|(L-R top row) Björn Bürger, Malte Roesner, Michael Mofidian (L-R, bottom row) Ivan Oreščanin, Mattia Olivieri and Davide Luciano|
|Previously unpublished photos of Italian barihunk Ernesto Petti|
|Jens Søndergaard and Saïd Pressley|
Honorable mention has to go to Jens Søndergaard and Saïd Pressley, both of whom proved immensely popular with our readers.
Bottom Row - Austin Siebert, George Arvidson, Clay Thompson, Nate Mattingly, Mason Jarboe, Michael Miller
Top Row - Keith Browning, Trevor Martin, Michael Hewitt, Damian Faul
|(L-R) Sarah Larsen, Michael Todd Simpson, Steven LaBrie, Joseph Lattanzi & Colin Ramsey|
BEST GROUP PHOTOS: We love it when we see our tee shirts being modeled by the hottest barihunks in opera, so imagine our glee when we were sent a photo featuring TEN stunning men all gathered together at the Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York. Michael Hewitt ended up being featured in our Viva, Italia! Barihunks Calendar, as well. It turns out that the family names on his mother's side are DiPane and Mazzola.
On the other side of the continent at the Seattle Opera, our tee shirts ended up on four of the cast members in their production of Menotti's The Consul. The opera starred four barihunks, including Michael Todd Simpson as John Sorel, Steven LaBrie as the Police Agent, Joseph Lattanzi as Assan and Colin Ramsey as Mr. Kofner. The four singers showed off their Barihunk tee shirts on the set with soprano Sarah Larsen, who played the secretary. Joseph Lattanzi also appeared in our 2012 calendar.
HOTTEST PHOTO: As one might imagine, we get sent a lot of photos and press materials from opera companies and publicists. Most of them are pretty useless and clearly were not sent with our mission in mind. So when an email arrived from the Los Angeles Opera touting their upcoming production of Andrè Previn's Streetcar Named Desire, we were pretty sure that it would be filled with glossy pictures of soprano Renee Fleming. Much to our delight, it included these AMAZING photos of Ryan McKinny, whose voice and body just get more amazing with each passing year. He has become the quintessential barihunk in our view.
|Agrippina cast (L-R) Hadleigh Adams, Peabody Southwell, Nathan Medley, Jamie-Rose Guarrine, Jennifer Rivera, Zachary Wilder and Douglas Williams|
|Stéphane Degout and Franco Pomponi|
|Paul Robeson as photographed by Nickolas Murray|
|(L-R) Doug Carpenter, Michael Scarcelle & (Jacques) L'Oiseleur Longchamps|
Doug Carpenter walked away with our top prize of $500 for submitting the picture that best exemplified this year's theme "Sexy and Italian." One of our judges was so conflicted about having to choose a winner that she offered up an additional $500 to be split between the runner-ups, Michael Scarcelle & (Jacques) L'Oiseleur Longchamps. Everyone was a winner.
|Pietro di Biano and Matija Meić|
|Edwin Crossley-Mercer poses for Karl Lagerfeld|
BEST PHOTO IN DRAG: Barihunk Daniel Okulitch, who has appeared in various states of dress and undress in his career, finally appeared in a dress when he donned this stunning getup as Jove in Francesco Cavalli's La Calisto at the Cincinnati Opera. Okulitch's drag wasn't some German regie concept that was imported to Cincinnati, but an actual part of the plot. Jove, the ruler of the gods, hatches a plan to wend his way into the heart and bedroom of Calisto by donning a Diana-like disguise. But when Jove’s wife Juno, sung by Alexandra Deshorties, catches wind of the scheme, her fury knows no bounds. As many singers know, Cincinnati has one of the best make-up artists on their staff, so Okulitch was in good hands.
BEST MAGAZINE FEATURE: Baritones became the new cover boys this year, as Aubrey Allicock appeared in OUT Magazine, Simon Keenlyside on the cover of Opera News, Ildar Abdrazakov in VANITY FAIR, Morgan Smith in Opera News, and Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek in Bleep magazine. But our favorite feature was the Opera News' Sound Bites article on John Brancy. The New Jersey native had an exciting year, with major debuts at Oper Frankfurt in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West and the Kennedy Center for a recital dedicated to the 100th anniversary of WWI. This enormously talented and innovative artist is clearly destined for stardom and it was nice to see Opera News take notice.
|A protester at The Death of Klinghoffer (left) and Aubrey Allicock|
Had it not been for The Death of Klinghoffer, we would have listed the BARITONE BLACKOUT at the OPERALIA competition in Los Angeles as our biggest scandal. Despite 11 of the 40 competitors being baritones in the competition, not a single baritone made it to the final round. Many felt that a top prize winner should have come from the talented field of low voices that included Igor Bakan, Aleksey Bogdanov, Alexandre Duhamel, Dan Kempson, Alexey Lavrov, Alex Lawrence, Shea Owens, Damien Pass, Pavel Shmulevich, Anatoli Sivko and Ivan Thirion.
|(L-R) Philippe Sly, Elliot Madore & Gordon Bintner|
|Charles Castronovo (left) and Erwin Schrott (right)|
Castronovo was singing Faust opposite Schrott's Méphistophélès in Gounod's opera in Baden-Baden, and the duo were joined by fellow barihunk Jacque Imbrailo, who was Valentin.
BEST PERSONAL STORY: Speaking of souls, it's rare for an artist to bare his or her soul in an interview, but that's just what Hadleigh Adams did in an interview with San Francisco's leading LGBT paper, the Bay Area Reporter. He minced no words in talking about what it was like to be effeminate, not to fit in with the other boys, having a friend commit suicide and facing challenges with family. We also had the privilege of hearing him turn this very personal story into an evening of song, which we think would be a hit on the recital circuit. Adams just wrapped up his second year at the prestigious San Francisco Opera Center Adler Fellows and is surely destined for a great career in opera. It's one thing to grow as an artist, but Hadleigh Adams has shown us how amazing it is to watch someone grow as a human being.
|Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke|
Kaminsky was inspired to write the opera after reading an article in the New York Times in 2008 about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from heterosexual to homosexual.
Finally, we have to close with our favorite email of the year, which came from a reader in Michigan back in May. "Dear Barihunks, I was pleasantly surprised when I came upon your website. It is surprisingly intelligent and well-written. I have learned about singers that were heretofore unknown to me and you have exposed me to much new music. I've also learned about opera competitions and smaller companies that I would not have read about elsewhere. For this I am eternally grateful, but frankly, I'd much prefer more pictures and less text."
Lastly, if you enjoyed Barihunks this year and if you like supporting young artists, please order your Charity Calendar today, so that we can keep up our tradition if assisting the hottest young talent in opera. Our calendar features 19 of the most amazing singers, who also happen to be easy on the eyes. Order NOW by clicking below. Thank you for your support.