Sunday, May 28, 2017

John Chest simultaneously singing two English language operas in Germany

John Chest as Billy Budd in Berlin
American barihunk John Chest, who just finished a successful run as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Philadelphia, is back in his home base of Germany where he's pulling off an amazing feat of operatic stamina: He'll be singing two English language operas in Germany simultaneously!

Chest opened on May 26th in the title character of Britten's Billy Budd at the Deutsche Oper Berlin before heading off to the Semperoper Dresden to sing the role of the wealthy stockbroker Nick Carraway in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby tonight, tomorrow and on June 1st. Hunkentenor Peter Lodahl is singing jay Gatsby and tickets are available online. He then heads back to Berlin for Billy Budd (where the Barihunks team will be in attendance!). To top it off, he also became a father for the first time this year along with his wife soprano Layla Claire.

Chest originally started working on Billy Budd back in 2008 as an apprentice artist and chorus member at the Santa Fe Opera. He made his role debut in 2014 in Berlin in a highly-acclaimed performance, which was the first performance of the piece at the Deutsche Oper. The current production features Gidon Saks as John Claggert, Richard Croft as Edward Vere, Simon Pauly as Donald and fellow barihunk Seth Carico as Mr. Redburn. Tickets are available online.

John Chest at Billy Budd and Gidon Saks as the evil John Claggert
After he wraps us Billy Budd, the jet-setting baritone heads off to the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Chest, where he'll represent the U.S. along with baritone Anthony Clark Evans. He'll be singing more American music, as he plans on performing Aaron Copland’s “Old America Songs.”

Other barihunks in the competition include bass Dominic Barberi representing England, bass Roberto Lorenzi representing Italy and calendar model Iurii Samoilov reprenting the Ukraine.

The Song Prize rounds will be broadcast in the BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert (June13 -16) with the song prize final live on Radio 3 In Concert (Friday, June 16) and on BBC Four presented by Petroc Trelawny and American soprano Angel Blue (Saturday, June 17).The four concerts at St David’s Hall, Cardiff will be broadcast on BBC Four (June13 - 16). The Grand Final will be broadcast live on both BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 on Sunday, June 18. 

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