Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Barihunk Quartet in Opera Atelier's Persée

Olivier Laquerre (Méduse) left, Vasil Garvanliev (Phinèe) center, and Curtis Sullivan (Cyclope) 2nd from right Photos on left and right by Bruce Zinger  
Opera Atelier has revived their critically acclaimed production of Lully’s Persée with four barihunks in the cast: Olivier Laquerre as Méduse, Vasil Garvanliev as Phinèe, Stephen Hegedus as Protenor/Divinite Infernale and Curtis Sullivan as Cyclope.

The company first staged the production in 2000, which was the opera's first fully staged production since it inaugurated the Royal Opera House at Versailles in 1770 during the wedding celebrations of the future King Louis XVI to Marie Antoinette. Their 2004 revival of Persée was the subject of a documentary.

Stephen Hegedus (right)
The Royal Opera House has invited Opera Atelier to bring Persée back to Versailles for the first time  since the 1770 performances. It will be performed on May 23, 24, and 25 after the current run at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. There are performances tonight, as well as May 2 and 3.

You can also catch Stephen Hegedus performing Bach’s Magnificat and Bruckner’s Te Deum with l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec on May 28.

BariChunk to BariHunk Kasey Yeargain to make professional debut

Kasey Yeargain "Before & After"
We have had few posts that have generated as much interest as Kasey Yeargain's transformation from an overweight, unhealthy, depressed singer into a healthy, physically fit, confident barihunk who cuts a mean figure in a uniform. His story shot into our ten most viewed posts within a month and remains in our Top 5 to this day.

At his heaviest, he weighed between 270-300 pounds (122-136 kilos) and he now weighs around 199 pounds  (90 kilos). He has created his own blog called The Opera Bro where he shares his story and talks about his weight loss and fitness routine.

Kasey Yeargain as Zuniga
His incredible story culminates on May 2 at the Tulsa Opera where he is making his professional stage debut as Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen. We often joke about Carmen running off with Escamillo when there's a barihunk in the role, but in this production she may run off with the officer Zuniga. If you can't make opening night, there will be an additional performance on May 4. Tickets are available online.

This summer, he'll be able to strut his stuff opposite one of the great bodies in opera, as he takes on the Prison Guard in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking opposite über-barihunk David Adam Moore at the Des Moines Metro Opera. This will be Yeargain coming full circle, as his dedication to fitness began while he was a studio artist with the same company last year. Performances will run from June 28-July 19 and tickets are available online.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reader Submission: Leonard Bernad

Leonard Bernad in Mirandolina and at the Neue Stimme competition
A reader sported Romanian bass-barihunk Leonard Bernad in his scivvies in the cast of Bohuslav Martinů's Mirandolina with the Bavarian Opera Studio. Bernad joined the Opera Studio last year after a stint with the Cologne Opera Studio where he performed Chirurgo in Verdi's La Forza del Destino, Second Prisoner in Beethoven's Fidelio, Wilhelm Grimm in Wolf-Ferarri’s Aschenputtel, and the Second Senator in Franz Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten.

During his time in Munich, he'll be performing the Usher in Verdi's Rigoletto, Guardian of the City in Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, the Customs Officer in Puccini's La bohème, Floras assistant in Verdi's La traviata, Hauptmann in Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin, Yakusidé in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Cappadocier in Strauss' Salome and Ambrogio in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Bernad studied at the National University of Music in Bucharest with the great Romanian soprano Maria Slatinaru. After graduating, Bernad made his debut at the National Opera of Bucharest playing Canciano in Wolf-Ferrari’s I quattro rusteghi.

Leonard Bernad in 2010 singing Fiesco's aria:

In 2011, he competed in the prestigious Neue Stimme competition, sang in the tribute honoring the 100th birthday of Gian Carlo Menotti and performed at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia under the musical direction of Plácido Domingo.

In 2012, he appeared alongside Edita Gruberova in Bellini’s La straniera at the Philharmonie am Gasteig in Munich and at the Vienna Musikverein in celebration of her 45th anniversary on the opera stage. He also also performed the role of Bartolo in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro in Valencia, under the stage direction of the great bass Ruggero Raimondi.

There are two performances of Martinů's Mirandolina remaining on April 30th and May 11. He also will be  appearing in La bohème from May 4-10.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Barihunks rotating Giovanni at Zomeropera

Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri, who is the featured model this month in the Barihunks calendar, is rotating the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni with fellow barihunk Borja Quiza at the Zomeropera in Belgium.

The Zomeropera, which is in its 17th season, was creaed to bring professional orchestra musicians together with students to perform work for a broader audience. The professionals occupy the concert master’s chair and the lead player positions for viola, cello, double bass, wood instruments and brass instruments. These masters coach the different instrumental groups and offer their assistance in recruiting talented students.

Borja Quiza
Each production offers the students who are involved a vast amount of detailed information about the  interpretation of opera repertoire.

Performances will run from May 24-June 21, so there is plenty of time to check out both casts.

Before he heads to Zomeropera, Margheri will be part of an opera gala on May 10th under the baton of Zubin Mehta at the Teatro Communale in Florence, Italy. He'll be performing Act 4 of Verdi's Otello with tenor Gregory Kunde.

Final Scene of Don Giovanni with Borja Quiza:

Borja Quiza in "I, Don Giovanni"
Quiza has been closely identified with the title role in Mozart's masterpiece, having starred as the famed seducer in Carlos Saura's stunningly beautiful film of "I, Don Giovanni."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reader Submission: Tim Stolte

Tim Stolte
Our latest Reader Submission comes to us from a reader in Germany, who informed us that Tim Stolte was a late addition to the Lauritz Melchior International Singing Competition, which begins on Friday, April 25. If he makes it to the finals, he'll perform in the gala on Saturday, May 3rd with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra.  1st prize at the competition is  € 20.000, 2nd prize is € 12.000, 3rd prize is € 6.000 and 4th prize is  € 3.000, with and additional Audience prize of € 2.000 and Youth prize of € 1.300.

The 37-year-old German graduated from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg in 2007 where he studied with the great soprano Hanna Schwarz. In 2007, he made his  debut as Dandino in Rossini's La Cenerentola) at the Castle Festival Weikersheim.

From 2008 to 2010,  Stolte was an ensemble member at the Mecklenburg State Theatre where he made his role debut as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen. From 2010 to 2013, he was a member of the Theater Görlitz, where he performed the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Giorgio Germont in Verdi's La Traviata, Conte Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, and Dr. Falke in Strauss' Die Fledermaus.

After the Melchior competition, he returns to Görlitz to perform Herr Fluth in Nicolai's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor.   

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Barihunk Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek to join Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli & Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek
Barihunk Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek will join four-time Tony Award-winning legend Liza Minnelli at New York's Joe's Pub at The Public Theater as part of an all-star tribute concert and benefit celebrating the music of incomparable multi-award-winning composer Jule Styne. Proceeds from the concert will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The May 11th benefit will also feature Marissa Mulder, Anita Gillette, Leslie Uggams, David Burtka, Carolee Carmello, Jennifer Diamond, Mandy Gonzalez, Randy Graff, Dee Hoty, Rita McKenzie, Alice Ripley and 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle.

Jule Styne is a Tony Award- and Academy Award-winning composer known for writing over 1500 songs over the course of his career, including scores for such notable Broadway musicals as Gypsy, Funny Girl, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, Peter Pan, Bells Are Ringing, Do Re Mi, Sugar and Hallelujah Baby! Teaming with lyricist Sammy Cahn in the 1940s, he also created a string of Hit Parade leaders and chart-topping hits, including the Oscar-winning "Three Coins In The Fountain."

David Burtka
Styne's illustrious collaborators include Stephen Sondheim, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Bob Merrill, Leo Robin and E.Y. Harburg, with their combined efforts over the years having produced such unforgettable showstopping standards as "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Don't Rain On My Parade," "Let Me Entertain You," "The Party's Over," "People," "Never Never Land," "Just In Time," and "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."

Tickets are $35 and are available HERE.

Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek can currently be seen as Joseph DeRocher in Dead Man Walking at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Chicago on April 27th. Tickets are available online. From May 30-June 15, he sings Count Almaviva in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, California.

Michael Mayes returns to signature role in Dead Man Walking

Michael Mayes in Dead Man Walking
February 25, 2012 was a life-changing day for barihunk Michael Mayes. It's the day that he first took the stage as Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Tulsa Opera. His performance as the accused killer was so riveting that word shot around the opera world about his intense performance. Most importantly, composer Jake Heggie was also impressed by Mayes. He recently told Colorado Public Radio, "I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority."
I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority. - See more at:
I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority. - See more at:
I've seen Mike Mayes sing Joe a few times and I can tell you nobody in the entire world has ever done it better or with more authority. - See more at:

Our readers also took notice, as the photo that we ran of Mayes after he'd buffed up for the role instantly became one of our most viewed pictures. The role itself takes enormous physical stamina and baritones have been known to go to great lengths to get in shape, as the opera includes an aria that's sung while doing pushups. Etienne Dupuis went so far as hiring two trainers when he sang the role at the Opera de Montreal.

Mayes is now back singing what's become his signature role at both the Madison Opera and Central City Opera. The production will be performed in Madison on April 25 and 27, and then in Central City from July 5-25.

Michael Mayes with Erik Larson (and Pete)
Mayes first appeared in the opera not as the main character, but as a motorcycle cop at the Fort Worth Opera Festival in the 2008-09 season. We couldn't help but wonder if the Madison cast has a future de Rocher in it, as Erik Larsen has been cast in the role of the motorcycle cop. Larson made waves when he busted out of his pants and posted it on Twitter (which we, of course, reposted on Barihunks).

After his two runs of Dead Man Walking, Mayes continues with his commitment to contemporary opera. He'll be performing in Ethan Gans-Morse's The Canticle of the Black Madonna, a new opera premiering in Portland, Oregon on September 5, 2014. Set in coastal Louisiana amidst the devastation of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, it tells the story of a fictional soldier returning from Afghanistan to his wife. Together, they face the challenges of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and her struggles to maintain the family business. 

Interview with Lee Poulis

Lee Poulis & Sean Panikkar (photo: Rachel Parker)
Theater Jones, which covers the arts scene in North Texas, recently ran a feature on Lee Poulis, who is starring in the Fort Worth Opera Festival production of Bizet's Pearl Fishers directed by John de los Santos.
“The role of Zurga has a lot of singing and two of the highest notes I have ever sung on stage,” he says. “Usually, a high G is the top in baritone roles. Bizet writes an optional A flat and an A natural. I am singing them because they fit in my voice and they are not in highly dramatic moments, where you would be tempted to oversing. I love this role.”
You can read the entire article HERE

There are two performances remaining on April 27 and May 2. Click HERE for tickets or additional information.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Introducing Photogenic Italian Bass-Barihunk Andrea Mastroni

Andrea Mastroni (photo: Nicodemo Luca Lucà)
We have a particular soft spot for basses in our pantheon of barihunks. When we saw pictures of Italian basso Andrea Mastroni by the great Milanese photographer Nicodemo Luca Lucà on Twitter we drawn to how seductive and sensuous he came across through the lens. 

Andrea Mastroni was born in Milan and originally studied the clarinet.  He then began studying voice with the great Italian soprano Lello Cuberli and Rita Antoniazzi. He graduated with honors from the Istituto Claudio Monteverdi in Cremona, while also obtaining a degree in Aesthetic Philosophy. In 2005, he won the Mario Basiola Prize and in 2007 took home both the Giuseppe Di Stefano Competition and the Bibiena Prize.

Andrea Mastroni
Andrea Mastroni
He is currently singing Colline in Puccini's La bohème at the Teatro La Fenice through May 30th. In July, he heads to Verona to tackle more Puccini when he sings Timur in Turandot at the famous arena. He then switches to Verdi, alternating the roles of the King and Rafis in Aida at the Arena di Verona. Last season, Mastroni's sinister and dark Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto was a big hit singing opposite Leo Nucci and Aleksandra Kurzak.

Andrea Mastroni sings Pergolesi's "Quoniam tu solus sanctus": 

Mastroni has also focused on 19th century chamber music and lieder, performing such standards as Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise, as well as Schumann's Dichterliebe. He can be heard on a number of recording and DVD's, including as Il Conte Vaudemont in Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani opposite Leo Nucci and Daniela Dessi, Oroe in Rossini's Semiramide and Frere Laurent in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette opposite Andrea Bocceli and Maite Alberola.

Introducing British Barihunk Toby Girling

Toby Girling in Zatopek! (left) and Winterreise (right)
Some singers just seem to inspire directors to get them into various states of undress and British barihunk seems to be one of them. We originally saw the picture of him from Zatopek! (above left) when we were posting about his castmate Peter Brathwaite and then the picture of him on the right from a Bluebeard's Castle/Winterreise double bill showed up in our messages. Girling is the sole vocal performer in Schubert's Winterreise with the Vlaamse Opera, which will run in Antwerp through May 10th. Tickets are available online.

Toby Girling is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was a member of the Glyndebourne Opera Festival Chorus in the Michael Grandage production of Britten's Billy Budd, in which he also sang the role of Arthur Jones and covered the role of Donald. Regular readers may recall that Glyndebourne's Billy Budd also featured barihunks Jacques Imbrailo and Duncan Rock. 

Toby Girling sings Der Lindenbaum from Schubert's 'Die Winterreise:

He has sung at a number of major festivals other than Glyndebourne. These include a 2011 performance of Ben in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti at the Wexford Festival, Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte and the Sorceress in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at the Verbier Festival, and Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto at the Iford Festival. He also performed in both Guglielmo in Così fan tutte and Fiorello in Rossini's the Barber of Seville to great acclaim with the English Touring Company.

He is currenlty a Studio Artist at Oper Frankfurt, where he performed as the Flemish Deputy in a revival of Verdi's Don Carlo.  Other appearances with the company include Ein Steuermann in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, Manuel in de Falla's La Vida Breve and Mann in Sallinen's Kullervo.

Introducing French Barihunk Boris Grappe

Boris Grappe as Robert in "Wasser" (photo: Regine Koerner)
We recently discovered this photo of French barihunk Boris Grappe performing in the 2012 world premiere of Wasser by Arnulf Hermann at the Oper Frankfurt.  The story is about a man who upon waking up finds himself in a hotel room with no idea how he got there. He thinks he recognizes people in the lobby, but his memory fails him. Everything is strangely shifted and displaced, including the music.

Grappe had previously performed Barabbas in Aulis Sallinen’s Barabbas Dialogues with the company.

We decided to find up what he's up to and found him singing Franz in Christian Lauba's La Lettre des sable at the Opéra National de Bordeaux from April 24-30. The opera evokes the great classics of science fiction to imagine the mysteries between the past and the future. The characters pass through the hourglass of time without really knowing where they are and who they are. 

Boris Grappe (photo by Patrick Vogel)
Born in Besançon, France, Boris Grappe studied voice at the Conservatoire de Lyon and at the Hochschule für Musik of Vienna. From 2007 to 2011, Boris Grappe was engaged at the Nationaltheater Mannheim where he performed Don Giovanni, Conte Almaviva, Guglielmo, Papageno, Figaro (Barbiere di Siviglia), Schaunard, Ping, Silvio, Harlekin, Donner, Melot, Falke, Albert. Graf Eberbach (Der Wildschütz).

From Decemeber 15-31, he'll perform Puck in Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein at the Grand Théâtre de Genève opposite Ruxandra Donose.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Barihunk Feast in Fort Worth: Pearl Fishers and Silent Night

Photos by Rachel Parker
The Fort Worth Opera Festival, one of our favorite stops on the opera circuit, kicked off the season with a stunning production of Bizet's Pearl Fishers featuring barihunks Lee Poulis as Zurga and Justin Hopkins as Nourabad. We should also mention that hunkentenor Sean Panikkar, of Forte fame, adds to the beefcake fest AND sings Nadir's beautiful aria "Je crois entendre encore."

Any opera directed by John de los Santos promises to be entertaining and an oft-static work like Pearl Fishers needs the touch of someone who can direct AND choreograph. De los Santos' non-stop action in the Mikado at the Festival in 2011 had audiences rolling in the aisles. We've heard that his dance scenes are magnificent. Throw in a shirtless Lee Poulis with his pants hanging low on his torso and you have an operatic feast for the eyes and the ears.

Justin Hopkins and the dancers from Fort Worth Opera's Pearl Fishers
The opera is the story of two men who fight over the same woman, make up and then fight over her again when she reappears. In between there is one of the most famous duets in all of opera and a beautiful aria for the girl Leïla. One of the men gives up his life to save Leïla and his friend. This was reality TV before reality TV.

There are additional performances on April 27 and May 2 and tickets are available online.

Dan Kempson, Lt. Gordon in Fort Worth's Silent Night
If two barihunks isn't enough for you, then you'll enjoy the next opera at the Fort Worth Opera Festival, which has four bariunks.  Kevin Puts' Silent Night will be performed on May 4 and 10 with barihunks Dan Kempson as Lt. Gordon, Aaron Sørensen as the French General, Craig Irvin as Lt. Horstmayer and Morgan Smith as Lt. Audebert.

Aaron Sørensen, the French General in Silent Night: "Il est mignon!"
The opera is based on the screenplay Joyeux Noël by Christian Carion and recounts a miraculous moment of peace during one of the bloodiest wars in human history. On WWI’s western front, Scottish, French and German officers defy their superiors and negotiate a Christmas Eve truce. Enemies become brothers as they share Christmas and bury their dead.
You can listen to the entire opera online at composer Kevin Puts' website. 

Seth Mease Carico returning to US for Elixir of Love

Seth Mease Carico (photo by Nacho Guerrero)
Barihunk Seth Mease Carico will join four other former Opera Saratoga Young Artists in a series of performances, including Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Donizetti's Elixir of Love, as well as a workshop performance Evan Mack's new opera Roscoe. The project was made possible by a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Carico will be featured in the Elixir of Love.

Carico has been a member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin where he is currently singing the Villains in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann, the Speaker in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto and the First Mate in Britten's Billy Budd.

Based on the best-selling novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy, the story of Roscoe takes place on V-J-day in 1945. Roscoe Conway, after twenty-six years as the second in command of Albany's notorious political machine, decides to quit politics forever. But there's no way out, and only his Machiavellian imagination can help him cope with the erupting disasters. Every step leads back to the past -- to the early loss of his true love, the takeover of city hall, the machine's fight with FDR and Al Smith to elect a governor, and the methodical assassination of gangster Jack (Legs) Diamond.

 Kevin Kees sings Roscoe's aria:

A workshop performance of Act 1 of Roscoe will be performed by Opera Saratoga at the Helen Filene Ladd Theater on June 8th. Click HERE for tickets

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Xavier Edgardo's "Month of Mozart" continues with Cosi

Xavier Edgardo, an emerging Mozart specialist
After a huge success singing the Mozart Requiem Puerto Rican barihunk Xavier Edgardo will be sticking with Mozart, as he takes on Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte on April 26 and 27 at the Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico. We've heard him sing Guglielmo's aria "Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo" and it's worth a lot more than the meager $10.00 price of admission.

The Puerto Rican native is headed to San Francisco to complete his Masters in Voice at the Conservatory of Music under tutelage of the famed tenor and professor César Ulloa. He'll return to Puerto Rico in November to sing Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème at the Teatro de la Ópera. In 2013, he debuted with the company in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and participated in the world premiere of the Carlos Vázquez opera La mina de oro.

In between, he'll be headed to Opera on the Avalon in St. John's, Newfoundland, where he's also slated to appear in La bohème. Our main mission at Barihunks is to assist young singers in their careers and we're part of the campaign to help send Xavier Edgardo to this important training program. Please join us in making a pledge of any amount, as it will go a long way in supporting this talented young artist. Click HERE to give today. 

He has already participated in training programs such as the International Institute of Vocal Arts (IIVA) and the International Vocal Arts Institute (LRI) in Tel Aviv, where he has sung and taken masterclasses with artists such as Justino Díaz, Joan Dornemann, Denis Sedov, Sherrill Milnes, Mignon Dunn, Carlos Conde and Joel Prieto.

He is also a longtime member of the award-winning ensemble Coralia.

Barihunk trio in Opera Parallèle Double-Bill

Gabriel Preisser, Hadleigh Adams and Daniel Cilli at a dress rehearsal
Regular readers of this site know that we have a particular fondness for Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias. Apparently, our readers do, as well, as the production from Barcelona remains one of our most visited posts (barihunk Gabriel Bermudez appearing in the buff may account for some of that traffic!).

San Francisco's innovative young opera company Opera Parallèle has assembled three popular and talented barihunks for their double-bill of Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel and Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tirésias for their three performances at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts from April 25 - 27 under conductor Nicole Paiement. Gabriel Preisser performs Bobby in Mahagonny and Le mari in the Poulenc, Daniel Cilli is Billy and Le directeur/Presto, and San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow Hadleigh Adams sings Le gendarme.

Gabriel Preisser and Hadleigh Adams (left); Hadleigh Adams and Daniel Cilli (right)
Director Brian Staufenbiel has seamlessly combined the two works, beginning with Mahogonny set in a future where water is in scarce supply and a theater troupe dragging an old boat (that the company found in the Santa Cruz Mountains) stops to perform Les Mamelles. The Poulenc opera is about a woman who becomes a man and changes the submissive role of women in her world, as her husband overpopulates the world by giving birth to thousands of babies.

The Poulenc, which includes members of the San Francisco Girls Chorus to great effect, will be presented in the re-orchestration for smaller orchestra for the first time in the United States.

Hadleigh Adams and Renee Rapier
Gabriel Preisser took the opera world by storm with his portrayal of Lt. Gordon in the world premiere of Kevin Putz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night with Minnesota Opera and Opera Philadelphia. He will reprise the role this summer with the Cincinnati Opera with tenor Thomas Glenn, who is Charlie/Lacouf/Le Journaliste/Le fils in the Weill/Poulenc double-bill. He'll also be joined by fellow barihunks Joseph Lattanzi, Philip Addis, Craig Irvin and Andrew Wilkowske. Performances are on July 10 and 12 and tickets are available online.

Hadleigh Adams made his debut with the San Francisco Opera as Luther and Schlémil in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann and in several roles in the world premiere of Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene. He'll appear with the company again this season as the Jailer in Puccini's Tosca.

Daniel Cilli heads to the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre this summer to sing Javert in Les Misérables. During the 2012-13 season, he performed the title role Carlo Gesualdo in the premiere of  Dante DeSilva's Gesualdo: Prince of Madness with Opera Parallèle.

For those unfamiliar with Opera Parallèle, it's a company that you should keep an eye on, as they are doing some of the most innovative and interesting opera on the West Coast. They've produced Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti in a double-bill with Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge, the world premiere of Jacques Desjardins’ re-orchestration of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby, the San Francisco Bay Area premiere of Philip Glass’ Orphée, the first West Coast performances of John Rea’s chamber version of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, the world premiere of Lou Harrison’s opera Young Caesar with a nude scene featuring barihunk Eugene Brancoveanu, Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts and the world premiere of Luciano Chessa’s A Heavenly Act.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cairan Ryan and Nathan Wyatt headed to Tanglewood

Cairan Ryan and Nathan Wyatt
Nathan Wyatt and Cairan Ryan, two talented young artists who were recently featured on this site have been accepted into the 2014 Tanglewood Music Center Vocal Arts Program.

They will work with three legendary singers, Phyllis Curtin, Dawn Upshaw and Stephanie Blythe, as well as other coaches. During their residency they will hone their skills in art song, contemporary music, chamber music, and orchestral projects under the instruction of resident and visiting faculty artists.

This season, they will participate in a performance of Bernstein's Candide with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Koussevitsky Music Shed, as well as performances with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, which will perform Berlioz's Les nuits d'été and other works.

Cairan Ryan was born in Lier, Belgium and emigrated to Calgary, Alberta. He is currently in his second year as a young artist at the Atelier Lyrique de L'Opéra de Montréal. Ryan makes his French debut on May 10 at Choregies d'Orange in a free concert of arias and duets with soprano Marlene Assayag, mezzo-soprano Beste Kalender and tenor Enguerrand De Hys.

In March, Wyatt performed the world premiere of Nico Muhly's work for baritone and orchestra, Pleasure Ground, with the Cincinnati Symphony as part of the MusicNOW Festival. In May, he sings the role of the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro with the American Dream Theater.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tom Corbeil live from Australia this Sunday

Tom Corbeil, music director Erin Helyard, soprano Anna Davidson, countertenor Daniel Bubeck and director Chas Rader-Shieber waiting at the airport
You can listen to barihunk Tom Corbeil sing Zoroastro in Handel's Orlando from the Hobart Baroque Festival in Australia this Sunday, April 20th at 7 PM AEST (Australian time)/2 AM PST/5 AM EST. The broadcast is on ABC Classic FM.

This is the same production by director Chas Rader-Shieber and designer David Zinn that premiered at Glimmerglass Festival and was later shown at Lincoln Centre in New York. This opera features one of Handel's most famous mad scenes sung here by the gifted countertenor Randall Scotting. The  text of the opera is derived from Ludovico Ariosto’s sixteenth century epic poem, Orlando Furioso.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo sings Zoroastro's "Lascia amor":

The plot is the usual Baroque entanglement of love both requited and unrequited. Orlando, a great hero in Charlemagne's army, has been undone by love. Angelica, the Queen of Cathay and his former lover, now loves the African prince Medoro. Medoro, who once promised love to the shepherdess Dorinda, now requites Angelica's love. In other words, we have two spurned lovers – Dorinda, whose reaction is seriocomic, and Orlando, whose reaction is to fall into madness. Dorinda is clever enough to fend for herself, but the magician Zoroastro must put Orlando back together again. This he successfully does, and Orlando is restored to his former military glory at the end of the opera.

Chris Herbert hits some heavenly high notes as Jesus

Chris Herbert hitting some heavenly high notes as Jesus
Christopher Herbert, who in addition to his solo career and tours with New York Polyphony, also performs with Music at Trinity Wall Street on many Sundays. On Palm Sunday, the ensemble improvised the Passion according to Matthew and he sang the role of Jesus.  

And if you thought Jesus walking on water was impressive, wait until you hear his high B-flats. The Passion starts in Trinity Wall Street's streaming video at 20:15. The heavenly high notes take place around 31:00 and 57:00. 

Herbert is also performing today for Good Friday and singing the role of Pontius Pilate in Bach's Saint John Passion. They will perform it in liturgical context with a sermon in the middle and the congregation singing the chorales in English. It will also be available online.

[Pontius Pilate and Jesus in the same week! There's a joke in there somewhere.]

Herbert and New York Polyphony begin their tour of The Netherlands and Germany next week beginning on April 22 and running through May 3. On May 11, he returns to the U.S. as a soloist when he performs Handel's Israel in Egypt with Princeton ProMusica.

Reader Submission: Alexander Elliott

Alexander Elliott preparing for Pirates of Penzance
The Portland Opera Resident Young Artist Program was one of the first recipients of a Barihunks Grant from our annual calendar proceeds. So we were particularly delighted when our latest reader submission was one of the young artists performing Samuel in Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance with the company.

Alexander Elliott is a second year young artist who has performed in recital with the company, as well sung the Shoe Salesman in Dominick Argento's Postcard from Morocco. He was also their cover for Enrico in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor.  Our reader also shared this great photo of Alexander Elliott get used to his sword for the show, which opens on May 9 and runs through May 17. Tickets are available online. The Pirate King is being sung by one of the most famous barihunks in the world, Daniel Okulitch.

Elliott was previously an apprentice artist with the Central City Opera, where he sang the role of Frank in Ned Rorem’s Our Town. This summer, he joins the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco. They are performing Mozart's Don Giovanni and a reduced orchestral version of André Previn's Streetcar Named Desire.

Other career highlights have includes the Captain in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Périchaud in La Rondine with Des Moines Metro Opera as well as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro with the Tulsa Opera opposite fellow barihunk Seth Carico.

You can hear audio of him at his website.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexy Don Giovanni with Zach Altman in San José

Cecilia Violetta Lopez as Donna Anna & Zach Altman as Don Giovanni
Every so often there's a Don Giovanni that comes along where one can actually believe the sexual conquests listed in Leoporello's catalog aria. (In Italy, six hundred and forty; In Germany, two hundred and thirty-one; A hundred in France; in Turkey, ninety-one; But in Spain already one thousand and three).

Such is the case with Zach Altman's sexy and shirtless portrayal at the San José Opera. Regular readers will recall a photo of Altman in a towel that we ran, which for almost a year was one of our most clicked on photos. That photo ran four years ago and Altman still looks great, but he has also emerged into one of the most compelling entertainers and singers on stage.

By the way, the catalog aria in this production is sung by Eugene Brancoveanu, who has also appeared shirtless on this site. There are two casts for Don Giovanni, and Altman can be seen on April 19, 24, 27 and May 2. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

He was also featured in this article from the San José Mercury News where he discusses the role and his time on the roster at the San José Opera. 

Altman has been a resident artist at the San José Opera for the last two years, where he has sung Zurga in Bizet's Pearl Fishers, Dr. Falke Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Count Di Luna in Verdi's Il trovatore, and the title role in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.

Altman can next be seen this summer at the Caramoor Festival as Astolfo in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia opposite soprano Angela Meade and Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kyle Ketelsen's Easter Messiah to be broadcast worldwide

Kyle Ketelsen as Méphistophélès (right)
American barihunk Kyle Ketelsen will make his debut with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in a special Easter version of Handel's Messiah that his being broadcast worldwide.

The concert from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah will be performed live on Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 PM MDT. The Friday performance will be available live online and then for free on-demand until midnight on Monday, April 21st.

Ketelsen, who has become the preeminent Escamillo in the world, is not new to oratorios. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with Haydn’s Creation with the Oratorio Society of New York and repeated the work with Music of the Baroque in Chicago. His concert repertoire also includes the Verdi Requiem, Brahms' Deutsches Requiem, Fauré's Requiem, Dvorák's Te Deum, the Bach St. Matthew and St. John Passions and the Mozart C-Minor Mass.

From June 20-28 he returns to the opera stage in his signature role of Escamillo at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. In September, he returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Leporello opposite the Don Giovanni of fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien.

Reader Submission: Ola Eliasson

Ola Eliasson as Don Giovanni (photo: Markus Gårder)
Ola Eliasson as Don Giovanni with Sara Widén as Zerlina
(Photo: Markus Gårder

A reader in Stockholm recently saw Ola Eliasson in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni and was surprised that the Swedish barihunk had never been featured on the site. Well, that's an omission that we're more than happy to rectify. 
Eliasson originally studied percussion, guitar, French horn and piano at the Royal College of Music before settling on vocal studies. We're not sure how he's slipped past our eagle eyes, as he's been a member of the Royal Opera ensemble since 1997, singing such roles as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro), Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Figaro in Rossini's Barber of SevilleOlivier in Richard Strauss' Capriccio, Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème.
Ola Eliasson sings Grieg's "Jeg elsker Dig":
His career has been predominantly on the stages of Sweden including appearances with the Göteborg Opera and Drottningholm Court Theater
There are two performances of Don Giovanni remaining at the Royal Opera on April 22 and 27, and then it returns to the repertory in the Fall.  This summer, he can be been seen as Alberich in Wagner's Das Rheingold at the Dalhalla Opera Festival form August 8-17. 

You can follow him on Twitter @Ola_Eliasson.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reader Submission: Aimery Lefèvre

Aimery Lefèvre
Our latest reader submission is 30-year-old French barihunk Aimery Lefèvre. A reader notified us after buying tickets for the world premiere of Philippe Hurel's Les Pigeons D'Argile at the Théâtre du Capitole, in which Lefèvre is singing Toni. Performances run from April 15-22 and additional information is available online.

Lefèvre studied piano and organ performance as well as singing at the Centre de Musique Baroque in Versailles, where he specialized in 17th- and 18th-century music performance. He continued his education at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon under the direction of Brian Parsons, and then became a member of the Paris Opera’s Atelier Lyrique.

His debut was the male title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Kenneth Weith. In 2010,  he made his Paris Opera as Fiorello in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Momus in Rameau’s Platée, the latter under the baton of Marc Minkowski. He returned in 2011 to sing Curio in Handel's Giulio Cesare and in 2012 to sing Arcas and Parque in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie.

This summer, Lefèvre heads to Santiago, Chile where he will sing Frédérick in Delibes' Lakme. Performances run from July 5-14 and tickets are available online

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Andrew Lovato stars in Santa Fe Opera spring tour

Andrew Lovato and the Spring Tour singers
Barihunk Andrew Lovato is hitting the road for the 2014 Santa Fe Opera Spring Opera Tour. He'll be joining former apprentices Abigail Mitchell, Rachel Hall, Joshua Dennis and legendary coach Kirt Pavitt in bringing opera to the backroads of New Mexico, Texas and Colorado.

The traveling opera troupe will perform a new piece called “True North,” which explores the relationship of the young singers whose characters were featured in Written in the Stars and Avastar, the original operas performed on previous tours.

The popular Spring Opera Tour has been going on for about 20 years bringing opera to students and families who might not otherwise experience live opera. The tour began yesterday in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and travels to Lubbock, Texas for a performance on Sunday. Over the next three weeks they'll travel to Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque, Pagosa Springs, Farmington, Socorro and Moriarty.

Andrew Lovato sings Wagners "Der Engel" from the Wesendonck Lieder:

Andrew Lovato has participated in young artist programs with Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera where he performed and covered roles in Morrison's Oscar, Offenbach's La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein, Puccini's La Bohéme, Oklahoma and Mozart's Don Giovanni.  He is currently in the young artist program at the Minnesota Opera.

The Waukesha, Wisconsin native received his Bachelor of Music in Voice from Lawrence University and a Master of Music in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he performed roles in Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress, Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Britten's Peter Grimes, Robert Ward's The Crucible and Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ryan McKinny returns to Los Angeles as Stanley Kowalski

Ryan McKinny
If there was any doubt left that Ryan McKinny has emerged as a major talent it was erased with the announcement that he'll sing Stanley Kowalski opposite megastar Renée Fleming in Andrè Previn's Streetcar Named Desire at the Los Angeles Opera. It also cements his budding reputation as a major barihunk, adding the notoriously sexy Stanley to his growing list of barihunk roles that includes Hercules, Escamillo and Jochanaan.

McKinny truly emerged last summer as the Dutchman in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer at the Glimmerglass Festival under the direction of Francesca Zambello. McKinny's Dutchman was the sexiest portrayal of that role in operatic history and it worked masterfully. Regular readers know that we consider Zambello the "Queen Mother" of barihunks for her early and enthusiastic concept of casting baritones as not just villains and angry fathers, but as genuine sex symbols.

Ryan McKinny as the Dutchman
Streetcar Named Desire is being performed in a semi-staged concert production under the baton of Patrick Summers. The cast also includes the riveting tenor Anthony Dean Griffey as Blanche’s guileless suitor Mitch and the wonderful soprano Stacey Tappan as Stella. Performances are on May 18, 21 and 24 and tickets are available online.

It's nice to see Ryan McKinny return to the LA Opera, as it's the company that provided him many opportunities early in his career. He debuted there in 2008 as Montano in Verdis's Otello, and subsequently appeared as the Servant in Ullmann's The Broken Jug, Dr. Grenvil in Verdi's La Traviata, Don Basilio in Rossini's Barber of Seville and Leone in Handel's Tamerlano.

He can currently be seen in two productions at the Houston Grand Opera. He's currenlty singing Donner in Wagner's Das Rheingold, also conducted by Patrick Summers, which runs from April 11-26 and then he switches to Escamillo in Bizet's  Carmen from April-May 10. McKinny is a former participant with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. (We should also mention that you don't want to miss Stefan Margita as Loge in Rheingold. His is the definitive performance!).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Releases from Canadian barihunks Phillipe Sly and Jonathan Estabrooks

Two of our favorite Canadian barihunks have released CDs this week. They are strikingly different in repertory, but equally enjoyable.

The ridiculously talented Philippe Sly has released "In Love’s Minstrels" with accompanist Michael McMahon. They perform English music from the late 19th and early 20th century by Healey Willan, John Ireland, Roger Quilter, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.

You can listen to the CD at the CBC website, but if you're logging in from outside Canada you'll have to create a free login (it took us 20 seconds and was worth it!).

Jonathan Estabrooks has released his album, which he funded throught Kickstarter. "These Miles" mixes classical, pop and classic musical theater, 'These Miles.' He's joined by the Macedonia Radio Orchestra in everything from Neil Diamond's Play Me to the Canadian folk song Away from the Roll of the Sea. You can preview it at CD Baby

Monday, April 7, 2014

Aussie Morgan Pearse headed to Houston's Opera Studio

Morgan Pearse
We'll been following the career of the talented Aussie barihunk Morgan Pearse since 2011 when  a reader heard him perform in the Australia Singing Competition. His nascent career has been on a steady upswing since that day.

He completed his undergraduate training at he Sydney Conservatorium of Music and then headed to London where he completed a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Music as the inaugural Dame Joan Sutherland scholar. We also covered him when he won the gold medal in the Royal Over-Seas League music competition and the Wigmore Hall final of the Young Classical Artists Trust.

We've just learned that he's coming to the United States as one of the studio artists with the Houston Grand Opera. We can only imagine his artistic growth working with Patrick Summers and others in one of the best young artist training programs in the world. Previous young artists have included bel canto specialist Joyce Di Donato and fellow barihunk Ryan McKinney, who has become one of the world's preeminent Wagnerians.

Morgan Pearse sings the Catalog Aria from Don Giovanni:

Pearse is slated to sing Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Papageno in Mozart's Magic Flute, Yamadori  in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Anthony in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

Last year, Morgan performed the title role in Britten's Owen Wingrave for Sydney Chamber Opera, and as bass soloist in Handel's Messiah for Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. We had some good-natured fun with his "crack" performance in Handel's Imeneo with the London Handel Festival.

Houston Grand Opera’s Opera Studio was co-founded in 1977 by composer Carlisle Floyd. Houston Grand Opera was founded in 1955 and is regarded as one of the major companies in the world. It has hosted the world premieres of the operas John Adams' Nixon in China, Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk  and Rachel Portman's The Little Prince.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Christopher Herbert singing Bach; European tour with New York Polyphony

Christopher Herbert
Bach lovers, rejoice and sing! You'll have two chances to hear Christopher Herbert sing music by your favorite composer, as he is the soloist in two upcoming performances of the baroque master's music.

On Monday, April 7th he'll perform Bach's Cantata BWV 32 ("Liebster Jesu, Mein Verlangen") with the Trinity Baroque Orchestra and Choir at Trinity Wall Street in New York City. Five days later on Saturday, April 12th he'll be the bass soloist in Bach's Saint Matthew Passion with the Canticum Novum Singers at the Church of St. Jean Baptiste near Central Park.

After one New York performance on Tuesday, April 15, Christopher Herbert reunites with New York Polyphony for a European tour to the Netherlands and Germany where they will focus on Franco-Flemish Renaissance polyphony dominated by the theme of mortality.

New York Polyphony sings Times go by Turns:

New York Polyphony’s CD Times go by Turns was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance category. The album features masses by Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, a three-voice mass setting by medieval English composer John Plummer, and three new works written for New York Polyphony by composers Gabriel Jackson, Andrew Smith, and the late Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

Make sure to check out Christopher Herbert's new website (which includes the photo in the barihunk tee shirt shown above!).