Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dead Man Walking opens in Des Moines; More productions ahead

David Adam Moore in Dead Man Walking
David Adam Moore in Dead Man Walking
Jake Heggie's masterpiece, Dead Man Walking, has quickly entered the standard repertory since its San Francisco premiere in 2000. Amazingly, this was Heggie's first opera and it has become a star vehicle for baritones and especially barihunks. The role not only requires a ripped physique, but one of the arias is sung while doing pushups. John Packard was the original Joseph De Rocher, the convicted killer who is the center of the opera.

The Australian premiere was in 2002 at the State Opera of South Australia with Teddy Tahu Rhodes, which was nominated for six Helpmann Awards, winning for "Best Set Design" and "Best Male in an Operatic Performance." The Canadian premiere occurred on January 2006 at the Calgary Opera with Daniel Okulitch. The European premiere was given in May 2006 at the Semperoper in Dresden, Germany with Mel Ulrich.

John Arnold as Joseph De Rocher
Our site has been filled with a veritable Who's Who of barihunks singing Joseph De Rocher, including veritable Who's Who of barihunks including Michael Mayes, Philip Cutlip, Etienne Dupuis, Jordan Shanahan, Thomas Gunther, John Arnold, Marcus DeLoach.

David Adam Moore in Dead Man Walking
David Adam Moore in Dead Man Walking
Next up is David Adam Moore who opened up in the show tonight at the Des Moines Metro Opera. The cast also includes one of our most inspirational stories, Kasey Yeargain, as one of the prison guards. You may remember Yeargain for his Bari-Chunk to Bari-Hunk transformation. Speaking of BariChunks, Kyle Albertson the creator of our brilliant and entertaining sister site is also in the cast as the prison warden George Benton.

There are four remaining performances on July 6, 8, 11 and 19. Tickets are available online.

Central City Opera ad for Dead Man Walking

Michael Mayes as Joseph De Rocher
One of the definitive performers in the role of Joseph De Rocher is Michael Mayes, whose intense and riveting performance has to be experienced live. It is a performance that few will ever forget. He opens in the role on July 5 at the Central City Opera outside of Denver, Colorado. There will be eight performances through July 25. Tickets are available online.

If you can't catch these performances head East to see John Arnold. He sang the role in Boston to great acclaim and will reprise the role with the Dayton Opera in Ohio on February 27 and March 1 next year. Tickets are available online.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Richard Rittelmanm mixes sexy and scary as Punch

Richard Rittelmann (left photo © Armin Bardel) as Punch and out of makeup (right)
Barihunk Richard Rittelmann just took on the role of Punch opposite the Judy of Manuela Leonhartsberger in Harrison Birdwhistle's "Punch & Judy" at the Neue Oper Wien. The opera was a huge hit with the public and the critics. The performances marked the 80th birthday of the composer.

The Neue Oper Wien production will be performed again on October 14th at the Armel Opera Festival in Hungary and broadcast on "ARTE live-web." We will provide additional information closer to the performance date.

Richard Rittelmann (photo © Armin Bardel)
Harrison Birtwistle and his librettist Stephen Pruslin created a stylized tragedy full of grotesque moments, the music of which is just as capable of portraying a monstrous being as it is of portraying love. Their work opens up a positively other-worldly realm, full of fairground illusions and insane twists.

To this day, the opera has retained its polarizing effect. Just a few minutes into the action, Punch brutally murders his own child and Judy—and as the plot progresses, he ends up killing almost everyone else he encounters. Only Pretty Polly, whom he practically worships, is allowed by him to live. But eventually, Punch is overcome by horrible nightmares and the music begins to change in character.

Giorgio Caoduro making role debut as Rigoletto

Giorgio Caoduro and Emma Matthews
It's been a rough couple of weeks for Opera Australia with the entire music world focused on the Tamar Iveri scandal. Hopefully, that episode is in the dustbin of history. So we figured it's time for some good news out of the company and that would be the role debut of Rigoletto with barihunk Giorgio Caoduro at the Joan Sutherland Theatre.

It's not his first time performing the opera, as he appeared in the movie version of the opera, but as Marullo opposite Placido Domingo's Rigoletto. Performances kick off tonight and Caoduro will perform the role nine times between today and July 19th, when he turns the role over to fellow barihunk José Carbó, who performs the role from July 23-August 24 (Warwick Fyfe performs one night, as well).

The cast also includes two other barihunks, Sam Dundas as Ceprano and Luke Gabbedy as Marullo. Gilda will be taken on by house favorite Emma Matthews, who recently updated her Facebook page to show artist support for the LGBT community after the Tamar Iveri episode. A classy act if there ever was one.

Tickets for all performances are available online.

Sam Dundas
After his run as Rigoletto, Caoduro returns to his native Italy to portray Sulpice in Donizetti's La fille du régiment at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo in the famed Franco Zeffirelli production. Performances run from September 17-24.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Barihunks in free broadcast of William Tell

Goran Jurić (left) and Günther Groissböck (right)
The Bavarian State Opera continues its popular free live streaming of opera this Saturday, June 28th at 6 PM CET/Noon EST/9 AM PST with their new production of Rossini's Guillaume Tell (William Tell). The broadcast will be available at STAATSOPER.TV.

The broadcast features two barihunks,  Günther Groissböck as the villain Gesler and Goran Jurić as Walter Furst. Groissböck has been extremely popular on our site, especially the pictures of him in the "Brokeback Onegin," as it's been dubbed by opera bloggers. He can next be seen at the Salzburg Festival as Baron Ochs in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier under the baton of Zubin Mehta.

31-year-old Croatian bass-barihunk Goran Jurić has been a member of the Bavarian State Opera ensemble since the 2011-12 season. At the Bavarian State Opera he has performed Colline in Puccini's La bohème, Don Fernando in Beethoven's Fidelio, Biterolf in Wagner's Tannhäuser, Il Re in Verdi's Aida, Capellio in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Banco in Verdi's Macbeth, Il Frate in Verdi's Don Carlos and Timur in Puccini's Turandot. He also performs regularly with the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Soloman Howard to headline gala

Soloman Howard
Barihunk Soloman Howard, who we recently featured in a post about the Marian Anderson tribute, will be the featured artist at the "Phantom of the Opera" Gala of the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts. The July 26th event will honor music educator and choral director Joyce Garrett and actor Norm Lewis.

Norm Lewis recently became the first African American to portray 'The Phantom' in Andrew Lloyd Webber's classic production "Phantom of the Opera. Though the actor of the hit TV show Scandal is unable to attend in person, he is greeing the gala guests via video. Lewis will be honored with an award for his landmark accomplishment in absentia.

Joyce Garrett has been long associated with the famed Eastern High School Choir. She was honored by The Washington Chorus at the Embassy of France for her contributions to choral music and culture in Washington D.C. She has been the music director of many televised choral performances both nationally and overseas.

Soloman Howard, who has quickly captured the attention of the opera world, will be featured as the guest artist of the evening. A regular and favorite at the Washington National Opera, he has upcoming appearances in Verdi's La traviata at the Los Angeles Opera and in the composer's Aida at the Metropolitan Opera. 

The black-tie event begins at 6:30 PM at the Harmony Hall Regional Center John Addison Concert Hall in Fort Washington, MD. Tickets are available by calling.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

"This American Life" produces opera double-bill

Carin & Rod Gilfry (left) and Adrian Rosas (far right)
NPR's popular show "This American Life," featuring Ira Glass, has put together one of their most ambitious projects ever, a production of two operas. The NPR team assembled barihunk Rod Gilfry, his daughter soprano Carin Gilfry, barihunk Adrian Rosas, composer Philip Glass and a collection of talented young singers and writers and created that fascinating double-bill.

The "Radio Drama Episode" begins with a piece by Philip Glass and Matt Aucoin that tells the true story of Carin Gilfry getting trapped in a hotel closet and her eventual escape. The second piece by Josh Bearman tells the story of letting go of his mother in the last days of her life.

The show is available for download on This American Life for $5.00.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bevy of Barihunks at Wolf Trap's summer festival

Norman Garrett (left), Michael Adams (center) and Harry Greenleaf (right)
Now in it's 43rd year, the Wolf Trap Filene Young Artist program has featured some of the greatest singers in opera while in the nascent part of their careers. This year, they are bringing back one of their most esteemed alums, Eric Owens, as their first Wolf Trap Opera Artist in Residence. Owens will have a lot of low voice company, as numerous singers who have been featured on Barihunks are performing during their summer festival. Owens will perform in Aria Jukebox with some young aritsts on July 13th. Accompanied by Kim Pensinger Witman, audience members will have an opportunity to select the songs and arias.

Jeongcheol Cha
The first opera will be Handel's Giulio Cesare featuring Jeongcheol Cha as Achilla. He is new to this site (except for a brief mention). The Korean native has been featured in two important opera premieres, in the role of Wu Tianshi in the American premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen! in November 2011 and as Prince Gabriel III in the world premiere of David T. Little’s Vonkensport. He is a graduate of Seoul National University, Bard College Conservatory, and the Juilliard School. In the 2013-2014 season, Jeongcheol was heard at the Metropolitan Opera as Yamadori in Madama Butterfly and as second Watchman in Die Frau ohne Schatten.

Performances of Giulio Cesare are on June 27, June 29 and July 1st.  Other cast members include John Holiday as Cesare, Alex Rosen as Curio, Renée Rapier as Cornelia, Ying Fang as Cleopatra and Carolyn Sproule as Sesto.

On June 28th, Ryan Speedo Green will perform Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Choral Arts Society of Washington under the baton of Bramwell Tovey. Other soloists include soprano Tracy Cox, mezzo Virginie Verrez and tenor Robert Watson. Green was recently featured on our site when his Live in HD performance was canceled by the Met.

Tobias Greenhalgh
On July 19th and 20th, the amazing Steven Blier will join barihunk and part-time Super Hero Tobias Greenhalgh and four other young artist in a "Houseful of Songs," where the audience will be taken through a house and have selected pieces of music performed in each room.

On July 27, accompanist Jeremy Frank will join a sextet of Studio Artists, including baritone Alex Rosen and baritone Harry Greenleaf. The will perform pieces by Auric, Durey, Honegger, Milhaud, Poulenc, and Tailleferre.

Baritone Harry Greenleaf, a native of Wixom, Michigan, is a graduate of Michigan State University where he appeared in several productions, including Mozart's La finta giardiniera (Nardo), Gilbert & Sullivan's the Pirates of Penzance (The Pirate King), Sondheim's A Little Night Music (Carl-Magnus), and Mozart's the Magic Flute (Papageno). In 2013, Greenleaf appeared as Baron Douphol in Wolf Trap Opera's production of Verdi's La traviata at the Filene Center with the National Symphony Orchestra. Harry will begin his Master's degree in voice at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music this fall. Outside of singing, Harry enjoys reading, running outside, and playing racquetball.

From August 8-16, Wolf Trap will feature a French double-bill of Milhaud's Le pauvre matelot and Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias. Regular readers of this site know that we often feature Les mamelles de Tirésias and its barihunk role of Le Mari, which will be performed by Tobias Greenhalgh in this production. The cast also includes Harry Greenleaf as Monsieur Barbu and Michael Adams, who has been featured on this site, as Presto. The title role will be performed by soprano Mireille Asselin. Norman Garrett and Ryan Speedo Green, who have been regulars on our site, are both featured in Le pauvre matelot.

Tickets for all performances are available online or by calling 1.877.WOLFTRAP.

Reader Submission: Andrew Wannigman


Our latest Reader Submission is Andrew Wannigman, who is performing Maximilian in Skylark Opera's production of Bernstein's Candide. There are two performances left on June 20th and 22nd and tickets are available at or by calling 612-343-3390

Andrew Wannigman has performed with the Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Opera New Hampshire, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre and Opera North since his 2007 graduation from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Last spring, he premiered the role of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and covered the title role in Justine F. Chen and David Simpatico’s The Turing Project with American Lyric Theater in New York City.

Andrew Wannigman
While completing his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory, he also performed with Longwood Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative, Juventas New Music Ensemble and the Plainsong in Boston.  He was also a section leader and soloist with the First Church in Chestnut Hill and St. John the Evangelist.

For two years, he was a resident artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera performing in their Opera Iowa outreach troupe and also as an apprentice artist for their summer festival.  He performed Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville, Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute, and covered Dr. Malatesta in their mainstage production of Donizetti's Don Pasquale

Andrew Wannigman sings Debussy's Le promenoir des deux amants:

Wannigman is also been active as a soloist in both concerts and recitals. At Luther College, he was a soloist for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs and Beethoven’s Mass in C. In Boston, he performed the premiere of Lori Dobbins’ Rage of Achilles, a recital of songs by Charles Ives and Mass for Baritone & Piano by Randall Despommier at Jordan Hall.

Upcoming roles for Wannigman include Sciarrone in Puccini's Tosca with Mill City Summer Opera and a role debut as Escamillo next season.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Henning von Schulman takes 2nd Place at Stenhammar Competition

Henning von Schulman
Baritones continued their streak of taking top prizes at international vocal competition, as Henning von Schulman, Alexander Sukhanov and Kyubong Lee took three of the seven prizes at the Wilhelm Stenhammar International Music Competition.

Swedish bass Henning von Schulman was the most consistent singer of the night and took 2nd place, finishing behind American mezzo Chrystal Williams, who brought the house down with her rendition of "Una voce poco fa" from Rossini's Barber of Seville. The Swedish bass performed Mozart's Catalog Aria from Don Giovanni and Verdi's "Ella giammai m'amo" from Don Carlos.

Korean baritone Kyubong Lee won the coveted Stenhammar Prize for the best performance of one of the Swedish composer's songs. Russian baritone Alexander Sukhonov took 4th Prize and performed "O Carlo, ascolta" from Verdi's Don Carlos and "Kogda bi zhihn...Vymnia pichaly..." from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

Henning von Schulman, trained at OperaAkademiet in Copenhagen where he graduated in the spring of 2013. He started his singing career in the well acclaimed Swedish male chorus Orphei Drängar, and continued on to study at the Vadstena Folkhögskola and the Malmö Academy of Music.

At the Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen he has performed the prison guard in Puccini's Tosca and the messenger in Richard Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten. He also performed Masetto and the Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Danish Opera Academy.

This Fall, von Henning will sing Walton in Bellini's I Puritani at the Tivoli Festival, as well as Henrik in Carl Nielsen's Maskerade and Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with the Royal Danish Opera.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Met cancels Live in HD transmission of Death of Klinghoffer

Paulo Szot and Ryan Speedo Green
After an outpouring of concern that its plans to transmit John Adams’s opera The Death of Klinghoffer might be used to fan global anti-Semitism, the Metropolitan Opera announced the decision today to cancel its Live in HD transmission, scheduled for November 15, 2014. The opera, which premiered in 1991, is about the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship and the murder of one of its Jewish passengers, Leon Klinghoffer, at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.

The opera stars three singers who have been featured on the site before, Paulo Szot as The Captain, Aubrey Allicock as Mamoud and Ryan Speedo Green as Rambo.

Aubrey Allicock (left) and Christopher Magiera in Klinghoffer at OTSL
The Met will go forward with its stage presentation of The Death of Klinghoffer in its scheduled run of eight performances from October 20 to November 15. In deference to the daughters of Leon and Marilyn Klinghoffer, the Met has agreed to include a message from them both in the Met’s Playbill and on its website.

In recent years, The Death of Klinghoffer has been presented without incident at The Juilliard School (2009), the Opera Theatre of St. Louis (2011), and as recently as this March in Long Beach, California. The Met’s new production was first seen in London at the English National Opera in 2012, and received widespread critical acclaim.

Ola Eliasson to reprise sexy Don Giovanni

Ola Eliasson as Don Giovanni

Ola Eliasson will reprise his sexy and critically-acclaimed performance in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Kungliga Operan (Royal Opera House) in Stockhölm, Sweden. Performances of Don Giovanni will run from October 17 through November 15. Tickets are available online

Eliasson has established himself as a major interpreter of Mozart, having sung Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Conte Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro and Papageno in Der Zauberflöte. However, he's recently become recognized for his roles in Wagner, including Alberich in Das Rheingold at Dalhalla and Amfortas in Parsifal in Stockhölm.

Before his run as Don Giovanni he'll be alternating the role of the Count Almaviva with Tommi Hakala in Le nozze di Figaro at the Helsinki Opera Opera beginning on September 2nd. Tickets are available online.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Reader Submission: Yu Di

Yu Di
Our latest reader submission comes from Paris, where Chinese barihunk Yu Di is competing in the Paris Opera Awards.

Born in 1981 in Zi Gong, China, he received his diploma from the Academy of Music in Shanghai. He attended master classes with Carlo Bergonzi, Eva Marton and Robert White and went on to became a singing teacher at the University of Shanghai and the Shanghai Theatre Academy.

He made his professional debut in 2005 at the 22nd International Spring Festival in Shanghai in a concert devoted to contemporary music. He was invited back to the festival to years later. I

In 2010 he sang at the Dublin City Hall in Ireland in a concert organised by the Spring Festival of Shanghai.

Yu DI won the Second Special Prize in the International Singing Competition of Turandot at the Teatro Filarmonico de Vérone in Italy in 2009. The following year, he was awarded the CNIPAL Prize at the International Singing Competition of Marmande, which led to his professional performing career.

In October 2013, he participated in the Gala concert of the 30th Anniversary of CNIPAL at the Marseille Opera with the Marseille Philharmonic Orchestra singing Escamillo's aria “Votre toast...” from Bizet’s Carmen.

Schrott seeks tenor soul via Twitter

Erwin Schrott tweets to Charles Castronovo
There are few opera singers who we enjoy more on social media than Erwin Schrott. His posts on Facebook, Twitter and his blog are a great way to follow his career and enjoy a few laughs along the way. This tweet to Charles Castronovo, who was Faust to Schrott's Méphistophélès in Gounod's opera in Baden-Baden, is classic Erwin. The duo were joined by fellow barihunk Jacque Imbrailo, who was Valentin.

Upcoming appearances for Schrott include a July 12 concert with soprano Nino Machaidze in Linz and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro in Munich. The all-star cast includes Gerald Finley as Figaro, Christine Schäfer as Cherubino and Véronique Gens as the Countess. Performances run from July 17-24 and tickets are available online. On December 4th, he'll take his Count to the Metropolitan Opera alongside fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien as Figaro.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Soloman Howard in televised Marian Anderson tribute

Marian Anderson & Soloman Howard
Bass-barihunk Soloman Howard will join soprano Alyson Cambridge in a televised tribute to the trail-breaking singer Marian Anderson tonight on Centric (a BET network).  The show,  Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson Story,  pays homage to the singer and civil rights icon through performances, stories and archival footage. 

Marian Anderson was the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. She made history on Easter Sunday in 1939 when she sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The half  hour concert, which was made possible due to the intervention of Eleanor Roosevelt, made headlines across the country and was attended by more than 75,000 people. She had been denied the right to perform at two indoor venues because of her African-American heritage. It was the first time the Lincoln Memorial steps had been used as a place of peaceful protest.

The BET documentary tells the story of Marian Anderson’s indomitable spirit and explores her role in American History.

Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson Story, is based on Washington Performing Arts tribute concert held at the DAR Constitution Hall on April 12, 2014. Also featured are soprano Jessye Norman, pop icon Dionne Warwick, the vocal group 3WB (brothers Marvin, Carvin, and BeBe Winans), actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, journalist Wolf Blitzer, American Idol winner Candice Glover and vocalist Annisse Murillo accompanied by a 250-voice choir.

Check your local listings for times.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Martin Achrainer awarded first "Richard Tauber Medal"

Martin Achrainer receiving the first Richard Tauber Award
The Friends of the Linz State Theatre has awarded the first "Richard Tauber Medal" to barihunk Martin Achrainer. Achrainer has been a regular member of the theater since the 2006/2007 season and has been a favorite of both audiences and management for his beautiful singing and incredible acting skills.

Regular readers of this site know that we are unabashed and enthusiastic fans of the Tyrolian singer who premiered Philip Glass's Kepler at the theatre and then reprised it in New York. He has also performed Glass' Orphée and Spuren der Verirrten.

In addition to Glass, he has been a passionate exponent of new music, including Henze, Ligeti, Kelterborn and Schwertsik. In addition to contemporary music, he has excelled in musical theater, baroque music, church music, as well as the Weill, Bernstein, Puccini, Wagner, Donizetti and especially Mozart.

Achrainer, who studied at the Max Reinhardt Seminar was heavily influenced by two of the greatest singers of the recent past, Brigitte Fassbaender and Robert Holl.

Martin Achrainer
He can currently be seen in Linz performing the roles of Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen and Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In July, he'll don Papageno's feathers again at Opern Klosterneuburg.

The award in named after the popular Linz-born tenor Richard Tauber (1891-1948), who many regard as one of the greatest exponents of operetta and opera in the 20th century. Tauber often wore a monocle and black top hat and came to epitomize Viennese charm.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Barihunks in La Fenice's "Rake's Progress"

Michael Leibengut
The upcoming performances of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at Teatro La Fenice will feature barihunks Alex Esposito as Nick Shadow and Michael Leibundgut as Father Truelove.

The versatile Swiss singer Michael Leibundgut last appeared at the venerable opera house in a very different 20th century piece, when he performed in Luigi Nono's Intolleranza in 2011. Leibundgut has established himself as an artist who is willing to push boundaries, singing everything from early music to techno mixes. Earlier this year, he made his US debut in  the world premiere of Enjott Schneider’s Robert Schumann's Traumreise at Symphony Space in New York.

Alex Esposito
Esposito has established himself as a favorite of the Venetian opera crowd, performing in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, a New Year's Day concert in 2012 that was released on DVD, Wolf-Ferraris' La Vedova Scaltra, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Mozart's La finta semplice.

Performances of The Rake's Progress are on June 27 and 29, July 1, 3 and 5 and 16. Visit the Teatro La Fenice website for tickets and additional information.

"Hey, S--T--E--L--L--A ! ! !...A Streetcar runs through Kentucky"

Wes Mason (photo: Michael Cinquino)
Kentucky is playing a major role in the two upcoming performances of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire. We realized the popularity of the piece when we posted pictures of the LA Opera's production featuring Ryan McKinny as Stanley Kowalski and Renee Fleming as Blanche DuBois. Of course, the shirtless pictures of Ryan McKinny probably helped drive the spike in views that we saw to the site.

Wes Mason (Photos: DonSoo Choi and Doug Wonder)
The first Blue Grass State connection is obvious, as the Kentucky Opera has announced two performances of the popular American opera on February 13 and 15 of next year. Stanley will be played by one of the most compelling young artists to hit the scene in recent years, Wes Mason. Mason, who is familiar to readers of this site (yes, that's him in the sidebar modeling for our official photographer), can command a stage like few others in the business. People are still talking about his tour de force performance as Reinaldo Arenas in the 2010 world premiere of Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls with the Fort Worth Opera.

This will be his debut in the role and we suspect that he'll give past Stanley's a run for their money in the beefcake department. In addition to before night falls, we've seen the pulchritudinous singer show some skin in Handels' Giulio Cesare at the Roanoke Opera and Bizet's La Tragédie de Carmen at the Syracuse Opera.

We'll have more news about the Kentucky Opera's upcoming season, which also includes Beethoven's Fidelio, Daron Hagen's Postcard from Morocco and Puccini's La fanciulla del West. Visit their website for additional information.

Thomas Gunther in Dead Man Walking
The other connection to Kentucky is Thomas Gunther, who studied at the University of Kentucky and lives in Lexington. He's no stranger to barihunk roles, having performed Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Le mari in Poulenc's Le Mamelles de Tirésias and Joseph DeRocher in Heggie's Dead Man Walking.

Gunther is part of the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, where the original work was premiered on September 19, 1998 with Renée Fleming and barihunk Rod Gilfry as Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. Remarkably, this is the first revival of the opera in San Francisco since its premiere.

The Merola production will use a version for reduced orchestra prepared by Peter Grunberg and conducted by Mark Morash. The staging will be by director José Maria Condemi. The opera will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 12.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Barihunks in critically-acclaimed La fanciulla del West

Peter Brathwaite (far left) and Nick Garrett (right) with Susannah Glanville
Back in March we posted about the production of Puccini's La fanciulla del West at Opera Holland Park featuring two barihunks who have been featured on this site, Peter Brathwaite as Sid and Nick Garrett as Sonora. The opera opened on June 3rd to great acclaim and runs through June 21. The company has updated the production from the California Gold Rush to the atomic testing grounds of 1950s Nevada.

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.

On November 27th, Brathwaite will join accompanist Nigel Foster at the London Song Festival performing "Entartete Musik/Degenerate Music,"  a one-man show about music decried as "degenerate" by the Nazis. The performance will be at the Rosslyn Hill Chapel.

Peter Brathwaite and the Fanciulla ensemble
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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hey, New Yorkers: Win two tickets to Met Donizetti screenings at BAM

We're giving away 10 sets of tickets to our New York City-area readers. The winner will send us either A) A singer that we haven't featured on the site that is worthy of Barihunk status, or B) A top for a story or feature on the site.

The winners will receive 2 tickets to see "Met Duet: Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda" on Sunday, June 22. It is a double encore Met: Live in HD screening that features Anna Netrebko (in Anna Bolena) and Joyce DiDonato (in Maria Stuarda) with in-person introductions to each opera by Deborah Voigt and a CD signing with Voigt.

Send your suggestions to

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Silent Night to make European debut at Wexford; Canadian debut in Montreal; Continues in U.S. in Cincinnati

Ian Beadle (right)
Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night is getting its long-awaited European debut at the Wexford Opera Festival from October 24-November 2. The cast is a mix of Europeans and Americans, with two singers who have been featured on this site, Matthew Worth as Lieutenant Audebart and Quirijn de Lang as the lovable Poncel. There are also a few singers in the cast new to this site. 

Ian Beadle, a graduate from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, performs William Dale on the Scottish side of the war. He recently finished a year in the English National Opera’s Opera Works program and performed as part of The Big Barber Bash at the London Coliseum.

His operatic roles have includes Belcore in Donizetti's Elisir d’amore at the Wexford Festival Opera, the Imperial Commissioner in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at Opera Holland Park, Crébillon in Puccini's La Rondine at Go Opera, Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Sinfonia D’amici, Guccio in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at Opera Holland Park and Morales in Bizet's Carmen with Co-Opera Co.

Jamie Rock
Irish baritone Jamie Rock sings the role of Gueusselin on the French side of the war. He has performed the roles of Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Sid in Britten's Albert Herring, Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Schaunard in Puccini's La Boheme, Dancaire in Bizet's Carmen, Tarquinius in Britten's Rape of Lucretia and General Belliard in the world premiere of the original version of Prokofiev's epic masterpiece War and Peace. He has performed with the Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Theatre Company, Opera Ireland, Opera North, Grange Park Opera, Opera de Bauge and British Youth Opera.

He is also a member of the vocal ensemble Quartet. The group, under the patronage of Malcolm Martineau, is made up of graduates from the Alexander Gibson Opera School who draw on years of conservatoire training to explore a range of music and look for new ways of presenting the vocal repertoire.

Jamie began his studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama . He is an alumnus of the OTC Young Artist Programme (Dublin), Wexford Festival Opera Young Artist Programme, Leeds Lieder+ Young Artists, Oxford Lieder Young Artists and Josephine Baker Trust. 

Tickets are available online.

Daniel Okulitch (left) and Joseph Lattanzi (right)
Silent Night, which has been performed to great acclaim in Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Fort Worth, now heads to the Cincinnati Opera and north of the border for its Canadian debut.

The Cincinnati cast includes many singers familiar to the piece, including the powerful voice of Craig Irvin as Lt. Horstmayer, Gabriel Preisser as Lt. Gordon and Andrew Wilkowske as Ponchel. New to the cast are Joseph Lattanzi as Gueusselin and Phillip Addis as Lt. Audebert. There are only two performances of the opera on July 10 and July 12. Tickets are available online.

Addis also will be performing Lt. Audebert in the Canadian premiere from May 16-23 at the Opéra de Montréal. The cast includes a barihunk favorite in the Lieutenant Horstmayer of Canadian Daniel Okulitch. Tickets go on sale in August 2014, so mark your calendars.
Gueusselin and Phil

Monday, June 9, 2014

Douglas Williams in Baroque-back opera

Sasha Waltz's Dido & Aeneas (left) & Douglas Williams
Choreographer Sasha Waltz is bringing her provocative and entertaining work back to opera when she takes on Monteverdi's Orfeo with the Dutch National Opera. Waltz had great success with Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in 2005 and 2011 with her brilliant combination of dancers and opera singers.

Orfeo promises to have a lot of singing and dancing and the cast is lead by one of the most popular barihunks on our site, Douglas Williams. Williams has made a specialty of baroque music, singing   Orcone in Alessandro Scarlatti’s Tigrane, Purcell's Apollo e Dafne, Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Polyphemus in Handel’s Acis and Galatea and  Purcell’s King Arthur.

We can't imagine a singer better suited to a Sasha Waltz production. Performances are on September 3, 5 and 6 and tickets are available online.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Trio of Barihunks in new Glyndebourne Don Giovanni

Elliot Mador, Brandon Cedel and Edwin Crossley-Mercer
If you followed any of the press around Tara Eraught's treatment by British reviewers concerning her appearance as the Octavian in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne, you can rest assured that no such criticism will be hurled at director Jonathan Kent’s updated production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. The company has assembled an ensemble of great singers who also look like they were cast for a Baz Luhrmann blockbuster Hollywood film.

Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Elliot Madore (photo: Robert Workman)
In the title role is the rising Canadian star barihunk Elliot Madore, who is joined by Edwin Crossley-Mercer as Leporello and Brandon Cedel as Masetto. Madore returns to Glyndebourne after his successful 2012 Festival debut in Ravel's L’heure espagnole. Madore joins a distinguished roster of Don's that dates back to the legendary performances of John Brownlee in the 1930s and includes Giuseppe Valdengo, Kim Borg, Enest Blanc, Ruggero Raimondi, Benjamin Luxon, Brent Ellis, Sir Thomas Allen, Richard Stilwell, Olaf Bar and Gerald Finley.

The current cast also includes the sensational young British tenor Ben Johnson as Don Ottavio,  Canadian soprano Layla Claire reprising her 2012 appearance as Donna Anna, Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia as Donna Elvira, Lenka Máčiková as Zerlina and Andrés Orozco-Estrada making his Glyndebourne debut conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lenka Máčiková, Elliot Madore and Brandon Cedel
If you can't make the performance, you can watch their 2010 production featuring Gerald Finley as Don Giovanni, Luca Pisaroni as Leporello and Guido Loconsolo as Masetto on July 6th. Later today, you can watch the aforementioned production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier live from Glyndebourne, starring Kate Royal, Teodora Gheorghiu and Tara Erraught, and conducted by Robin Ticciati. The broadcast begins on Sunday June 8 at 4.30pm GST/11:30am EST/8:30am PST. Click HERE to watch.

Barihunks debut opera at Ruislip's historic Great Barn

James McOran-Campbell and Nicolas Dwyer
Barihunks James McOran-Campbell and Nicolas Dwyer will be part of the first cast to ever perform a professional opera at the 12th century Great Barn at Manor Farm in the U.K. A touring company from Opera Vera will perform Mozart's Don Giovanni on June 28 and 29

The production comes from the Actor's Church at Covent Garden where it was performed to great acclaim in November 2013. McOran-Campbell will take on the title role and Dwyer will play Masetto. 

Manor Farm has been described as a mini-Glyndebourne and patrons are encouraged to pack a picnic and enjoy refreshments on the grounds before the opera. The bar will open an hour before the 7 PM performance.
The remainder of the cast includes Susan Jiwey, Stefanie Kemball-Read, Peter Brooke, Rebecca Dale, Alexander Anderson-Hall and Will Kwiatkowski, Further information about the production or to purchase tickets, visit the Compass Theatre online.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bay Area Reporter: "Hadleigh Adams sings out with pride"

Hadleigh Adams: Headshot and in Castor & Pollux
New Zealand barihunk Hadleigh Adams is profiled by Jason Victor Serinus in this week in San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter:

Tall, rugged baritone Hadleigh Adams, 29, must be one of the straightest spined and proudest bearinged singers on the planet. Both his appearance and his lower-pitched, resonant voice make it hard to believe that during his youth in a small New Zealand farm town, two decades before he journeyed to San Francisco and was chosen for San Francisco Opera's prestigious Adler Fellow apprentice program, he was teased mercilessly for being gay.

"I acted very different," he explained during an hour-long chat in a cafe near the War Memorial Opera House. "I acted very effeminately. Not by choice; it's just how I was."

This didn't make life easy for him at an all-boys school.

"I wanted to fit in," he says. "I was two years ahead in my academic work because I was a smart kid. I played hockey and tennis, which were the gayer sports from a high-school boy point of view. I also did a lot of music, and I loved music. If you loved music, that meant you were gay.

"So it was horrible. I was teased a lot, and had very few friends. But I didn't really mind it or care, because while I loved my family and my country, which is the most beautiful place in the world, I always knew I was destined for more than a lot of my classmates. Not to say that more is better, or being on the stage or escaping is better, but I knew, from the age of 12 or 13, that I was destined for more in my life."


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Introducing two barihunks in Antheil double-bill

Theater Lübeck and Kong Seok Choi
Two young artists, who are both new to this site, will be featured in a double-bill of operas by George Antheil at the Theater Lübeck. Korean bass-barihunk Kong Seok Choi and German bass-barihunk Christian Henneberg will be featured in The Brothers and Venus in Africa, running from June 5-19. 

Kong Seok Choi studied singing at the Yonsei University, the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Musikhochschule in Cologne. He was a winner or finalist in numerous international vocal competitions, including the Richard Lewis Singing Competition, Blyth-Buesst Singing Competition London and the Giordano International Singing Competition.

He has performed as a Priest and as Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute in Seoul, King René in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and Bartolo and Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro in London. He is a member of the Opernelitestudios des Theater Lübeck. He performs the role of the ex-soldier Ran in The Brothers and the Innkeeper in Venus in Africa.

Christian Henneberg
28-year-old Christian Henneberg studied at the Saxon State School of Music and with his father Matthias Henneberg. He performed with the children's choir of the Dresden State Opera where he also appeared as the young Gottfried in Wagner's Lohengrin. He also studied oboe and piano.

As a member of the choir of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, he has toured the Bodensee Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the Handel Festival in Halle and to Brazil.

In 2010, he furthered his studies at the Folkwang University in Essen with the noted bass Jan-Hendrik Rootering.
As an ensemble member at the Dortmund Opera he has performed the Prince in Kurt Schwertsik's Eisberg nach Sizilien, Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville and three roles in the German premiere of Marc-Anthony Turnage's Anna -Nicole. He performs the male lead of Charles in Venus in Africa.

The Brothers is one of three one-act operas that Antheil composed in 1954. The opera is the retelling of the story of Cain and Abel, set not long after World War II in a middle-class American kitchen. Venus in Africa, is one of Antheil's later operas. It's a comedy about the visit of two young lovers (Charles and Yvonne) to Tunisia where Charles asks an ancient statue of Venus to teach him about love.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Franco Pomponi in open-air Don Giovanni

Franco Pomponi and the Herod Atticus Theatre
Franco Pomponi, who recently created a rush in sales for opera glasses, when he appeared nude in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at La Monnaie in Brussels, is now taking on the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni in Greece.  The performances will be in the open-air Herod Atticus Theatre as part of the Athens Fesitval. The opera is being staged by the Greek National Opera.

The production is directed by Yannis Houvardas, an acclaimed Greek director and until recently director of the Greek National Theatre. Pomponi will alternate the role with Greek baritone Dionyssis Sourbis. Pomponi performs on June 11 and 13. Tickets are available online.

Pomponi is back in the United States on Novemeber 14 and 16 with the Kentucky Opera as Jack Rance in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West.