Sunday, March 9, 2014

Barihunk miners in Holland Park "La fanciulla del West"

Peter Brathwaite
Despite having 10 baritone or bass roles, Puccini's La fanciulla del West has made relatively few appearances on Barihunks. Perhaps it's because Puccini operas like La bohème are performed more often or maybe Marcellos tend to be hotter than Jack Rances.

Fortunately, the upcoming production of La fanciulla del West at Opera Holland Park this summer features two barihunk who have been featured on this site, Peter Brathwaite as Sid and Nick Garrett as Sonora. Opera Holland Park is a summer opera company which produces an annual season of opera performances staged under a temporary canopy in Holland Park, a public park in west central London. Performances will run from June 3-21.

Composed especially for the Metropolitan Opera in 1910, La fanciulla del West has echoes of Richard Strauss and Debussy, as well as original folk melodies. It has been variously described as the composer's magnum opus and, by the great conductor Arturo Toscanini, as a "great symphonic poem".

The story of a group of gold miners, watched over and cared for by Minnie, is often perceived as having a 'happy ending'. But the tale is so much more sophisticated than that and the climax of the opera is of the most profoundly bittersweet variety. The music, however, is gloriously through composed, with moments of sheer majesty and emotional impact.

Nick Garrett
Nick Garrett is an English bass-baritone. He was a member of the vocal ensemble, The Swingle Singers and the opera band Amici Forever. Garrett was born in London and taught himself to play the piano at age seven. He studied singing, composition, piano and conducting at Trinity College of Music, with further study in singing supported by a grant from the Wolfson Foundation. He then joined The Swingle Singers and toured with them internationally.

After leaving The Swingle Singers, he performed in some of the world's leading opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, the English National Opera, the Scottish Opera and the Opéra National de Paris. He has performed over forty major roles, including the Don Giovanni, Figaro, Colline and Scarpia.

Lucio Gallo sings "Minnie dalla mia casa son partito":

Peter Brathwaite is a former Nationale Reisopera Resident Artist and alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. He is the recipient of many prizes including a Peter Moores Foundation Major Award, the inaugural Samuel Coleridge Taylor Award, a Winston Churchill Fellowship (presented by Her Majesty The Queen), a 2010-2012 Independent Opera Fellowship and first prize in the Ted Moss and Bertha Taylor-Stach Lieder Competition.

Brathwaites's most recent engagements have included numerous world premieres. He made his Dutch mainstage debut last season at Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg as Luis in Randal Corsen's KATIBU DI SHON, a role which he will reprise in the Netherlands and on tour to Curaçao. He began the 2013-14 season singing the role of Emanuel in the award-winning operatic adaptation of Marina Lewycka's novel Two Caravans, a portrayal which earned him critical acclaim.

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