Friday, January 2, 2015

Seattle Opera keeps barihunk tradition alive in new era

German bass-barihunk Andreas Bauer
The Speight Jenkins era at the Seattle Opera is officially over, as incoming General Director Aidan Lang has announced his first full season, which will be presented in 2015-16. The good news is that the company's long-standing commitment to barihunks is in tact with some of the world's sexiest baritones and basses in all of their casts!

The six season opera will include a new production, a world premiere, and two of the repertory's greatest operas that have never been seen before in Seattle, Verdi's Nabucco and Donizetti's Maria Stuarda. Lang is also maintaining Seattle Opera's great Wagnerian tradition by presenting The Flying Dutchman with barihunk Greer Grimsley. He'll be alternating the role with Alfred Walker.

Nabucco will feature the Seattle debuts of barihunks Andreas Bauer and Christian Van Horn alternating the role of the High Priest Zaccaria, in a cast that also includes Gordon Hawkins in the title role and Mary Elizabeth Williams in the fiendishly difficult role of his daughter Abigaille.

Morgan Smith (left) and John Moore (right)
The company is also presenting the world premiere of Jack Perla's An American Dream, which resulted from the company's story telling initiative, the Belonging(s) Project. The World War II based libretto tells the story of strangers bound together after a Japanese American family is forcibly removed from where they live on an island in Puget Sound, and the new residents slowly piece together the history of their home. Barihunk Morgan Smith will sing the role of Jim, an American soldier married to Eva, a German Jew who has fled the Nazis and moved to the Pacific Northwest.

Morgan Smith will also alternate the role of Count Almaviva in a new production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro with fellow barihunk John Moore. The cast also includes barihunk Aubrey Allicock as Figaro, a role he will rotate with Shenyang.

Sarah Larsen with  Michael Todd Simpson, Steven LaBrie, Joseph Lattanzi, and Colin Ramsey in the Seattle Opera's The Consul modeling Barihunk tee shirts (Photo by Elise Bakketun)
Other barihunks appearing with the company are Michael Todd Simpson as Cecil in Maria Stuarda and Keith Phares and  Brett Polegato rotating the role of Zurga in Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. The production will also include the Seattle Opera debut of Jonathan Lemalu as Nourabad. The female leads in the Donizetti will be Christine Rice and Joyce El-Khoury as the doomed queen, while Mary Elizabeth Williams and Keri Alkema sing Queen Elizabeth I, her hated rival.

Tickets and additional cast information are available online

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