Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bass-barihunk Laurence Meikle in Meyerbeer rarity Margherita d'Anjou

Laurence Meikle
Laurence Meikle, who recently made the transition to bass, opened last night at the Festival della Valle d'Itria as Carlo Belmonte in Meyerbeer's rarely performed opera Margherita d'Anjou. Meikle began exploring the transition to bass in 2016 when he performed Mozart's Così fan tutte with Fabio Luisi at the Festival della Valle d'Itria.

Margherita d'Anjou marked Meyerbeer's debut and first real success at the Teatro alla Scala. The opera is loosely based on an actual historical themes about the English Wars of the Roses. The opera was the first by Meyerbeer to mix historical events and personages with fictional characters and situations, as his French grand operas Les Huguenots, Le prophète and L'Africaine were later to do.  It contains opulent virtuoso and broad choral passages, along with several ensembles for male voices, including a trio for bass voices. 

Laurence Meikle
The opera premiered at La Scala on November 14, 1820 and was subsequently performed throughout Europe in Italian, French and German. It received its US debut in New Orleans on  April 17, 1854. This is the first modern era production of the opera that is fully stage, There was a concert performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London in November 2002. A new critical edition of the score was published by Ricordi Berlin in 2015.

From October 29 to November 8, Meikle will return to the Teatro di San Carlo as Osmin in the Strehler production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He performed there earlier this year as Grenvil in Verdi's La traviata.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Barihunk Leon Kim wins two prizes at Operalia Competition; Boris Prýgl takes Nilsson Prize

Korean barihunk Leon Kim

Korean barihunk Leon Kim walked away with both the Third Place prize and the Rolex Audience Prize at the 2017 Operalia Competition. Bass-barihunk Boris Prýgl also won the Birgit Nilsson Prize for the best singer of Wagner/Strauss repertory.

This year three baritones made it to final fourteen of the Operalia Competition, including South Korean Leon Kim, American Emmett O'Hanlon and Boris Prygl from the Czech Republic. Leon Kim was also one of the five finalists in the Zarzuela competition. The event was held at the Astana Opera in Kazakhstan. First prize is US $30,000, Second Prize is $20,000 and Thrid Prize is $10,000.

The last low male voices to win were bass-baritone Ao Li from China, who took the top men's prize in 2013 and Mongolian bass Enkhbatyn Amartüvshin, who took top honors the previous year.

The winner of the 2017 Pepita Embil Prize of Zarzuela for female voice is Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia and the winner of the Don Plácido Domingo Ferrer Prize of Zarzuela for male voice is Italian tenor Marco Ciaponi.

The 2017 Culturarte Prize went to Korean soprano Sooyeon Lee.

Boris Prýgl
The 2017 Birgit Nilsson Prize for the repertoire of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner went to bass-baritone Boris Prýgl for male voice and to soprano Oksana Sekerin for female voice.

The winner of Third Place prize went to Korean baritone Leon Kim for male voice and Kazakhstan soprano Maria Mudryak for female voice.

The winner of Second Place for male voice went to Italian tenor Davide Giusti and to Russian soprano Kristina Mkhitaryan for female voice.

The Grand Prize winner for male voice went to South African tenor Levy Sekgapane and for female voice Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia.

The Rolex Audience Prize went to South Korean baritone Leon Kim and for female voice Kazakhstan soprano Maria Mudryak.

The 2014 Operalia Competition became known as the "Baritone Blackout," as 11 of the 40 competitors were baritones, but not a single baritone made it to the final round. No low male voice won any of the fourteen prizes handed out that year. This was in spite of the low voice competitors including some amazing talents, including Igor Bakan, Aleksey Bogdanov, Alexandre Duhamel, Dan Kempson, Alexey Lavrov, Alex Lawrence, Shea Owens, Damien Pass, Pavel Shmulevich, Anatoli Sivko and Ivan Thirion. 

Past Operalia winners have included Anthony Roth Costanzo, Lise Davidsen, Ainhoa Arteta, Nina Stemme, Brian Asawa, José Cura, Elizabeth Futral, Eric Owens, Janai Brugger, Erwin Schrott, Joyce DiDonato, Rolando Villazon, Joseph Calleja, Susanna Phillips, Ailyn Perez, Olga Peretyatko and Sonya Yoncheva.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Barihunk duo in Amy Beach rarity "Cabildo"

Tyler Putnam (Photo by Devon Cass)
Barihunk Bryan Murray and bass-barihunk Tyler Putnam are performing in Amy Beach's rarely performed opera Cabildo. Both singers are new to the site.

Set in New Orleans, the composer’s only opera recounts the legend of a French noblewoman who gives a bracelet to a pirate as a proclamation of her love. When she disappears mysteriously at sea, he is accused of her murder, imprisoned and then released in time to defend the city in the War of 1812.

Beach composed the music in 1932 and made use of folksong and Creole tunes. The work was not performed in her lifetime and didn't receive its premiere until 1947.

Performances run from July 26-August 2 and tickets are available online

Bryan Murray's winning set at the  2016 Heida Hermanns Competition:

Bryan Murray, who sings  Pierre Lafitte in Cabildo, is a 2017 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist at Central City Opera and winner of the 2016 Heida Hermanns International Voice Competition. He pursued his Master of Musical Arts degree from Yale University, as well as receiving his Master's in vocal performance from the Purchase College Conservatory of Music.

Tyler Putnam, who sings  Gaoler in Cabildo, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Dartmouth College. In 2014 and 2015, he was a Santa Fe Opera apprentice artist where he sang the role of Thomas in Jennifer Higden's Cold Mountain, appeared in Verdi's Rigoletto and Strauss' Salome, as well as covering Rocco in Beethoven's Fidelio. In October, he will make his role debut as Colline in Puccini's La bohème at Malloy College. He then performs Handel's Messiah with The Villages Philharmonic in Florida.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Introducing Bass-barihunk Carlo Checchi; Belcore at Festspiele Immling

Carlo Checchi
Italian bass-barihunk Carlo Checchi is new to our site and was brought to our attention by a reader, Checchi is performing Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore through August 13th at the Festspiele Immling in Germany. The cast also includes Sergio Foresti (who we should also feature) as Dulcamara, Elisa Cenni as Adina, Chuanliang Wang as Nemorino and Anastasia Churakova as Gianetta. Tickets and additional information is available online.

Cecchi, who also has a degree in computer engineering, studied voice at l'Istituto Musicale Pareggiato "Vittadini" di Pavia. He was the winner of the VI Concorso ArteInCanto Competition.

Carlo Checchi
He made his debut at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa as Apollo in Mozart's Apollo and Hyacinth. His past roles include Figaro in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Valle in Rome, as well as in opera houses in Lucca, Pisa and Livorno; Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflote at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman; and, Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Tirana.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dmitri Hvorostovsky adds two concerts to schedule

Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Two new concerts have appeared on the website of Siberian barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who the Associated Press had recently reported was canceling all performances for the coming season due to “severe illness.”

First up will be a September 22nd recital at the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest, Romania, which is already sold out. The concert features a collections of Russian songs, including music by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Borodin and Anton Rubinstein. This will be followed by a September 26th recital with regular collaborator Ivari Ilja at the Moscow Conservatoire. No details are given on the website. His last program with him included music by Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss, with a poignant encore of "Farewell, happiness."

Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015. He was due to play leading roles in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, Otello and Rigoletto in Vienna this year and next, but canceled those engagements. He also withdrew from performances of the Met's production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, where he was replaced by fellow barihunks Peter Mattei and Mariusz Kwiecien. In April, he did make an appearance in Toronto with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Introducing Glimmerglass barihunk Jarrett Porter

Jarrett Porter
We recently featured a post about what we believe to be the largest single gathering of barihunks since we started blogging, as about a dozen hunky low voices are currently performing at the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York. A few of the singers in that post have not appeared on our site before, so we thought we'd start with an introduction of Jarrett Porter. 

Porter is currently a Young Artist at The Glimmerglass Festival, where he is singing Sam in Oklahoma! and covering the role of The English Spy in the American premiere of Donizetti's The Siege of Calais, under the direction of Francesca Zambello. 

Porter joins Arizona Opera for their 2017/18 season as a Marion Roose Studio Artist, where he will make his debut in the title role of Patrick Morganelli’s film-opera collaboration Hercules vs Vampires. Other roles with the company will includ Sciarrone in Puccini's Tosca, Maximilian in Bernstein's Candide, and Fiorello in Rossini's The Barber of Seville with fellow barihunk Jared Bybee in the title role.

Jarrett Porter sings Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen":

This past season Porter made his NPR debut with selections from Schubert's Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin with accompanist Taylor Hutchinson, and narration by Graham Johnson and Sir Thomas Allen. He was also seen in recital with Jake Heggie at the German Consulate of San Francisco in a program of Jake's newest works, including selections from his new chamber opera, Out of Darkness
Jarrett Porter

Recent roles have included the title role in Don Giovanni, Chevalier des Grieux in Massenet's Le portrait de Manon, and Sid in Britten's Albert Herring. He is the First Prize winner of the 2017 Pacific Music Society Competition, the Ellie Silver Award winner at the Holt Competition, and the recipient of the 2017 Pankonin Art Song Award.

Hunky Pin-Up Guys in Young Vic's HMS Pinafore

CJ Hartung, Joshua Hughes, Jeffrey Williams, John Kaneklides, and with flag (L-R)
Who says that Gilbert & Sullivan can't be sexy? The Young Victorian Theatre Company has assembled a cast of three barihunks and a hunkentenor for their current run of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. The pin-up worthy cast includes barihunk Joshua Hughes as Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, First Lord of the Admiralty; barihunk Jeffrey Williams as Captain Corcoran, Commander of the HMS Pinafore; hunkentenor John Kaneklides as Ralph Rackstraw; and, bass-barihunk Christopher "CJ" Hartung as Dick Deadeye.

The show has already proved to be a huge box office success, as Saturday's opening night performance and today's matinee both completely sold out. Fortunately for anyone near the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area, there are three remaining performances on July 20, 22, and 23 at the Sinex Theater in the Roland Park area.

Joshua Hughes, graduated with a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Peabody Conservatory, and previously appeared in the company's 2016 summer production of Iolanthe. He recently performed in Charpentier's Les Arts Florissants and Purcell's The Fairy Queen with Dallas Bach Society.

Jeffrey Williams and cast
Jeffrey Williams, who won the Middle/East Tennessee District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, will be appearing next season with the Nashville Opera in both Puccini's Tosca and Hercules vs Vampires. He is also an Assistant Professor of Voice at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

CJ Hartung is a student at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and is a regular young artist with the Berk's Opera Company, where he most recently sang the role of Lodovico in Verdi's Otello.

John Kaneklides has been singing both opera and musical theater, having performed Henrik in Sondheim's A Little Night Music and Tony in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. This season he made his role debut in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann with the St. Petersburg Opera, where he performed the title role.

Tickets for the remaining shows are available online.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Barihunk duo to reprise Lully's Alceste at Versailles

Douglas Williams (left) and Edwin Crossley-Mercer (right)
Two of operas hottest men are appeared together in Lully's Alceste last night and we somehow missed it! Barihunk Edwin Crossley-Mercer sang Alcide and bass-barihunk Douglas Williams sang Lycomède and Caron at the Festival International d'Opéra Baroque under the baton of Christophe Rousset.

Fortunately, the opera gods are looking over us, as the duo will reprise their performance at the Grandes Eaux Musicales at the Châteua de Versailles on December 10th with Les Talens Lyriques.

Edwin Crossley-Mercer

The opera was originally presented in celebration of King Louis XIV’s victory against Franche-Comté, and the prologue features nymphs longing for his return from battle.

The opera concerns Alceste, princess of Iolcos and queen of Thessaly, who is abducted by Licomède, king of Scyros, with the aid of his sister Thetis, a sea nymph; Aeolus, the god of the winds; and other supernatural forces. In the battle to rescue her, Alcide is triumphant, but Alceste’s husband, Admète, suffers a mortal wound. Apollo agrees to let Admète live if someone will take his place in death. Alceste volunteers herself but is rescued by Alcide, who loves her.

The opera ends with a celebration of Alceste’s return from the underworld and of Alcide’s noble gallantry in returning her to her husband and relinquishing any claims to her.

Friday, July 14, 2017

World's largest gathering of barihunks at Glimmerglass?

Jarrett Ott, Michael Hewitt, Jarrett Porter and Brent Michael Smith (left) and Justin Austin (right)
Once again, director Francesca Zambello has deservedly landed on our site. Longtime readers know that most opera lovers credit her with beginning the barihunk craze and coining the phrase after having Nathan Gunn appear shirtless in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. Now she may have created the largest single gathering of barihunks ever assembled at the Glimmerglass Festival, where she is the Artistic & General Director, as well as the stage director for Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, Donizetti's The Siege of Calais and Ben Moore's Robin Hood.

Norman Garrett in Glimmerglass' Porgy and Bess
There are at least a dozen barihunks who we know of in the various casts and probably a handful more that we've not been made aware of yet. Most of them have appeared on this site in the past. The Glimmerglass artists include:
  • Norman Garrett as Crown in Porgy and Bess 
  • Brent Michael Smith as the cop in Porgy and Bess; Ariodates in Handel's Xerxes; and the Commentator in Derrick Wang's Scalia/Ginsburg.
  • Zach Owen as the English Spy in The Siege of Calais and the detective in Porgy and Bess.
  • Jarrett Ott as Curly in Oklahoma! 
  • Michael Hewitt as Jud Fry in Oklahoma! and Edoardo III in The Siege of Calais
  • Harry Greenleaf as Cord Elam in Oklahoma!
  • Jarrett Porter as Sam in Oklahoma!
  • Justin Austin as Jake in Porgy and Bess
  • Calvin Griffin as the Undertaker in Porgy and Bess and Elviro in Xerxes
  • Conor McDonald as Skidmore in Oklahoma!
  • Eric Shane covering roles in Oklahoma! and Porgy and Bess
The festival opened July 7th and runs through August 22. Additional cast information and tickets are available online.

POST UPDATE: We heard from some of the singers at Glimmerglass that we may have missed a few singers, including Makoto Winkler, Nicholas Davi, Carl DuPont and Adrian Timpau. We also made some casting updates to the list above.

Andrè Schuen making US debut with Schubert concerts

Andrè Schuen
Tyrolian barihunk Andrè Schuen is making what we believe is his American debut with two concerts of Schubert lieder. He joins composer/pianist Thomas Adès for Tanglewood's “Schubert’s Summer Journey,” a six-concert exploration of the music of the composer. The program includes his famous setting of Goethe’s Wanderers Nachtlied II.

Tickets and additional information is available online.

On July 29th, he'll sings Schubert's Schwanengesang at the Aspen Music Festival with pianist Andreas Haefliger. Schuen and Haefliger will perform the songs not in one grouping but as distinct sets, separated by two solo piano works, Beethoven's Piano Sonata op. 101 and Berg's Piano Sonata.  Tickets are available online.

Andrè Schuen sings Hugo Wolf's Goethe Lieder:

In October, he returns to the opera stage at the Opéra national de Lorraine to portray the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni. The cast includes Nahuel di Pierro as Leporello, Levente Páll as Masetto, David Leigh as the Commendatore, Kiandra Howarth as Donna Anna, Yolanda Auyanet as Donna Elvira and Julien Behr as Don Ottavio. Additional information is available online.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Aaron Sørensen back as Sparafucile

Bass-barihunk Aaron Sørensen
Bass-barihunk calendar model Aaron Sørensen will show off his amazing low F as Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto at the Charlottesville Opera (formerly Ash Lawn Opera). Sørensen recently performed the role to great acclaim with the Mississippi Opera. The Charlottesville cast will include Eglise Gutiérrez as Gilda, Matthew Vickers as the Duke of Mantua and Hyung Yun as the ill-fated father Rigoletto.

The opera opens on July 9th at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at Virginia Tech University and then heads to the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia for performances on July 14, 16 and 19. Tickets are available online.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Watch Philippe Sly as Don Giovanni at Aix-en-Provence

Philippe Sly as Don Giovanni as Aix-en-Provence
Barihunk Phillipe Sly is a particularly sexy (and scantily clad) Don Giovanni in Mozart's classic at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. This performance marks his debut in the role, as well as the role debut of Isabel Leonard as Donna Elvira.

Performances are running through July 21, but one can also catch a broadcast of it on July 10th on at 12:30 PM PDT.

 The new production by Jean-François Sivadier includes Nahuel Di Pierro as Leporello, Eleonora Buratto as Donna Anna, hunkentenor Pavol Breslik as Don Ottavio, Julie Fuchs as Zerlina,  Krzysztof Baczyk as Masetto and David Leigh as Il Commendatore.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

David Adam Moore making role debut as Guglielmo in Central City

David Adam Moore (center from The Exterminating Angel)
Barihunk David Adam Moore will make his principal role debut as Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Central City Opera. The opera has not been performed at the historic Colorado opera house since 1990, when they marked the 200th anniversary of the piece. Performances will run from July 15 through August 4.

Moore will be joined by soprano Hailey Clark as Fiordiligi, mezzo-soprano Tamara Gura as Dorabella, tenor Matthew Plenk as Ferrando, Megan Marino as Despina and Patrick Carfizzi as Don Alfonso.

The full name of the opera is actually Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, which means "Thus do they all, or The School for Lovers." The subject matter of infidelity was considered so taboo in the 19th century that the opera was often accompanied by an apology, altered or even completely rewritten. Mozart's contemporary Antonio Salieri attempted to set the libretto to music, but never completed the project. 

In November, Moore will reprise the role of the Colonel in Thomas Adès' The Exterminating Angel at the Met. He'll be joined by fellow barihunks Christian van Horn as Julio, Rod Gilfrey as Roc and Kevin Burdette as Russell.
Last performed in Central City in 1990, this new production of Così fan tutte is directed by London-based Stephen Barlow,
Last performed in Central City in 1990, this new production of Così fan tutte is directed by London-based Stephen Barlow,

Stéphane Degout to be broadcast in world premiere of Pinocchio

Stéphane Degout
French barihunk Stéphane Degout is returning to the Aix Festival in Philippe Boesmans' Pinocchio, which was commissioned for this year's festival. Degout performs four key roles in the opera, the troupe director, the crook, a murderer and the circus director. Performances run through July 16th.

Joël Pommerat's libretto is based on his 2008 stage play, which returns the narrative to Carlo Collodi's original 1883 fable. In this version, Pinocchio escapes his maker Geppetto and is anything but a cute wooden figure. The villains are hardly what one would think of as characters in children's story.

The opera will be broadcast on July 9th on Arte Concert and France Musique.

In 2014, Degout also created Philippe Boesmans' Au Monde at La Monnaie in Brussels.

Introducing bass-barihunk Philipp Alexander Mehr in Mannheim's Mahaggony

Philipp Alexander Mehr in Mannheim's Mahagonny
30-year-old bass-barihunk Philipp Alexander Mehr, who is new to this site, is currently appearing in Kurt Weill's The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. Performances are running through July 19th.

Philipp Alexander Mehr made his debut as a twelve-year-old at the Frankfurt Opera in Peter Maxwell Davies' children's opera Cinderella and dabbled with rock music as a teenager. He studied at the University of Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt and the Mannheim School of Music, continuing his studies on a Richard Wagner scholarship. He also studied cognitive neurosciences before dedicating himself to music. 

He is the co-founder of "Mehr & Milde," which performs songs and cabaret.  

Upcoming roles in Mannheim include Alidoro in Rossini's La Cenerentola, the King in Verdi's Aida, the Priest of Jupiter in Handel's Hercules, Tom in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera and Titurel in Wagner's Parsifal

Monday, July 3, 2017

Polish bass-barihunk Daniel Miroslaw joins Glyndebourne's La traviata

Daniel Miroslaw
Polish bass-barihunk Daniel Miroslaw will be appearing in two of the Glyndebourne Festival operas this season, beginning on June 12th when he takes over as Doctor Grenvil from Henry Waddington in Verdi's La traviata. The cast also includes Kristina Mkhitaryan as Violetta in her Glyndebourne debut, Zach Borichevsky as Alfredo Germont and Igor Golovatenko as Giorgio Germont. Miroslaw will also be performing on June 16 and 19.

You can see Glyndebourne's 2014 of La traviata with the thrilling tenor Michael Fabiano from June 8-15 by clicking HERE.

Daniel Miroslaw sings "It's just another Rumba":

On June 25, he takes the stage as Truffaldino in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with fellow barihunk Björn Bürger as Harlequin. The cast also includes the legendary baritone Sir Thomas Allen as the Music Master, soprano Lise Davidsen in the title role, tenor AJ Glueckert as Bacchus and Erin Morley as Zerbinetta. Performances run through July 27.

Miroslaw is a member of the Frankfurt Opera, where he's slated to sing a number of roles this season, including Eustazio in Handel's Rinaldo, Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore and Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto.  In April 2018, he will be making his debut at the Municipal Theatre of Santiago singing a title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.