Saturday, August 31, 2013

Baritones dominate Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition

Johnny Herford (L) and Aarne Pelkonen (R)
As we prepare to watch the finals of the Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition, we're amazed at the consistently great baritone voices on the world scene. Five of the eleven singers in the September 1st finals are baritones. They include Johnny Herford, Morgan Pearse, Aarne Pelkonen, Ross Ramgobin and Gavan Ring. Pearse has appeared on this site a few times.

The Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition has been around for ten years and attracts some of the top young vocal and piano talent in the world. Singers compete in tandem with an accompanist. This Competition recognizes the song tradition as a whole and requires contestants to perform in at least three languages. At the same time it honors the Lied’s place at the heart of the song repertoire and celebrates the Shakespearean stature of Schubert in the genre.

Dominik Köninger's thrilling 2011 winning set at the Wigmore/Kohn Competition:

The semi-final round will be held from 3-7:30 PM on September 1 and the final round and award ceremony will begin at 6 PM on September 3 with a dinner break. Tickets are available online.

Fans of great baritones may want to hang around until September 7 when Simon Keenlyside and Bryn Terfel join accompanist Malcolm Martineau for an evening of Schumann and Schubert at Wigmore Hall. Tickets are available online.

Two generations of young artists in premiere of Puerto Rican opera

Denis Sedov (Photo of left by Bogdan Tache) & studying the Verdi Requiem
Russian barihunk Denis Sedov is creating the role of Ledo Jiménez in the world premiere of Carlos Vázquez’s La mina de oro in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 6 and 7. The towering bass, who honed his skills in the Lindemann Young Artists Program at the Met, is not new to the music of Vázquez. He previously premiered his Requiem Domesticus at the Casals Festival in Puerto Rico and one of the composer's song cycles.

La Mina de Oro is a 3-act opera with a libretto by José Luis Ramos Escobar, based on an original story by the composer.  The story deals with contemporary issues of drug violence, corruption, ambition, greed and love. For tickets call 787-792-5000 or visit TicketCenter online.

Xavier Edgardo
Also in the cast is Xavier Edgardo, a young artist who many people are keeping an eye on and who coached with Denis Sedov. He is wrapping up his studies at the Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico where he was encouraged to hone his skills after being a standout choral performer. He spent two seasons at the International Vocal Arts Institute run by the esteemed Joan Dorneman, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. He is expected to continue his studies in the United States next year.

He has participated in and won a number of vocal competitions, include many in Europe. This led to him being invited to perform as a soloist with the Mundus Cantat Festival in Gdansk, Poland. He has also performed Mahler's Symphony no. 2 in C minor (Resurrection) with the Simón Bolívar Youth under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel. He has participated in masterclasses with a number of great singers, including fellow Puerto Rican Justino Diaz, Sherril Milnes, Mignon Dunn and Elaine Ortiz Arandes.

Keep an eye on this site for information about his upcoming recital. 

Introducing James Newby via Twitter

We caught some Twitter messages going back and forth between friends a few weeks ago. One friend suggested that the other should be on Barihunks. The other replied that "this accolade could complete me as a human being!"

The latter response came from 20-year-old baritone James Newby, who is currently in his second year of study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. He currently studies under Alison Wells and previously studied with Robert Dean and Omar Ebrahim (who has been on this site in all his glory). We're happy to help him in his quest to become a complete human being.

Newby is due to represent Trinity Laban in the junior Kathleen Ferrier award in October after receiving the second highest mark in the year for his end of year recital.

Previous operatic experience includes Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute with Suffolk opera, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen with Puzzle piece opera, Gugliemo in scenes from Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with G and T opera and covering Apollo in Trinity Laban's production of Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. Oratorio performaces include Bach's "St John Passion" and Haydn's "Nelson Mass" with the Old Royal Naval college chapel choir, Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb" with the Rodolfus choir and Stainer's "Crucifixion" with the Stamford endowed schools chapel choir.

We have to confess that we were also intrigued that he's been playing rugby since he was fourteen. 

James is also a member of TV star Gareth Malone's new choir, whose innovative new album will be released in November.

Gareth Malone's choir performs their rendition of Guillotine by Death Grips

You can follow James Newby on Twitter .

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brandon Cedel to appear in recital with Uncle Mark Cedel

Brandon Cedel
Brandon Cedel, one of the six winners of the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a recent finalist in the Queen Sonja Vocal Competition, will be a featured soloist with the University of Georgia Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 12th at 8 p.m. at Hodgson Hall. He will be appearing under the baton of Mark Cedel, who happens to be his uncle and the director of orchestral activities at Hodgson School. Both Cedels attended Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music.

The performance will kick off the Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s 2013-2014 Second Thursday Scholarship Concert Series. The Cedels will present opera arias by Handel, Bellini and Rachmaninoff, as well as Suite No. 2 from Manuel de Falla’s “The Three-Cornered Hat” and Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances.” 

Tickets for the performance are $18 for the general public and $5 for UGA students and are available at the UGA Performing Arts Center box office, by calling 706-542-4400 or online.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Andre' Courville's farewell featured on local TV

Andre' Courville
Barihunk Andre' Courville was featured on his local TV station KATC in Lafayette, Louisiana. The segment bids him farewell as he leaves his role as music director and organist at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Lafayette to be a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

Earlier this year Courville took second-place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Gulf Coast regional auditions. He sang “Sorge infausta,” the magician Zoroastro’s aria from Handel’s “Orlando” and Mephistopheles' aria from Gounod’s “Faust.” This summer he was a member of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers where he sang Marquis d’Obigny in Verdi's La Traviata and music from Don Giovanni and The Bartered Bride at the Apprentice Scenes Programs.

You can catch Andre' Courville one last time at the Lady of Fatima Catholic Church on Thursday, August 29th at 6:30, when he will be presenting a free concert.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chris Herbert featured in webcast N.Y. Britten tributes

The free Trinity Wall Street concert series has announced their 2013-14, which will focus on the music of Benjamin Britten in honor of the centenary of the composer’s birth. The festival will explore the British composer’s orchestral, vocal and chamber works and barihunk Chris Herbert will be performing in three of those concerts.

On Tuesday, November 26th at 1 PM, he'll be at Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall) in a concert that includes Britten's "Sechs Hölderlin Fragmente, Op. 61; Songs and Proverbs of William Blake" and Poulenc's "Chansons Gaillardes, FP 42." He'll be joined at the piano by his husband Timothy Long, as well as tenor Steve Wilson.

On Thursday, December 12th at 1pm at Trinity Church in a concert featuring Britten's "Folksongs; Who are these children?" and Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" with tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson and Timothy Long.

On Monday, December 30th at 1pm, he'll be at St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway at Fulton) for a concert that includes Bach's Cantata BWV 125: "Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin; BWV 10: Meine Seel erhebt den Herren" and Britten's "Canticle IV: Journey of the Magi." He'll be joined by tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson, countertenor Geoffrey Williams, the Trinity Baroque Orchestra; and Choir of Trinity Wall Street under the baton of Julian Wachner.

All concerts at Trinity Wall Street are filmed and webcast live at, where you can also find a complete schedule of the upcoming season. 


Herbert is also part of the vocal chamber ensemble New York Polyphony, which can next be heard on September 16th at SubCulture Arts Underground in New York City. Their latest release is Times go by Turns featuring masses by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, as well as a three-voice mass setting by medieval English composer John Plummer. It also includes three new works written for New York Polyphony by composers Gabriel Jackson, Andrew Smith, and the late Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Morgan Pearse discusses his career

Morgan Pearse in Owen Wingrave
Australian barihunk Morgan Pearse has become a reader favorite since first appearing on this site in 2011. We've followed his young career, as he's won singing competition, continued honing his craft in London and making a splash on stage, including his popular "crack" performance in Handel's Imeneo.

He recently wrapped up a successful run in Britten's Owen Wingrave with the Sydney Chamber Opera. He sat down with Sylvia Rosenblum of East Side 89.7 FM's "Arts Wednesday" to discuss his career. Listen to the entire interview HERE.

Pearse will be competing in the prestigious Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition next week. We'll be following him and a number of other amazing baritones. Click HERE to listen to Pearse sing Schubert's Im Fruhling.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Barihunks on-the-air from LA Opera & Metropolitan Opera

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo
Italian barihunk Ildebrando D'Arcangelo will portray Escamillo in the Los Angeles Opera's season-opening production of Carmen on September 21st. The performance will be broadcast as part of "LA Opera on Air" on Classical KUSC 91.5 FM. The performance also features hunkentenor Brandon Jovanovich as Don José, Patricia Bardon as Carmen and South African soprano Pretty Yende in her LA Opera debut as Micaëla. Placido Domingo will conduct.

If you want to see Ildebrando D'Arcangelo live, there are additional performances on September 26, September 29, October 1, October 4 and October 6. The performance of September 28 will feature Dwayne Croft as Escamillo. Tickets are available online.

Mariusz Kwiecien
"The Met: Live in HD" series opens with Polish barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which also stars Anna Netrebko and Piotr Beczala. The October 5th transmission features a new production by Deborah Warner and will be conducted by Valery Gergiev.

Other Live in HD transmissions featuring barihunks are Shostakovich’s The Nose featuring Paulo Szot on October 26 and Ildar Abdrazakov in Borodin’s Prince Igor on March 1.

All 10 of the Met's high-definition productions will be shown live worldwide on Saturdays. Most operas begin at 12:55 p.m. EST/9:55 PST, but check the Met website to confirm starting times. 

Barihunk Steven LaBrie chosen as M∙A∙C Cosmetics model

Steven Labrie in gold and black evening jacket
Barihunk Steven LaBrie probably never guessed that he'd have something in common with drag icon RuPaul, but they are now both models for M∙A∙C Cosmetics. 

Last month, the New York City-based company posted a notice that they were looking for a "classically trained male opera singer that has a young, hip, edgy appearance...Theatrical flair encouraged. Acting ability a plus." We were all but certain that a barihunk would be selected and even offered a few suggestions. We heard from at least a dozen barihunks who applied and eagerly awaited word back to hear if they landed their biggest non-operatic role.

Steven Labrie sans makeup
We're trying to get more information about how M∙A∙C will be using LaBrie and we will update the information as it becomes available. It appears that he'll be part of their “Indulge” roll-out, which is being launched across the country. According to their website,  "Indulge is a beautiful, 1920’s-esque collection, so expect to see darker, bow lips and gorgeous, smoky kohls. This look is not for the faint-hearted. You may be stepping outside of your comfort zone but you will be in the hands of professional artists."

Peggy Lloyd
If you're not into attending a cosmetic campaign launch, LaBrie can next be seen on September 10th with the Ocean City Pops as they celebrate Peggy Lloyd's 100th birthday.  Peggy Lloyd served on the Board of the Ocean City Arts Center for many years where she arranged frequent fund raising bus trips to major art exhibits. She is a financial supporter of the Arts Center and Ocean City Pops Orchestra, but is best known as the woman who escorted Miss America for twelve years.

LaBrie will be joined by the young violin prodigy Joseph Hsai and soprano Chloe Moore. Tickets are $10 and $15 and are available online.

financial supporter of the Arts Center and Ocean City Pops Orchestra. - See more at:
financial supporter of the Arts Center and Ocean City Pops Orchestra. - See more at:
served on the Board of the Ocean City Arts Center for many years where she arranges frequent fund raising bus trips to major art exhibits. - See more at:
served on the Board of the Ocean City Arts Center for many years where she arranges frequent fund raising bus trips to major art exhibits. - See more at:
served on the Board of the Ocean City Arts Center for many years where she arranges frequent fund raising bus trips to major art exhibits. - See more at:

Alex Esposito's sexy Mustafà at Rossini Festival

Alex Esposite as Mustafà
One of our favorite Mozart singers just wrapped a stunningly sexy turn in an opera by another composer. Alex Esposito caused a lot of opera glasses to be raised with his shirtless Mustafà in L’Italiana in Algeri at the Rossini Opera Festival. The performances, which ended on Thursday night, were also broadcast live on Rai Radio 3.

The cast also included Anna Goryachova as Isabella, Yijie Shi as Lindoro and the delightful Mario Cassi as Taddeo. The singers were a hit with audiences, but so was the production, which was directed by Davide Livermore. The whimisical costumes were by designer Gianluca Falaschi and the scenes and lighting were by designer Nicolas Bovey.

Yijie Shi, Alex Esposito and Mario Cassi
Esposito now returns to Mozart with a turn as Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Royal Opera and Publio in La clemenza di Tito at Monnaie in Brussels. However, the performance that we're looking forward to is his turn as Nick Shadow in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress in Venice next summer. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mark Diamond Brings Rock Star Hair to Woodstock

Mark Diamond
If you were gonna perform an afternoon of opera at Woodstock, home of the 3-day rock 'n' roll concert in 1969, you might as well hire a singer with rock star hair. Pentangle Arts is bringing in barihunk Mark Diamond for their "Opera Showcase" this weekend. Diamond in his young career has become as well known for his incredible hair, as his luscious baritone.

He'll be joining soprano Lauren Snouffer on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 4 p.m. for a concert at Woodstock's North Universalist Chapel. The two singers were both part of the Houston Grand Opera Studio Artists program. Two Houston Opera donors who live in the area are sponsoring the concert.

In Houston, Diamond performed Marcello in Puccini's La bohème, the Steersman in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and covered Don Giovanni, Taddeo in Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri and Gaylord Ravenal in the musical Showboat. He also performed Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Aspen Music Festival.

Mark Diamond sings The Impossible Dream:

A native of Augusta, Georgia, Mark Diamond received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Georgia Southern University and pursued studies for a Master's degree in vocal performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In 2011, he was a member of the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, where he sang the title role of Figaro in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia. He previously performed in New York in 2010, when he sang the role of Top in Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land at the Glimmerglass Festival.

For more info about the Opera Showcase concert visit their website or call 802-457-3981.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

HD Live Stream of Don Giovanni with Waltteri Torikka

Waltteri Torikka as Don Giovanni
The New Generation Opera Ensemble is experimenting with High-Definition streaming video of their current production of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Helsinki Festival. The production features Finnish barihunk Waltteri Torikka in the title role, who we introduced to readers two years ago.

If you're not sure that you want to invest the €9,90 to watch the performance the site lets you watch the first ten minutes for free before deciding. There are two performances remaining on August 22 and 24 at 7 PM EEST (12 PM EST/9 AM PST). Click HERE to watch the live stream.

Waltteri Torikka and Timo Riihonen
New Generation Opera Ensemble is tinkering with new technologies with the goal of bringing opera to more people. Their advisory board includes some of the biggest Finnish names in classical music and opera, including Jorma Hynninen, Soile Isokoski, Markus Lehtinen, Karita Mattila, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Kaija Saariaho, Aulis Sallinen and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Torikka won the Finnish national “Lappeenrannan laulukilpailut” song competition in 2010 and received the “HSBC Laureates” prize at the prestigious  Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2009. Torikka recently wrapped up a stint as an apprentice artist at the Finnish National Opera. You can follow the 27-year-old barihunk on Twitter at @WaltteriTorikka.

Fire Island Opera Festival features sexy Matt Morris is Gluck rarity

Fire Island is known more for its circuit parties booming with house music, rather than presenting high culture, but that will all change this weekend.  The annual Fire Island Opera Festival will be presented on August 23-25 at the famous gay resort and will feature Christoph Willibald Gluck's rarely performed L’arbre Enchanté (“The Magic Tree”) and Lee Hoiby's Bon Appétit.

The festival kicks off with a VIP event on Friday, August 23 featuring a special gala performance of Bon Appétit, as well as a program of famous opera arias performed by the stars of the Fire Island Opera Festival.  Bon Appétit provides a witty take on one of chef Julia Childs, played by 2013 "BBC Cardiff Singer of the World" winner Jamie Barton. The evening will be hosted at an exclusive private home on the bay.

The real treat for lovers of all think barihunky will be L'Arbre Enchanté, which features Matthew Morris, who created a huge sensation in the Barihunks Calendar eating a sandwich in his boxers[see above]. Morris was also recently featured in Buzzfeed's "33 Opera Hunks Who Need To Serenade You Right Now." Word is that Morris will be showing a lot of skin...A LOT OF SKIN! This is Fire Island, after all.

The opera, which was last performed in 1775 for Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, with some equally lusty men we assume, also features David Pittsinger, David Garry, Will Ferguson, Amy Justman, Yiselle Blum and Emmett O'Hanlon.  L'Arbre Enchanté is the story of two men fighting for the love of a beautiful young man. The young man must choose between a  dashing, rich business man with a beach mansion or a hot, penniless, pool boy.

Saturday evening's performance of L'Arbre EnchantéAugust 24, will be followed by a late-night dance party in true Fire Island style. Click HERE to buy tickets.

Performances will be at the newly rebuilt Pavilion on Fire Island Pines, converted into a beach opera house by Marfa-based installation artist Charles Mary Kubricht using only repurposed wood and materials from trees and structures destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. A portion of the proceeds from the inaugural Fire Island Opera Festival will benefit the Sea Shore Defense Fund.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Listen to Kevin Puts' "Silent Night" on NPR

Mike Nyby
We've covered composer Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night extensively in its performances in Minneapolis and Philadelphia. You can plan on more coverage as it heads to Fort Worth Opera and elsewhere in the opera world as this barihunk-laden opera quickly enters the standard repertory. Not since Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking have we seen a new opera take the music world by storm like this. 

The opera was originally commissioned by the Minnesota Opera and is based on the screenplay by Christian Carion for the Oscar-nominated 2005 French film Joyeux Nöel, which dramatized actual events during WWI during the days before Christmas 1914. The opera which deals with French, Scottish and German soldiers enjoying a truce during the bloody war is sung in German, French, English, Italian and Latin.

 Liam Bonner sings Lieutenant Audebert's "J'ai perdu ta photo" from Silent Night:

National Public Radio (NPR) has posted the audio of the orginal performance from the Minnesota Opera, which included a slew of barihunks. They include Craig Irvin as Lieutenant Horstmayer, Michael Nyby as William Dale, Troy Cook as Father Palmer, Gabriel Preisser as Lieutenant Gordon,
Joseph Beutel as the British Major, Liam Bonner as Lieutenant Audebert, Andrew Wilkowske as Ponchel and Ben Wager as the General.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Third of finalists at Queen Sonja Competition are baritones!

Kartal Karagedik as Don Giovanni
The semi-finalists in the Queen Sonja Vocal Competition were announced with four baritones amongst the final twelve. In a competition that was heavily loaded with female voice, it was a sign of the healthy state of baritone talent that they represented a third of the singers moving ahead. 

Advancing are American Brandon Cedel, Turk Kartal Karagedik, Croatian Krešimir Stražanac and Moldavian Oleg Tilbulco. They will compete against six sopranos and two tenors. None of the five mezzos advanced.      

Brandon Cedel sings "Vi ravviso" from La Sonnambula at the George London Competition:

The Semi-final concert will occur on Sunday, August 18th at the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Five finalist will move on and perform on Friday, August 23rd. That concert will also include the world premiere of new overture by Jan Erik Mikalsen, commissioned by Queen Sonja International Music Competition with support from the Norwegian Arts Council.

The other singers advancing are soprano Julia Maria Dan, soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan, soprano Nina Minasian, Soprano Emma Moore, tenor Sergey Radchenko, soprano Mélissa Petit, soprano Hamida Kristoffersen, and the highly entertaining tenor Andrew Stenson. 

Both archived and live concerts can be watched on live streaming HERE.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Barihunk" is now in the Urban Dictionary

The term "barihunk" is now in the Urban Dictionary.

Xavier Edgardo: Barihunk


DEFINITION: A handsome or pretty baritone. Especially, but not exclusively,  one who removes his shirt for the sake of opera.

EXAMPLE: I'm going to the Marriage of Figaro because I like the opera but also to see the barihunks on display.

Ildar Abdrazakov kicks of the San Francisco Opera's 2013-14 season

Ildar Abdrazakov and Ramón Vargas in San Francisco Opera's Mefistofele
Russian bass-barihunk Ildar Abdrazakov kicks of the San Francisco Opera's 2013-14 season in his staged role debut as the title character of Boito’s Mefistofele. Performances will run from September 6-October 2 with an all-star cast that includes Ramón Vargas as Faust and Patricia Racette as Margherita. Tickets are available online.

The company last presented the opera in 1989 and 1994 in historic performances with Samuel Ramey in the title role. Ramey's performance was captured on DVD and has become a collector's item amongst opera aficionados.

Following his run in San Francisco, Abdrazakov will help celebrate Verdi’s 200th birthday on October 10 in a performance of the Requiem under Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The performance will be transmitted around the world at From November 3-17 he will take part in a string of Berlioz concert performances with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valery Gergiev in London and Paris, including La damnation de Faust and Roméo et Juliette.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jonathan Estabrooks and Barihunks make NY Magazine's coveted "Approval Matrix"

Barihunks is honored to have made the NY Magazine's "Approval Matrix" for the week of August 19th. And we're in the HIGHBROW and BRILLIANT quadrant! See the entire matrix at their website.

The describe the matrix as, "Our deliberately oversimplified guide to who falls where on our taste hierarchies." We are joined by a pretty illustrious group that includes Orson Welles' rediscovered film "Too Much Johnson," PBS' "Judy & Gwen" all-female co-anchor team, Hanya Yanagihara's novel "The People in the Trees," Jeff Bezos, new owner of the Washington Post, Alissa Quart's "Republic of Outsiders" and Sophie Fontanel's "French spinster by choice."

We're so glad that we weren't in the LOWBROW and DESPICABLE quadrant with Justin Bieber, Alex Rodriguez and Sydney Leather.  By the way, we really do try to keep ourselves as highbrow as possible considering that we post lots of operatic beefcake. We hope that you find us informative, as well as enjoyable to look at.

Jonathan Estabrooks
Since we know you're going to ask, the barihunk in the picture is Jonathan Estabrooks, our Mr. July for the 2014 Barihunks Calendar (due out in about 5 weeks). He was also Mr. July this year. We figured since he's Canadian, he gets the month of the Canada Day celebrations.

If you're in New York on August 15th, keep your eyes out for Estabrooks, as he's being photographed for the calendar by, our official Barihunks photographer in New York. This year's calendar is being professionally shot rather than including self-submitted pictures and promises to be the hottest ever.

Queen Sonja Vocal Competition to be live streamed

Erik Anstine
The Queen Sonja Vocal Competition will be live streamed from Oslo on Thursday, Friday & Saturday. Many of our favorite barihunks, including Dawid Kimberg, Joseph KyungTeak Lim, Erik Anstine and Brandon Cedel will be competing.

Over 200 singers from 45 countries applied this year for the 41 slots. There is a maximum of four singers from each participating nation, and twelve of the contestants are nominated from their collaborating opera academies: The Lindemann Young Artists Program, Metropolitan Opera, New York; The Jette Parker Young Artists Program, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London; The Opera Studio, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Internationales Operastudio, Opernhaus Zürich, Zürich; Young Artists Program, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow; The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Brandon Cedel
The panel of judges includes many of the greatest names in opera, including soprano Carol Vaness, mezzo-soprano Dame Felicity Palmer, baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Kasper Holten. Although the final 41 is heavily weighted toward the sopranos, we are confident that one of the low voices will keep the baritone winning streak alive in international vocal competitions.

Watch the live stream HERE.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nominations announced for DC Theatre Scene Audience Choice Awards

Solomon Howard
DC Theatre Scene has announced their 7th annual nominations for the 2012-2013 Washington area theatre season. A number of performers and performances that we covered were nominated for awards this year.

The DC Theatre Scene staff evaluated 291 professional productions in the Washington D.C. area in the following categories: Plays, Musicals, Family Shows, Operas, and Cabarets. This year’s awards recognize the outstanding work of 33 presenting companies, 133 individual performances and 15 ensemble cast performances.

Readers will choose the top five finalists in all categories in the first round of balloting which begins Monday, August 12th, and will determine the winners in the second, and final round, which ends Sunday, August 25th.

Hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock getting all barihunky
Nominated for "Best Opera" was Gregory Spears' Paul's Case! at UrbanArias featuring barihunk Keith Phares and hunkentenor Jonathan Blalock. The opera is based on the famous short story by Willa Cather. Blalock plays the lead role of Paul, the son of an businessman in early 20th-century Pittsburgh, who is played by Keith Phares. Paul, who is tired of his dreary existence steals money from his job and runs off to New York City to taste freedom and enjoy a life of luxury.

Also nominated was D.J. Sparr's Approaching Ali starring barihunk Solomon Howard. The opera based on the life of Muhammid Ali and was created under the auspices of the American Opera Initiative, Washington National Opera’s program for commissioning contemporary American opera. The libretto is by Mark Campbell and Davis Miller, based on Miller’s own autobiographical novella.

Rod Gilfry and Michael Todd Simpson lent some muscle to Show Boat
Another nomination for "Best Opera" went to Show Boat with barihunks Rod Gilfry and Michael Todd Simpson alternating the role of Gaylord Ravenal at the Kennedy Center. Soloman Howard was also featured in the smaller role of Joe, alternating with Morris Robinson. The Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein classic was directed by Francesca Zambello, one of the founders of the term "barihunk."

Joining  Blalock and Howard in the category of "Best Male Performer in an Opera" is Giorgio Caoduro, for his performance in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Washington National Opera.

Here are the complete nominations for opera. Sign up to vote and see all the nominations at the DC Theatre Scene website:

BEST OPERA  Anna Bolena, Washington National Opera
Approaching Ali, Washington National Opera
Manon Lescaut, Washington National Opera
Paul’s Case!, UrbanArias
Show Boat, Washington National Opera

Davis Miller (Davis Miller), Approaching Ali, Washington National Opera
Georgio Caduro (Lescaut), Manon Lescaut, Washington National Opera
Jonathan Blalock (Paul), Paul’s Case, Urban Arias
Solomon Howard (Mohammed Ali), Approaching Ali, Washington National Opera

Alyson Cambridge (Julie) Showboat, Washington National Opera
Aundi Marie Moore (Odessa Clay) in Approaching Ali, Washington National Opera
Patricia Racette (Tosca) Tosca, Washington National Opera
Sondra Radvanovsky (Anna) Anna Bolena, Washington National Opera

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tickets on Sale Today for Anna Nicole at NYCO; Broadway and Opera Barihunks Abound

Joshua Jeremiah lends some additional muscle to Anna Nicole cast
Tickets for the long-awaited US premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole at New York City Opera are going on sale today. The opera will open the company's 2013–14 season on September 17, with performances running through September 28. The co-production with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) launches the 2013 Next Wave Festival. Click HERE for tickets.

The opera is based on the flamboyant life and tragic death of Anna Nicole Smith, but also features two of our favorite barihunks. The tall and seemingly age-defying Rod Gilfry will play Anna Nicole’s lawyer, Howard Stern. Gilfry returns to NYCO after a critically acclaimed run as Don Alfonso in Mozart's Così fan tutte with the company in 2012. NYCO has already announced that he will return  in 2014 in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

Rod Gilfry and James Barbour
Also returning to the company is Joshua Jeremiah, who worked for the company as covers for the roles of Junior in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte. He also performed with NYCO in an all-Bernstein concert.

 Joshua Jeremiah sings "Voilà donc la terrible cité!" from Massenet's Thais:

The opera Anna Nicole mixes comedy and tragedy with a score that draws on jazz, blues, musical theater and traditional operatic structures. The company has enlisted both Broadway stars and opera singers for the cast.

Those who love a nice "Broadway baritone" will be thrilled that James Barbour will play the role of Daddy Hogan. Barbour received the Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Awards nominations for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Sydney Carton in the Broadway musical version of A Tale of Two Cities. Other Broadway credits include Carousel, Jane Eyre (Drama League Award Nomination), Beauty And The Beast, Urinetown, Assassins, and Cyrano The Musical. This will be his New York City Opera debut.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Romain Dayez performing in innovative new show

Romain Dayez
The always inventive and interesting Belgian barihunk and artistic director Romain Dayez has put together a new show called "De Profundis" featuring the music of Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt and Solange Labbe. The show will also include contemporary dance. Dayez who adminsters and performs with the ALLIAGE Art Project will be presenting the performance on September 22 at Eglise Royale Sainte-Marie Church in Brussels, Belgium.

ALLIAGE is a multi-arts performance group that performs traditional to contemporary works while marrying various art forms. The group is committed to honoring authentic musical styles while creating an original artistic vision, usually around one single project.

ALLIAGE brings together all kinds of artists - including artists, dancers, architects, actors, writers and singers - into unexpected with the goal of reaching a wider audience. This collaborative process is intended to expand artistic boundaries and create new and exciting musical experiences.

The 24-year old singer studied at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles and later at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. He has performed the ancient music and baroque repertory extensively with some of the leading early music conductors in Europe. This includes concerts, oratorios and operas. He has been seen in many standard repertory operas at the Opéra de Metz and Théâtre du Châtelet, and is a regular soloist at the Cathédrale de Bruxelles.

Artistic shot of Romain Dayez
Having grown up in a family of artists, he loves experimenting with new collaborations, having even performed with the Parisian rap group Milk Coffee & Sugar. He should also add "model" to his résumé, as we find his posters featuring his image as eye-catching as any in classical music.

For tickets to De Profundis email or call +33 6 74 35 84 90.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Craig Verm takes on Billy Budd in Chile

Craig Verm in Santiago for Billy Budd rehearsals
American barihunk Craig Verm has graduated from the small role of the Novice's Friend in Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd to the title role of the opera. He'll be performing the opera at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago from August 16-26. In 2007, Verm first appeared in the opera in Pittsburgh opposite the Billy Budd of Nathan Gunn and the thrilling Claggart of Greer Grimsley. The production was directed by the woman who inspired Barihunks, Francesca Zambello, who is notorious for casting shirtless men. No word yet if Verm will be shirtless in Billy Budd, but we have a strong suspicion that he will.

The Santiago performances will also feature Cuban bass-barihunk Homero Pérez-Miranda as Mr. Ratcliffe.
Craig Verm as the Novice's Friend and Greer Grimsley as Claggart in Pittsburgh
Verm will be returning to the Pittsburgh Opera from November 9-17 as Papageno in Mozart's Magic Flute. On October 10 and 12, he'll be performing Zurga in Bizet's Les pecheurs des perles and odds are that he'll appear shirtless again.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Barihunks (and hunkentenors) featured on BuzzFeed

We saw a dramatic uptick in traffic to our site yesterday with a sudden interest in posts from 2009 and 2010. We figured out pretty quickly that we must have been featured somewhere only to learn that we were a prominent part of BuzzFeed's "33 Opera Hunks Who Need To Serenade You Right Now." We have to say that they did a remarkable job of picking out 30+ of the steamiest, sexiest and most talented acoustic singing hunks on the planet.

Barihunks included are Matthew Worth, Randal Turner, Zachary Gordin, Ramin Karimloo, Duncan Rock, Philippe Sly, Chris Herbert, Hadleigh Adams, Beltran Iraburu, Tim McDevitt, Douglas Williams, Gordon Bintner, Mariusz Kwiecien, Erwin Schrott, Vasil Garvanliev, Nathan Gunn, David Adam Moore, Adrian Kramer, Matthew Morris, Jerome Vernier, Tom Corbeil, Kelly Markgraf, Jason Hardy, Donovan Singletary, John Brandon and Simon Keenlyside.

Do the math and it comes out to 78% baritones. That seems about right in our eyes.

Congratulations guys! Who says that sexy men don't increase the interest in opera? You got the coveted "WIN" button on BuzzFeed.

Also keep your eye out for a Barihunks feature in a major New York publication coming out this week.

Marc Callahan in Albert Herring at Birgitta Festival

Marc Callahan as Sid in Albert Herring (Photo: John Bishop)
The worldwide centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth continues at the beautiful monastery at the Brigitta Festival in Estonia. American barihunk Marc Callahan will be performing the role of Sid in Albert Herring with Opera North on August 10th at 7 PM.

The production also featured the legendary soprano Dame Josephine Barstow in the role of Lady Billows.

Tickets are available online.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Audio of Zachary Gordin's Recent Dichterliebe

Zachary Gordin
Back in June we posted about Zachary Gordin performing Schubert's Dichterliebe at the Olympic Music Festival. There is now audio of that performance available online. Click HERE to listen to it.

Gordin will be performing the father in Sunny Knable and Jim Knable's children's opera The Magic Fish at the beautiful Mondavi Center in Sacramento on December 8th. Tickets are available online. The opera is based on the fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife" by the Brothers Grimm.

We're also pleased to announce that the California-based singer will be appearing again in the Barihunks calendar. We promise that you won't be disappointed when you see the photo!

Paulo Szot at intimate 54 Below this week

Paulo Szot
Fans of Paulo Szot can catch him in an intimate setting this week,  as he continues his cabaret show of music theater standards at 54 Below. The star of South Pacific an of opera stages worldwide is joined by his musical director and pianist Matthew Aucoin, along with David Fink on double bass and David Ratajczak on drums.

Szot has put together a night of mostly Broadway favorites, including Gershwin's "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess, "Were Thine That Special Face" from Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, "Old Devil Moon" from Finian's Rainbow, "What Kind of Fool Am I?" from Stop the World – I Want to Get Off, Bart Howard's "Fly Me to the Moon," and a medley that includes "If I Were a Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof, "Money" from Cabaret, and the opening number from The Lion King

Performances are running through August 11 and tickets are available online or by calling (866) 468-7619.

Also, keep your eye out for his upcoming CD on GPRrecords called Brazil To Broadway where he will sing Brazilian Standards in English and Broadway Standards in Portuguese.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gianluca Margheri performs Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo

Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri, who will be featured in our 2014 Barihunks calendar, can be seen on August 24th in Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. The dramatic cantata, with an Italian libretto by Nicola Giuvo, has a plot almost identical to Handel's later English-language pastoral opera Acis and Galatea.

The performances will be with La Rocca Barocca in the coastal town of Giulianova in Italy. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Andrew Garland: Wings for charity; Feathers for art

Andrew Garland shows of his wings and his "guns"

Barihunk and cycling enthusiast Andrew Garland is riding in the 2-day, 192 mile Pan -Mass challenge and proudly wearing his Valkyrie wings to show off his operatic pedigree. The ride raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund and crosses the Commonwelath of Massachusetts. Each cyclist commits to raising between $500 and $5,000. Readers of this site can help Andrew Garland reach his goal by clicking HERE.  

The ride should help up build up plenty of lung power for his upcoming performance in Boston when he trades in his Valkyrie wings for some bird feathers. On Wednesday, August 7th, he'll be performing some of Papageno's music in "A Little Magic Flute & Birthday Celebration for Verdi, Wagner and Britten," a free preview of the Boston Lyric Opera's upcoming season at the Hatch Shell. The concert begins at 7 PM and no tickets are required. He'll be performing Papageno in its entirety with the Boston Lyric Opera from October 4-13. Tickets are available online.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Evan Boyer featured in free outdoor concert in Chicago

Evan Boyer
Evan Boyer will be part of an all-star operatic cast at a free outdoor concert at Chicago's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Saturday, September 7, at 7:30 p.m. The concert is being presented by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. If you can't be there, the concert will be broadcast live on carried live on 98.7WFMT and, which is available online.  

Boyer will be joined by conductor Ward Stare, soprano Ana María Martínez, soprano Albina Shagimuratova, hunkentenor James Valenti, as well as members of the Ryan Opera Center.

Music will include selections from Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Wagner’s Lohengrin, Verdi’s Otello, Verdi’s Il trovatore and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

Canadian Barihunks featured on CBC's "30 under 30"

The CBC recently ran a feature called "30 Hot Canadian Classical Musicians Under 30." They surveyed Canada's conservatories, music competitions and professional training programs to come up with their list. Although we at Barihunks take the word "HOT" to mean sexy, it appears that they are going for a double meaning, with "HOT" also meaning "musicians with talent to keep an eye on," since they range in age from 8 to 28.

Both male singers featured are baritones who have appeared on our site and Philippe Sly even gets mentioned for regularly appearing on our site. We've heard other singers joke that Gordon Bintner is incapable of taking a bad picture and we couldn't agree more. Both Bintner and Sly are not only easy on the eyes, but they are indeed two of the most gifted musicians coming out of Canada.

As an aside, the featured soprano Wallis Giunta, is the girlfriend of barihunk John Brancy, who we've featured extensively of late. Small world!
Gordon Bintner (photo: Emily Ding)

Gordon Bintner (baritone)

Age: 25
From: Regina, Sask.
Hot because: The last 12 months have been huge for Bintner: he won first prize and the People's Choice Award at the 2012 Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio Competition, and in May he made his debut with L'Opéra de Montréal singing Lescaut in Massenet's Manon. We think he looks too sweet to portray womanizing Don Giovanni, but Bintner says it's his dream role.

- February 2014, Toronto, Ont.: the role of Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with the COC's Ensemble Studio.

Philippe Sly (photo: Adam Scotti)

Philippe Sly (bass-baritone)

Age: 24
From: Ottawa, Ont.
Hot because: Sly has a way of impressing audiences and judges. He’s won both the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (which come with a cool $15,000 prize) and the Montreal International Musical Competition (add another $55,000 in winnings). Oh, he also makes frequent appearances on the popular Barihunks blog.

- Sept. 12,15,16, Montreal, Que.: Berlioz’s Damnation de Faust with l'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
- Dec. 6,7, Winnipeg, Man.: Handel’s Messiah with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.
- March 15, Philadelphia, Penn.: Fauré’s Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

You can see the entire list at the CBC website