my niche in the opera business. Then that opened up other opportunities. And I would have to say, yes, of course I started thinking about Wotan, but I was thinking about other things as well, such as just getting hired. When Speight did ask me to do Wotan, I was ready to be asked. It happened exactly at the right time.


Greer Grimsley can be seen in Wagner's Ring Cycle at the Seattle Opera from August 4-25. Visit the Seattle Opera website for additional information or tickets.

Andrew Garland to appear in Ned Rorem tribute

Andrew Garland
We recently featured Andrew Garland in the Cincinnati Opera's announcement of their new season. We've now learned that he's appearing in the new season of the New York Festival of Song under the auspices of the beloved Steven Blier.

He will be joined by the amazing mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey in a musical birthday tribute to the great American composer Ned Rorem. Although Rorem wrote opera, the concert will present highlights from his successful career as a songwriter. Rorem has been dubbed "America's Schubert" because of the 500 songs that he has written in his 90 years, many of which regularly appear on recital programs. Lindsey and Garland will also perform works by Rorem's friends and inspirations, Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, Theodore Chanler, Aaron Copland, Noël Coward, Francis Poulenc, and Virgil Thomson. 

Ned Rorem
Ned Rorem, who was born on October 23, 1923 in Richmond, Indiana, is expected to be in attendance. Steven Blier and Michael Barrett will perform on the piano. The concert is November 5th at 8 PM. You can purchase tickets online or by calling 212-501-3330.

The remainder of the NY Festival of Song season includes "Cubans in Paris, Cubans at Home" on December 5 featuring soprano Corinne Winters, tenor Jeffrey Picón and baritone Ricardo Herrera, as well as "Warsaw Serenade" on February 18 with the talented tenor Joseph Kaiser, who will be joined by soprano  Dina Kuznetsova.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Philippe Sly in Toronto recital tonight (and some upcoming shows)

Philippe Sly
We have a substantial number of readers in Canada, which is probably due in part to our generous coverage of Canadian singers. Of course, when you have talents like Québecois bass-baritone Philippe Sly it's a no-brainer. We've stated that he's one of the great low voice talents to emerge in the last decade. As wonderful as he is as a performer of opera, his true gift is the recital stage where he brings beautiful vocalism and a depth of interpretation far beyond his years. If you're anywhere near Toronto tonight, you won't want to miss his recital with pianist Julius Drake at Walter Hall.

He will be performing lieder by the Austrian composers Schubert and Wolf as well as mélodies by the French masters Ravel and Duparc. Tickets are available online and, remarkably, there are still unsold seats.

If you can't catch him tonight, he will be performing throughout Canada and the U.S. this year. From September 12-17, he joins Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal for their season opener in performances of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust. Tickets available online.

In December, he has two performances of Handel's Messiah: December 6 and 7 with Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and on December 17 and 18 at the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa.

His next scheduled performance in the U.S. is with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphia Orchestra in performances of the Fauré Requiem. Tickets are available online.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jesse Blumberg in English language "The Return of Ulysses"

Jesse Blumberg and Hai-Ting Chinn (Is it just us, or is this one of the sexiest pictures of Jesse Blumberg ever?)
Opera Omnia is presenting their third opera,  Claudio Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses. As with all their operas, it will be performed in an English translation. The cast features barihunk Jesse Blumberg and mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn in the leading roles, with accompaniment by a period-instrument ensemble led by music director Avi Stein.

Opera Omnia, which was founded in 2008, concentrates on musical-dramatic works of the 17th century, performing them in English translations with modern stagings. Their mission is to expose new audiences to early opera masterworks. They have previously performed Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea and Cavalli’s Giasone in English translations at Le Poisson Rouge. The Return of Ulysses will be performed at the Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Howard Gilman Performance Space with staging by Crystal Manich.

Jesse Blumberg & Laura Heimes perform Handel's Apollo & Dafne

Monteverdi's The Return of Ulysses is the story of Ulysses’s return to Ithaca and reunion with his wife Penelope, who has remained faithful during his long absence. Also in the cast are Tammy Coil as Minerva, Joseph Gaines as Iro, Karim Sulayman as Eumete , Owen McIntosh as Telemachus, Joe Chappell as Neptune, Nicholas Tamagna as Peisander Richard Lippold as Antinous and Elaine Lachica as Love.

Performances run from September 10-12 and tickets are priced at the ridiculously low cost of $20.00 each. Go online and reserve your tickets today! You won't want to miss this.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

NEWS FLASH: John Brancy wins Marilyn Horne Song Competition

John Brancy
We have just learned that barihunk John Brancy and pianist Mario Antonio Marra are this year's winners of the  Marilyn Horne Song Competition. Brancy and Marra will each receive a cash award of $2,500, and will be presented in recitals at Hahn Hall, Santa Monica’s Broad Stage, and the National Opera Center in New York City next year. 

Brancy sang Schubert's Nachtstück, Rachmaninov's In the Silence of the Secret Night, and Stephen Foster's Beautiful Dreamer.

Judges for this year's competition were Marilyn Horne, Jeremy Geffen, Barbara Hocher, Gayletha Nichols, and Lorne Richstone. 

Brancy will also be performing Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute at the Music Academy of the West on August 2 and 4. Tickets are available online

Popular barihunks lead upcoming Cincinnati Opera season

Andrew Garland working out in his Barihunk tee-shirt
The Cincinnati Opera has announced its casting for next season and it is delightfully laden with some of opera's most popular barihunks. Fans of Daniel Okultich can see him twice, as the former Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music graduate appears as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen and as Giove in Cavalli's La Calisto. Andrew Garland will also appear in La Calisto as Mercurio.

La Calisto will run from July 17-27, 2014 at the Corbett Theater in the School for Creative and Performing Arts near Music Hall. The cast also includes male soprano Michael Maniaci as Endimione, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Diana/Destino, Alexandra Deshorties as Giunone, Aaron Blake is Pane/Natura and bass Nathan Stark as Sylvano.

Fans of Andrew Garland can purchase his amazing CD American Portraits at the GPR Records website. It includes songs by Stephen Paulus, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman and Tom Cipullo. You won't be disappointed!

Andrew Garland
Okulitch will be opening the season in Bizet’s Carmen on June 12th and the cast includes Stacey Rishoi in the title role, William Burden as Don José, Jessica Rivera as Micaela and Nathan Stark as Zuniga.

Gabriel Preisser backstage in Philadelphia for Silent Night
July 10 and 12 they will be presenting the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by Kevin Puts, Silent Night, which is filled with baritones. The performances will take place near the 100th anniversary of the outset of World War I. A number of baritones are reprising roles from the productions in Minnesota and Philadelphia, including Gabriel Preisser as Lt. Gordon, Craig Irvin as Lt. Horstman and Andrew Wilkowske as Ponchel.

Also in the cast are Thomas Blondelle as Nikolaus Sprink, Erin Wall as Anna Sorensen, barihunk Phillip Addis as Lt. Audebert and the gifted young tenor Thomas Glenn as Jonathan Dale.

Friday, July 19, 2013

(Somewhat) Gratuitous Gianluca Margheri Post

Gianluca Margheri
We haven't featured the stunningly sexy Gianluca Margheri in awhile and we figured a few new photos of the photogenic singer was a great way to kick off the weekend. He just wrapped up a critically acclaimed run in Verdi's Macbeth at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, Italy under the baton of James Conlon and featuring the exciting soprano Tatiana Serjan.

Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri was born in Florence, where he also studied at the Coservatorio Cherubini. He made his professional debut in 2004 at the Teatro Verdi in Pisa in Traviata, followed by Demetrius in Briten's "Midsummer Night's Dream."  In 2009 he won the first prize with at the international Opera Competition Toti dal Monte in Treviso.

Gianluca Margheri
He has performed in Don Giovanni, L'Incoronazione di Poppea, Ernani, Macbeth, Le nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte and Joseph Haydn's La vera costanza. He can also be found on the recording of Handel's "Deidamia" and on the DVD of Respighi's "La bella dormente nel bosco."

You can follow him on Twitter at .

Gianluca Margheri  sings "For Behold.. The People that walked" from Handel's Messiah:

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MAC Cosmetics seeks barihunk for Fall collection

MAC spokesmodel RuPaul and Donovan Singletary, who we think would "represent!"
Playbill has a listing that certainly caught our eye (well, actually the eye of one of our readers). MAC Cosmetics posted a notice that they are looking for a "classically trained male opera singer that has a young, hip, edgy appearance...Theatrical flair encouraged. Acting ability a plus." We of course translate that as, "MAC Cosmetics seeks barihunk."

The singer who is chosen will perform at two premiere events for their Fall Collection and must fit a size 40 jacket.

According to the listing, "The singer will need to memorize three songs that will be performed with a backing tracking and must be willing to travel. Performer must be available on all of the following days 8/23-8/25 and 8/31-9/2. MAC will cover travel expenses in addition to compensation of $1000/day. MAC will supply costuming, hair, and makeup."

Nmon Ford: Future MAC model?
Interested applicants may audition with a selection (approx. 32 to 64 bars) from one of the three arias: "Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre" from Bizet's Carmen, "Fin ch’han dal vino" from Mozart's Don Giovanni or "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's Il barbiere de Siviglia. 

Singers who are interested to schedule an audition time on July 23rd should email a headshot, resume, and any relevant links to

Selected candidates will receive a confirmation with a specific time and room number for July 23rd.

We have a bunch of singers in mind, although some of them might not be able to squeeze into a size 40 jacket.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reader Submission: Samuel Johnson

Aussie barihunk Samuel Johnson
Our latest Reader Submission is 25-year-old Australian barihunk Samuel Johnson, the 2013 recipient of the RJ Hamer Opera Scholarship presented by the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust. He is also one of six finalists for the Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship, provided by the Opera Foundation Australia.

Johnson will face off against five other singers in a public recital in Sydney on July 28, after which the winner of the scholarship will be announced. The winner will receive $43,000 and the objective of this much valued Scholarship is to provide a talented and strongly motivated young Australian opera singer the opportunity to study with internationally acclaimed vocal, language and movement coaches in New York. Call 02 9550 9207 for tickets.

Johnson is currently completing his Masters in Operatic Performance, at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. He recently performed the role of Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, a Queensland Conservatorium production for The Brisbane Festival, conducted by Alex Ingram. Johnson was also a national finalist in the McDonald’s Operatic Aria and Italian Awards.

Samuel Johnson's career is taking off
Johnson has appeared in oratorio on numerous occasions in Brisbane and throughout regional Queensland. In 2011, he performed as soloist with tenor Simon O’Neill in the Puccini Gala Concert, with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

While studying, Samuel has performed numerous operatic roles including Styx in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, Taddeo and Silvio in excerpts from Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Peter Quince in Benjamin Brittin’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Father in excerpts from
Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, the title role in Handel’s Saul, Pandolfe in Massenet’s Cendrillon and the title role in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.

According to a recent article, his dream roles include Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca and Rodrigo in Verdi's Don Carlos.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Peter Brathwaite appears in Italy's Fashion magazine

Peter Brathwaite sporting his Dockers
We recently posted about Peter Brathwaite's "second career" as a fashion model. The British barihunk is part of Dockers' "Men of Style" campaign, which was recently picked up by Italy's Fashion magazine. The magazine is one of the largest weekly trade magazines for the industry and reaches key players in the industry.

You can follow this rising star by following his new Facebook page, A Lyric Lifestyle. Click HERE to check it out. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sam Dundas and José Carbó nominated for Helpmann Awards in supporting roles

Sam Dundas in La boheme
A little over a week ago, we posted about barihunks Bryan Watson and Giorgio Caoduro being nominated for Helpmann Awards for their performances in a leading role in opera. Also nominated in the category of "Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera" were barihunks Sam Dundas for his portrayal of Marcello in La bohème at Opera Australia and José Carbó as Fritz in Die Tote Stadt at Opera Australia. Also nominated were, Wolf Matthias Friedrich for L'Orfeo at the Brisbane Festival and Douglas McNicol for Fidelio at the State Opera of South Australia. 
The Helpmann Awards are the Australian equivalent of Broadway's Tony Awards and London's Laurence Olivier Awards. They recognize distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in live performances in Australia, including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, cabaret, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre. 
 José Carbó discusses and sings his aria 'Tanzlied des Pierrots' from Die tote Stadt:

Dundas was a member of the Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist program at Opera Australia. In 2009, he made his role debut as Don Giovanni in Victorian Opera’s production of the Mozart classic. He is currently performing as the Jailer in Puccini's Tosca at Opera Australia. which runs through August 31st. He then is featured in a number of consecutive performances at Opera Australia. He opens next week as Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, which will run from July 18-August 15. The day after that run wraps up, he opens as Sid in Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring.
Dundas is also featured on a new recording of Brahms' German Requiem with the ChorusOz® Choir & the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra. Click HERE to order your copy.  
José Carbó can be seen as Giorgio Germont in Verdi's La traviata at Opera Australia, which runs from July 30-August 31.
The Helpmann Awards will be on July 29 at the Sydney Opera House. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

OUT Magazine features Aubrey Allicock

Aubrey Allicock (photo by Roger Erickson)
Barihunk Aubrey Allicock just completed a critically acclaimed run as the lead in Terence Blanchard's Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. The buzz in the opera world is that this was a career launching performance. OUT Magazine recently ran a profile of the singer along with this amazing photograph.

Hot List: Aubrey Allicock by Jerry Portwood

Aubrey Allicock, currently studying at Juilliard, is explaining his path as a young opera singer. “As a bass-baritone, I’m a baby, I’m a child!” he says, punctuating his confession with a big, hearty laugh. “I’ll probably be 40 before my voice hits its prime.”  Despite his relative youth in his field, the 29-year-old singer has the opportunity of a lifetime this summer when he originates the role of the young boxer Emile Griffith in the world premiere of Champion at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. [Read the entire article at OUT magazine].

Allicock was also featured in the Sound Bites section of Opera News.

Aubrey Allicock sings "Se vuol ballare" from Le Nozze di Figaro:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Barihunks Tobias Greenhalgh and John Brancy featured on PBS NewsHour

Tobias Greenhalgh, Armand Ranjbaran & John Brancy
Barihunks John Brancy and Tobias Greenhalgh were recently featured on the PBS NewsHour episode "Artists Learn Art of Business to Brave Tough Economic Times." NewsHour correspondent Paul Solman took a look at how people in the classical arts are learning to fine tune their entrepreneurial skills in order to help them design their own careers in an unsure economy.

The two singers were featured for their mutual involvement with "Operation Superpower," which uses their love of classical music to teach young students about their own unique superpowers. The two singers joined by pianist Peter Dugan and composer Armand Ranjbaran focus on courage, hope, honesty, imagination, and friendship to deal with the topic of bullying and helping kids find their own inner strengths. The group is marketing their program as a school assembly program and they have performed in Peoria, Illinois, as well as schools throughout New York State. 

John Brancy will be performing with his girlfriend Wallis Giunta in an performance of  arias, ensembles, and choral scenes with the Regina Symphony in September. He then will be part of the Pacific Opera's upcoming season performing in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Tobias Greenhalgh just wrapped up a successful run as Samuel in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Wishing Placido Domingo a speedy recovery

We just learned that Placido Domingo is in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. We'd like to wish him a speedy recovery. You can read the full article HERE.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wes Mason to perform recital and conduct master class

When a concert promotes its singer as a "barihunk," how can we not post about it? We caught the Tidewater Opera Initiative's post on Facebook about Wes Mason's upcoming recital that refers to Mason as their "handsome barihunk." Make sure to visit their Facebook page and like them.

Wes Mason has been a regular on this site and is one of our favorite singers in the business. He's appeared in our charity calendar, which benefits young artists, and has agreed to appear again this year. Make sure to check out our recent post about his new promotional photos and his celebrity doppelgänger. 

Mason will be appearing with the Tidewater Opera Initiative on two consecutive days. On Saturday, July 20th at 7 PM, he will perform a recital featuring some of opera and Broadway's greatest hits. On Sunday, July 21st from 2-5 PM, he will conduct a special master class for members of the Governor's School for the Arts vocal program and Tidewaters's opera chorus.

Wes Mason and fellow barihunks Michael Mayes, John Boehr and Anthony Reed
Both events will take place at Christ and St. Luke's church in downtown Norfolk, and all proceeds benefit Tidewater Opera Initiative's upcoming production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. Tickets for Saturday's concert are $15 and can be purchased at the door. Sunday's master class is open to the public for a suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Tidewater is a regional opera organization based in the Tidewater area of Virginia dedicated to the development of local professional opera singers. Wes Mason hails from Norfolk, Virginia and graduated from the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. His big career break when he starred in the world premiere of Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls with Fort Worth Opera.

We've also witnessed his amazing karaoke skills and ability to impersonate famous actors and singers. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-2007)

Gian Carlo Menotti
For American Independence Day, we celebrated the great composers produced by that country. One composer who is often mentioned as American is Gian Carlo Menotti, who was born in Italy and never renounced his Italian citizenship. He enrolled at the Milan Conservatory at age 11 and when he moved to the U.S., enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music at age 17.

Although he wrote some of the most famous and frequently performed works in the opera repertory, he penned few memorable arias for baritones. Perhaps the best known is "When the air sings to summer" from The Old Maid and the Thief. The piece is rarely performed by major opera companies and is generally seen at conservatories or universities. The aria is occasionally heard as an audition piece.

Brian Rix in a student performance at the Boston Conservatory:

The only other baritone pieces of any note are "Oh, woman, you may keep the gold" from his holiday classic Amahl and the Night Visitors and the Police Agent's aria from The Consul. His most memorable arias were written for sopranos and many are regularly heard on concert programs, including, "Vola intanto l'ora insonne' from Amelia al ballo, "To this we've come" from The Consul, Monica's Waltz from The Medium, and "Steal me, sweet thief" from The Old Maid and the Thief.

Menotti wrote two libretti for his life partner and fellow composer Samuel Barber, Vanessa and A Hand of Bridge, as well as revising the libretto for his Antony and Cleopatra.

In 1958,  Menotti founded the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. It is devoted to the cultural collaboration of Europe and America and programs a wide variety art forms, including ballet, jazz, choral, folk and opera.  In 1977, he created a sister festival in Charleston, South Carolina, which he led until 1993 when he became director of the Rome Opera.

In 1984, Menotti was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement in the arts. He was chosen the 1991 "Musician of the Year" by Musical America.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating American Composers on America's Birthday

Jesse Blumberg in Ricky Ian Gordon's "Green Sneakers" in San Francisco
Today we celebrate American Independence Day with a look at our great American composers and some baritones singing our official national anthem (Star Spangled Banner) and unofficial national anthem (America the Beautiful).

William Henry Fry, born in 1815, has been considered by many, to be the father of American opera. His most famous opera, Leonora, debuted in 1845. In Europe at this time, the Romantic period was developing lead by figures such as Wagner, Schumann and Chopin. Fry’s opera Leonora the first opera by an American composer to be performed in the US. Over the years there have been many American composers following in his footsteps and as diverse as Americans are, they each have possessed their own unique style.

Norman Treigle sings "America the Beautiful" and the "National Anthem:

David Adam Moore sings the National Anthem:

By the way, David Adam Moore just joined Twitter and can be found at @davidadammoore.

Virgil Thomson was probably the most important opera composer of the 20th century. He composed four operas and the two most popular were collaborations with author Gertrude Stein. He was influential in the creation of what is known as “American Sound” and was awarded Yale University’s Sanford Medal and the National Medal of Arts.

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

Born near the beginning of the 20th century, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein were probably better known for their popular music but all three of these men also composed operas. Porgy and Bess, composed by Gershwin, is one of the most successful operas of the 20th century. Copland wrote two operas, The Second Hurricane and The Tender Land which are perfect for young voices. Bernstein was a master at blending Broadway and opera, most notably in his Broadway operetta, Candide.

In contrast, Douglas Moore, 1893-1969, was a rare American composer, in that he was most famous for his operas, not his popular music. Although he composed ten operas, his most well-known is The Ballad of Baby Doe. He was a significant figure in both the advancement of American music and music education.

Michael Hewitt sings "Warm as the Autumn night" from "The Ballad of Baby Doe":

Gion Carlo Menotti was born in Italy in 1911, but came to the U.S. in 1928 and became one of the most popular names in American opera, composing over twenty of them in his lifetime. In 1934 he was the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor and in 1991 was named “Musician of the Year” by Musical America.

Philip Glass, who is considered to be the pioneer of minimalistic opera, and Jake Heggie, who is an extremely talented pianist and piano composer are both celebrated contemporary opera composers. Both have written great music for baritone and have been featured regularly on this site. Heggie is unique in that most of his male lead roles are written for baritone. Glass has composed over twenty operas beginning in the 1970′s with his latest in 2007, while Heggie, who got started in the year 2000, has arguably been the most successful American composer of this century.

Heggie's most recent opera was the critically-acclaimed Moby-Dick. Prior to that, he composed Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers, The End of the Affair, To Hell and Back, For a Look or a Touch and At the Statue of Venus. The Dallas Opera has announced the commission of Heggie's next opera, Great Scott, with a libretto by his frequent collaborator Terrence McNally, set for a premiere on October 30, 2015. A number of baritones have become closely associated with his songs and operas including baritones Philip Cutlip, Nathan Gunn, Michael Mayes, Jonathan Lemalu, Daniel Okulitch, Keith Phares, Morgan Smith and Bryn Terfel.

Randal Turner sings Tom Joad's aria from "The Grapes of Wrath":

Another busy composer is Ricky Ian Gordon, whose operas include Autumn Valentine, The Grapes of Wrath, Green Sneakers, Morning Star, Only Heaven, Orpheus & EuridiceRappahannock County and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The New York native grew up on Long Island and studied composition at Carnegie Mellon University. His songs have proved to be particularly popular and have been performed in concert and recorded by some of the biggest names in operas. He currently has commissions from the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the Houston Grand Opera. Green Sneakers recently had its New York and San Francisco premiere, the latter brilliantly realized by the gifted young American director John De Los Santos.

Some of the other American composers who we've featured on this site include Mark Adamo, Glen Roven, Carlisle Floyd, Clint Borzoni, Thomas Pasatieri, Daron Hagen, Tobias Picker, Marc Blitzstein, William Bolcom, Andre Previn, John Harbison, Ned Rorem, Julia Schwartz, Lee Hoiby, Stewart Wallace, Peter Lieberson and Dominick Argento. We suggest checking them out on YouTube on America's birthday.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Byron Watson nominated for Helpmann Award

Byron Watson
Sydney-based barihunk Byron Watson, who is new to this site, has been nominated for a Helpmann Award for his performance in composer Gordon Kerry and librettist Louis Nowra’s chamber opera Midnight Son at the Victorian Opera. The award is the Australian equivalent of Broadway's Tony Awards and London's Laurence Olivier Awards. They recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in live performances in Australia, including musical theatre, contemporary music, comedy, cabaret, opera, classical music, theatre, dance and physical theatre.

Byron Watson sings Ralph Vaughan-Williams' "Bright is the ring of words":

Watson was nominated as Best Male Performer in an Opera. Also nominated is Italian barihunk Giorgio Caoduro for his performance in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at Opera Australia, Dmytro Popov for his performance in Carmen on Sydney Harbour with Opera Australia and John Wegner for his performance in Salome at Opera Australia. Barihunk Teddy Tahu Rhodes won a Helpmann Award in 2004 for Best Male Operatic Performer for Dead Man Walking at the State Opera of South Australia. Other famous Helpmann Award winners include Kylie Minogue, Cate Blanchett and Tim Minchin. The Helpmann Awards will be on July 29 at the Sydney Opera House.

Byron Watson sings Duparc's "Le manoir de rosemonde":

Watson dreamed of a career in music at age 17, when he auditioned for the Schools Spectacular. He completed an Honours Music degree at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD), and the Opera School of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD), both on full international scholarship.

Other roles in 2013 have included Chou En-lai in Nixon in China for Victorian Opera, the French premiere of Sweeney Todd at Le Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Stubb in Moby Dick and Moralès in Carmen for the State Opera of South Australia.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Peter Brathwaite premieres opera to mark 150th anniversary of abolition of slavery in Dutch Colonies

Peter Brathwaite in Katibu di Shon
When we last featured British barihunk Peter Brathwaite, he was modeling Dockers for their "Men of Style" campaign. For those of us who love him as a performer, as well as a model, we're thrilled to announce that he's back on the stage today opening in a new opera.

Tania Kross,  Jeroen de Vaal and Peter Brathwaite rehearsing Katibu di Shon

Brathwaite is at the Nationale Reisopera in The Netherlands for Randal Corsen's new 70-minute opera Katibu di Shon. The opera is based on the novel Slave and Master, an “histoire perfumée” by Carel de Haseth, which tells the story of Wilmu a slave owner, and slave Luis, two boys growing up together who both have feelings for the slave girl Anita. This triangle ends up in a confrontation between the two boys, and between slave and master.

The premiere will take place at Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg in front of the new King of The Netherlands and marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Dutch Colonies.

Video from "Vincent" with David Adam Moore

David Adam Moore as Van Gogh
Back in April 2011, we posted about David Adam Moore performing in Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Bernard Rands' new opera "Vincent" at Indiana University.  The opera, featuring a libretto by the gifted writer J.D. McClatchey, explores all of the aspects of painter Vincent van Gogh's personality that ultimately drove him to madness. We kind of like the idea of a baritone getting to go mad rather than a soprano for a change.

We didn't have video at the time, but now it's available. 

Of course, Van Gogh isn't the only painter who has been featured as the subject of an opera. We recently posted some sexy pictures of Anders Froehlich as Paul Gauguin with the West Edge Opera in California.