Saturday, December 29, 2018

Watch Gianluca Margheri as The Minotaur from Spoleto

Gianluca Margheri as The Minotaur (Image courtesy of Rai5)
You can now watch the complete performance of Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri as the title character in composer Silvia Colasanti's Il Minotauro (The Minotaur) recorded at the Spoleto Festival. 

The libretto was inspired by the story from Friedrich Dürrenmatt, in which the Minotaur cannot at once appreciate both his world’s coherence and its richness, either oversimplifying what he perceives or being baffled by it. 

Il Minotauro is a lyric opera in 10 scenes where the myth is centered on the terrifying monster transforming into a "human" drama reflected in the mirrors of the labyrinth. In addition to the three leading voices – Minotaur, Arianna and Teseo – the Chorus of the Birds provides a modern version of the Greek chorus who comment on the action.

Upcoming performances for Margheri include Garibaldo in Handel's Rodelinda at the Gran Teatre Del Liceu from March 2-15 and The Stranger in Purcell's They Fairy Queen at the Hungarian State Opera from April 12-28. 

Reader Submission: French Bass-Barihunk Nicolas Brooymans

Nicolas Brooymans
Our latest reader submission in French Bass-Barihunk Nicolas Brooymans.

Brooymans began singing at an early age as a member of the Chœur d'enfants de l’Opéra de Paris (Children's Choir of the Paris Opera). He went on to study at the Conservatoire du 18ème à Paris and the Masseur-Kinésithérapeute, graduating in 2007.

Since 2013, he has been performing with the Ensemble Correspondances, with a focus on music of the 17th century. Upcoming performances with the group include a program of Charpentier and Purcell in Vienna, Charpentier's Te Deum in Versailles, and concerts in Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Versailles and Metz, France.

Nicolas Brooymans sings Purcell's "Wondrous Banks":

On the operatic stage, Brooymans has performed Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Masetto and the Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni, and Pluton in Charpentier's La descente d'Orphée aux enfers.

He appears on the recording of La Descente D'Orphée on Harmonia Mundi with the Ensemble Correspondances under the baton of Sébastien Daucé. 

Reader Submission: Italian Bass-Barihunk Riccardo Fassi

Riccardo Fassi
Our latest reader submission is Italian bass-barihunk Riccardo Fassi, who a reader spotted as Colline in Puccini's La bohème at Austria's Stadttheaters Klagenfurt. He has additional performances this year on December 29 and 31, and from January 2-17 next year. Tickets and cast information is available online.

Fassi has been majoring in Vocal Chamber Music and Opera Singing at the Conservatory “G. Verdi” in Milan. He made his debut in 2014 at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman singing Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Despite his youth, he's already performed on a number of major opera stages, including Papageno at Milan's La scala, Mozart's Figaro at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Pistola at the Wiener Staatsoper and the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Theater Basel.

Next up for Fassi is the role of Balthazar in Donizetti's La favorite at the Teatro Massimo, which he will rotate with fellow barihunk Marko Mimica. Léonor will be sung by the exciting young mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis. Fassi performs on February 2 and 27 and additional cast and ticket information is available online.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Marc Callahan to embark on Duparc recital tour

Marc Callahan
American barihunk Marc Callahan will start of the New Year by performing a series of French chansons recital, which will focus on Henri Duparc.

Callahan is a noted specialist in French music having won a scholarship that allowed him to study at the ÉEole Normale de Musique de Paris and the Schola Cantorum. He studied French at the Institut de Touraine and art song with French barihunk François Le Roux at the Académie Françis Poulenc.

Marc Callahan in recital:

Callahan will join soprano Arian Wyatt and Richard Masters as part of the Oceana Ensemble to perform Duparc songs throughout Texas and Virginia. The will perform January 20th at the San Angelo Chamber Music Series, January 22 at Baylor University, January 23rd at Texas A&M University, January 24th at the University of Texas at Austin and February 11th at Virginia Tech. He'll perform a solo program of French songs on February 6th at the University if North Carolina at Chapel Hill and on February 18th at the University of Delaware.

When Callahan isn't performing, he serves as the Assistant Professor of Music at UNC-Chapel Hill and directs opera in the U.S. and France.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Reader Submission: French bass-barihunk Julien Ségol

Julien Ségol
French bass-barihunk Julien Ségol is our latest reader submission, coming from a reader who saw him in recital last month. 
He started his musical studies at the age of 10 by studying violin with Chantal Crennes, a former member of the Orchestre National de France. In 2006 he began his vocal studies with at the Conservatoire Hector Berlioz in Paris. He graduated from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris in 2011. His interest for German repertoire brought him to Germany in 2013, where he studied at the Musikhochschule Felix Mendelssohn (Leipzig).
He was the winner of the 2015 Bach Cantata Prize at the Internationale Sächsische Sängerakademie Torgau in Germany.

While studiying voice he  also received a Master degrees from the Institut de Sciences Politiques de Paris and from the EHESS. He then received a doctoral scholarship from the Marc Bloch Zentrum in Berlin to do a PhD in cultural anthropology, which he completed on the subject : “The Malleable Body: A Symbolic Revolution. Aesthetic and Social Transformations of the Body in France and Germany, 1900-1933."
Julien Ségol sings Duparc's "Le Manoir de Rosemonde":

Ségol has performed at the Berlin Philharmonic, Rundfunk Berlin, Academy of the Arts Berlin, Delphi Theater, Kultur Büro Elisabeth, Hartenfels Castle in Saxony and Rheinsberg Castle. 
In 2017, he was mentioned on Barihunks as part of 24 singers who performed Schubert's Winterreise at Puccini's Toaster in Berlin, performing "Gefrorene Tränen." Other recent engagements include a Poulenc recital at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin and a Goethe-Lieder recital at the Château de Cerisy in Normandy. The role of the Wolf in Su-eun Lee's children opera “Rotkäppchen” at the Young Artists Studio of the Deutsche Oper was created for him..

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Celebrating the anniversary of Aida's world premiere

Ain Anger as Ramfis at Houston Grand Opera
Verdi's masterpiece Aida premiered on December 24, 1871. The opera was commissioned for the grand opening of Cairo's Khedivial Opera House. Verdi did not attend the premiere in Cairo, as he was upset that opening night was not open to the general public. He considered the Italian premiere at La Scala in Milan on February 8, 1872 to be its real premiere. 

The U.S. premiere was on November 26, 1873 at the Academy of Music in New York City. The opera has been adapted for motion pictures on several occasions, most notably in a 1953 production which starred Sophia Loren.

Aida at the Teatro Carlo Felice
The opera includes three roles for low voice: Amonasro (king of Ethiopia), Ramfis (the high priest) and the King of Egypt.

A number of noted barihunks have sung each of the roles. The bass role of Ramfis has been performed by Ezio Pinza, Erwin Schrott, Nicolas Courjal, Andrea Mastroni, Kevin Thompson, Ain Anger, Raymond Aceto and Adrian Sâmpetrean.

The Kings: Soloman Howard at The Met and Anthony Reed at San Francisco Opera
The bass role of The King has been sung my Matt Treviño, Ben Wager, Jud Arthur, Kenneth Kellogg, Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Florian Spiess and Anthony Reed.

The baritone role of Amonasaro has been sung by Marco Vratogna, Sherrill Milnes and Michael Honeyman. 

Ezio Pinza and Giovanni Martinelli sings "Mortal diletto ai Numi":

Some of the most famous numbers for low voices in Aida include the Act 3 duet between Aida and Amonasro "Ciel, mio padre...Rivedrai le foreste imbalsamate" and Ramfis' "Mortal, diletto ai Numi, a te fidate."

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Barihunk Matthew Worth featured on Great Performances broadcast of Doubt

Matthew Worth in Doubt (Photo: © Michal Daniel)
The Minnesota Opera's production of Douglas J. Cuomo’s opera Doubt will be broadcast on Great Performances on PBS on January 25th (check local listings for time).

The story, which has been seen on Broadway and made into a movie with Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, revolves around scandalous allegations and tensions at a Catholic elementary school.

The libretto was written by playwright John Patrick Shanley, who based it on his Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The opera was commissioned by Minnesota Opera in collaboration with the Cincinnati Opera and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. The opera was part of the opera company’s New Works Initiative, a landmark program designed to invigorate the operatic repertoire with an infusion of contemporary works. It premiered on January 26, 2013 at the Minnesota Opera.

Matthew Worths sings "A sermon about doubt":

The opera features barihunk Matthew Worth as Father Flynn, who is accused of inappropriate behavior with a young African-American student. Soprano Christine Brewer will sing the role of the school principal Sister Aloysius, who makes the accusations and sets the drama in motion at the Bronx-based Roman Catholic in 1964. The young, idealistic Sister James will be played by Adriana Zabala and the boy's mother by mezzo Denyce Graves. Other than a chorus and a children's chorus, these are the only vocal roles.

Other operas on Great Performances this year include Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice on January 18, Verdi's Aida and Nico Muhly's Marnie on February 1.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Gianluca Margheri to add Papageno to repertory in 2019

Gianluca Margheri in The Fairy Queen (Photos: Attila Nagy)
Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri will add the role of Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute (Il Flauto Magico) to his repertory in January 2019.

He will be appearing as the lovelorn birdcatcher at the Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania from January 20-27. The cast also includes Karl Huml as Sarastro, Christina Poulitsi as the Quuen of the Night, Elena Galitskaja as Pamina and Giovanni Sala as Tamino. Tickets are available online.

Gianluca Margheri in the finale to Don Giovanni with Peter Fried:

This will be Margheri's sixth Mozart role, as he's already taken on Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Publio in La Clemenza di Tito, the title role in Don Giovanni and Figaro and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro.

Other roles next season include Garibaldo in Handel's Rodelinda at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and a return to the Hungarian State Opera in Purcell's The Fairy Queen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Benjamin Appl announces first U.S. recital tour

German barihunk Benjamin Appl, who has become one of the leading lieder recitalists in the world, has announced his first U.S. tour.

He will begin his tour in New York City for three nights at the Park Avenue Armory. On January 6th he will perform Schubert's Die schöne Mülllerin, followed by Schubert's Schwanengesang on January 8th and the composer's Winterreise on January 10th. 

He then heads to Portland, Oregon on January 13th, New Orleans on January 15 and 16, Cleveland on January 18 and finally Washington D.C. on January 20th. Those recitals will variously feature music by Schubert, Schreker, Schumann, Duparc, Grieg and Nico Muhly's "The Last Letter," a collection of five songs based on letters sent by soldiers during World War I. The piece was commissioned by the Barbican for Appl in 2015. 

He will be joined on the tour by his frequent accompanist James Baillieu. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

John Viscardi headlines popular Philly Christmas concert

John Viscardi (photo: Arielle Donneson)
The Philadelphia Orchestra will present its popular "Glorious Sound of Christmas®" from December 20-23 this year. It will feature American barihunk John Viscardi as the soloist, backed by the orchestra and the chorus of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia. This will be Viscardi's debut with the famed orchestra.

Some of Viscardi's selections include Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” Good King Wenceslas,” "Silent Night" and I'll Be Home For Christmas."

Tickets are available online

John Viscardi sings Tosti's Ideale:

Performances in the upcoming year for Viscardi include Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Chou en Lai in John Adams' Nixon in China at the Princeton Festival 

Monday, December 17, 2018

Reader Submission: Finnish Barihunk Markus Suihkonen

Markus Suihkonen (photos: Vilja Tamminen)
Our latest reader submission is 25-year-old Finnish bass Markus Suihkonen, who someone spotted as The Herald in Bayerische Staatsoper production of Verdi's Otello. The production also features hunkentenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role, so you know he had to stand out.

There is one more performance on December 21, before it returns in the Summer for additional performances on July 12 and 15, also featuring Suihkonen.

Watch Markus Suihkonen at the 11:50 mark:

Before taking up singing at the Sibelius Academy, Suihkonen studied the cello for 15 years. In 2015, he won the Timo Mustakallio Singing Competition and was awarded a scholarship from the Martti Talvela Foundation.    

He made his professional debut at the Finnish National Opera in 2015 in Shostakovich's The Nose. He has performed at the Mariinsky Theater, Savonlinna Opera Festival, Vlaamse Opera and at the Royal Opéra de Wallonie.

He is part of the Young Artist Ensemble at the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, Belgium.

He returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper in April as King René in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and then takes on Publio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Michael Hewitt discusses his fitness e-book "Cheat Codes"

Michael Hewitt
Barihunk and fitness guru Michael Hewitt has written an e-book called Cheat Codes, which is about getting a lean body, focusing your mind and having unlimited energy. We interviewed him to find out what motivated him to write the book and learn a little more about what he's doing professionally. [All photos from Hewitt's Instagram: michaelhewitt23]

1. What inspired you to write the book?

The fitness industry is rife with even more obfuscation than the Young Artist industry.

Buying Fit Teas and doing Whole 30 once per year isn’t delivering meaningful and significant results. People are missing out on living life because they are sold false truths about what it takes to build a body you can feel at home in.

I wrote Cheat Codes to simplify complex fitness ‘hacks’ into a way that everyone could understand them, and take advantage of them. I believe an awesome body should complement your life, not run it, and I want to share that with anyone seeking solutions.

Michael Hewitt
2 Your path to fitness involves a failed relationship, which seems to be a common thread with guys who get into fitness. Why do you think that is? 

Women aren’t the only people who feel societal pressure to transform their bodies. Lots of women, for example, cite the Victoria’s Secret catalogue/fashion show as a standard they feel hard pressed to live up to: if they aren’t as skinny and made up as those women, they are made to feel “less than”. In my experience, it’s much the same with guys: all of our action figures are jacked, the heroes in the movies are jacked, and major cultural icons-The Rock, Hollywood A-listers, athletic legends-are all in fantastic shape. Chris Pratt went from lovable sidekick to bonafide movie star when he got serious about his body.

A note on this: I don’t think this is “unhealthy”. Pedestalizing the exception is the rule. No one celebrates average, and no one should. No one’s carves a statue of the stereotypical Dad-Bod.

So, anyway, for a lot of young men, validation and attention (or lack thereof) gets correlated with ones own level of fitness.

The rejection I mention in Cheat Codes (though there were a fair amount) was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me: I had unfatted myself during high school, kept weight off, and added a little bit of muscle to my frame. I was even proud of how I looked, for a time.

While of course the real loss is hers, at that time, I thought the only reason I was being rejected was because I didn’t look like the aforementioned American heroes: wide V-taper back, popping 8-pack, and armor-plated chest.

While that’s not true, what I call “former fat-kid syndrome” (a type of body dysmorphia where you still identify as fat when you’re actually quite lean) still had me in it’s clutches. I thought that if I could make myself look like THAT, then I’d never have that pain again. (I was wrong, but I did get transform massively-the Statue Jacked program was largely based on what I learned in that period).

Michael Hewitt
3. Why is it just as important for singers to train their bodies, as it is their voice?

There’s a million reasons, but I’ll give you the inside scoop on the best ones.

The saddest thing in the world is a voice that is past it’s prime and a shell of it’s former beauty and power, right? I want to extend the timeline of my voice and performing career as long as possible. So if you want your voice to stay flexible and pliable and beautiful, wouldn’t you start with working on the body? Singing is also a muscular endeavor. Muscular, but not maximal. That’s the real key to having any real hope at appoggio, I think: you’ve got to have strength, but also have strength to not give everything, to not overdo. I would rather be extraordinarily well-armed than bare fisted for a battle like that.

It’s important that everyone know about the ability and limits of their body. After all, you interact in the world. You don’t want to be coming up shorty when you need yourself most. More important still, do you know the limits of your mind?

What other endeavor can challenge the two of them both powerfully and simultaneously?

What is that you have to say to yourself, what inner demons must be fought and burned for fuel, to get you through the last sprint without slowing down? What do you prove to yourself by respecting your self enough to build your body?

Through training, you learn to bet on yourself. You learn about the timeline of things, and develop respect for proper maturation.

Firsthand, you see the rewards of focused reps. The deliveries of diligence as you see yourself improve.

You learn that you are STRONG. That you cannot be so easily shoved into the mud. That you’ve the courage to stand and fight with the body to back it up.

Think about how that would change you, inform you, as a person and performer. Wouldn’t you be better off onstage for it?

Would that change how you walk into an audition room? Your confidence at parties and events? Your ease and fluidity onstage?

Wouldn’t that help you in your career?

Michael Hewitt in Silent Night (right)
4. One common criticism we hear about singers who work out is that is will restrict their diaphragm and make singing more difficult. Any truth to this?

Sure, only if you broaden the scope of blame to include 1) bad vocal advice and 2) poor practice habits or 3) always being a mediocre singer, but only getting attention because the company sought body over voice.

Singing is a lot easier when you’re strong as hell.

Michael Hewitt
5. What is the key to discipline in training the voice or the body? 

You’ve got to be committed to the big picture: that through mastery of your craft you gain mastery of self.

Michael Hewitt
6. What's the latest with your vocal career?

I’m having a blast. I had a packed summer at Glimmerglass. It was a lot of fun. Played Lt. Horstmayer in a production I’m really proud of, played Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, and played Diesel in Francesca [Zambella]’s new production of West Side Story. I got to do the original Jerome Robbins choreo for that too. It was really cool to be a part of that show. I’m such a fan of Leonard Bernstein, and this whole year I’ve been eating off his great music, so I feel blessed for that. That particular show we worked with David Charles Abell, who was his last protegé, and Julio Monge, who worked closely with Robbins. And here I am, separated by only degree at the intersection of these TITANS, a guy who fan girls over them both. So it was a trip.
This season, I’ve got a little fest at WNO. I’m really excited about it. I’m officially a Domingo-Cafritz alum, so to be able to go right back to where I consider home to be a principal artist is a warm feeling.

In October, I played Baron Douphol at WNO, and that was another experience that I’m still really jazzed over. I got to hear and be a part of a world-class interpretation of one of the greatest works in the whole of creation for almost two months. That’s so cool. I really almost had an out-of-body experience before my first line. I was like “dude, you’re about to sing a solo line of Verdi front and center at WNO. You do this, there’s no going back-you’re an opera singer”. And I was with a cast of just BALLER performers, and two baritones I idolize, [Michael] Chioldi and [Lucas] Meachem. I learned so much talking to those guys and picking their brains and watching them do their thing.

We just wrapped up Silent Night (same production, by Tomer Zvulun, which is gorgeous and impactful, and third time this year I got to work with Nicole [Paiement], who just brings the score to life), which was a big hit. Up next is Angelotti in Tosca. I’m really looking forward to seeing Faust and Onegin, though.

I’ve been really fortunate to be able to work with some really great guys in my coaching program this year, too. One fit back into his favorite suit, another guy shed his shirt at the pool without any hesitation…I just started working with a few more who are crushing it. I’m excited about that. It’s hard to get in but worth it for the right people.

If that’s you and you wanna apply, go HERE.

And while it’s free (going to be $100 soon) you gotta get Cheat Codes. Get that HERE.

If you have any questions about what I’ve been saying, if you love it, or if you want to send some hate my way, connect with me @michaelhewitt23 on IG and Twitter, and/or let’s connect on FB.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Babatunde Akinboboye mixes Rossini and Kendrick Lamar

Bobby Akinboboye
Check out Nigerian-American barihunk Babatunde "Bobby" Akinboboye as he mixes Rossini's Largo al factotum with some Kendrick Lamar.

Akinboboye has performed with the Los Angeles Opera, Opera San Jose, Opera Santa Barbara, Long Beach Opera and Center Stage Opera.

He is an advocate for art songs and operatic works written by African, and African-American composers. He performed a fusion of opera and traditional African music with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry and has performed at both the National Association of Negro Musicians Annual Conference, as well as the African American Art Song Alliance Conference.  

Akinboboye has been a Regional Finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the International Eisteddfod Vocal Solo Competition in Llangollen, Wales.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Every GRAMMY nominee for "Best Opera Recording" featiures a barihunk

Edwin Crossley-Mercer, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Günther Groissböck, Edward Parks & Aubrey Allicock
Every GRAMMY nominee for  "Best Opera Recording" featiures a barihunk this year.

The nominees, which were announced today, are as follow:
  • John Adams, Doctor Atomic, featuring barihunk Aubrey Allicock, Gerald Finley, Julia Bullock and Brindley Sherratt. 
  • Mason Bates, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, featuring barihunk Edward Parks, Sasha Cooke, Jessice E. Jones, Wei Wu and Garrett Sorenson. 
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully, Alceste, featuring barihunks Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Douglas Williams, Emiliano Gonzalez, Toro and Judith Van Wanroij. 
  • Richard Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier, featuring Günther Groissböck, Elīna Garanča and Erin Morley. 
  • Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto, featuring the late barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Nadine Sierra. 
Bate's The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs was also nominated for "Best Contemporary Classical Composition" along with Jake Heggie's Great Scott, which features the ageless barihunk Nathan Gunn.  Other nominees in the category are Du Yun's Air Glow, Kernis' Violin Concerto and Mazzoli's Vespers for Violin.

Ryan Speedo Green to be featured on "60 Minutes"

Ryan Speedo Green
Ryan Speedo Green will be featured this Sunday, December 9th on "60 Minutes" on CBS. Scott Pelley interviews the American singer about his journey from juvenile detention at age 12, after threatening to stab his mother and brother, to being a member of the ensemble at the Vienna State Opera. 

Green was one of the five winners of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, winner of the 2014 George London Foundation Award, and first prize recipient at the Gerda Lissner Foundation vocal awards.

In 2016, he released a book about his life, Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family.

David Adam Moore to reprise sexy Stanley Kowalski

David Adam Moore as Stanley Kowalski (Photo @dabva)
The Teatro Colón has announced its 2019 season, which will include barihunk David Adam Moore as Stanley Kowalski in Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire, in what will be the South American premiere of the opera. Moore has had great success with the role at both the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Virginia Opera.

The opera is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams and has become a showcase for barihunks, including Gregory Gerbrandt, Dan Kempson, Rod Gilfry, Ryan McKinny, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Jordan Shanahan.

A Streetcar Named Desire was premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 1998 with Rod Gilfry as Stanley and its become one of the most popular contemporary American operas in the repertory. It has gone on to see performances in New Orleans, Kentucky, Carnegie Hall in New York San Diego, Washington D.C., San Francisco (Merola Opera), Cleveland, Chicago, Santa Barbara, Honolulu and Virginia Opera. It had it European premiere in Strasbourg in 2001 and its U.K. premiere in 2003, with subsequent performances throughout Europe and in Tokyo.

The Teatro Colón cast will also include Sarah Jane McMahon, Eric Fennell, and Victoria Livengood. Performances run from May 7-14, 2019

Dmitri Hvorostovsky's hometown to rename airport in his honor

Dmitri Hvorostosky and the Krasnoyarsk airport
Dmitri Hvorostosky's hometown of Krasnoyarsk in Eastern Siberia has announced that they will honor the Russian singer by renaming the local airport after him.

After being diagnosed with a brain tumor in June 2015, Hvorostovsky died on November 22, 2017 in London. Hvorostosky sang a  farewell concert in Krasnoyarsk in June 2017.

In his will, Hvorostovsky asked that half of his ashes be buried in Moscow’s Novodevichy Cemetery and the other half in Krasnoyarsk.

There were few baritones as compelling on stage as Dmitri Hvorostovsky and only a few in history who matched his box office draw. He will forever be remembered for his seamless legato and movie star good looks.

He was born on October 16, 1962 and shot to fame in 1989 when he won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition in a legendary showdown with Bryn Terfel. The late, great soprano Elizabeth Soderström, who was one of the judges in 1989, famously marked a series of exclamation marks on her scorecard as she listened to Hvorostovsky sing.

His extensive discography includes 30 recitals, numerous complete operas on CD and DVD, and the award-winning film "Don Giovanni Unmasked" where he performed the dual roles of Don Giovanni and Leporello. On November 10, 2017, he released his first recording of Verdi's Rigoletto, on which he sings the title role.

Björn Bürger doing double duty in Germany & Switzerland

Björn Bürger
German barihunk Björn Bürger is wrapping up 2018 with a busy schedule, as he's singing back-to-back-to-back performances in Switzerland in Germany.

He is opening a run as Dr. Falke in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus (La Chauve-Souris in French) in Lausanne on December 13th, with performances running through New Year's Eve. Meanwhile, he's wrapping up performances as Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Staatsoper Stuttgart. That means he'll be singing in Lausanne on the 28th, a matinee in Stuttgart on the 29th and back in Lausanne on the 30th.

The cast of the Die Fledermaus also includes Stephan Genz as Gabriel von Eisenstein and Eleonore Marguerre as Rosalinda.

The cast of Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Staatsoper Stuttgart also includes the always entertaining bass Matthew Anchel as Bartolo, Mert Süngü as Almaviva and Stephanie Lauricella as Rosina. There is an evening performance of the same opera that features fellow barihunk Jarrett Ott as Figaro.

Lausanne and Stuttgart are about 438 km (272 miles) apart. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Barihunk duo in premiere of Dear Erich at NY City Opera

Peter Kendal Clark and Brian James Myer
The New York City Opera will premiere Ted Rosenthal's Holocaust themed opera Dear Erich  on January 9th, with performances running through January 13th.  The opera was inspired by 200 recently discovered letters written in Germany between 1938 and 1941 by Herta Rosenthal to her son Erich, the composer's father.

Barihunk Brian James Myer will be making his company debut as Young Erich, in a cast that also includes fellow barihunk Peter Kendall Clark as the Older Erich, hunkentenor Glenn Seven Allen as Freddy, Jessica Tyler Wright as Herta and Rachel Zatcoff as Lili. Tickets are available online.

Glenn Seven Allen (photo as honorary tenor in Barihunks calendar)
The title character was a Jewish academic who escaped Nazi Germany to the U.S. shortly before Kristallnacht. The opera tells the story of his family's dual fates, including Erich's journey to a new life in the new world - his studies, jazz and love -  while the situation deteriorates in Germany and his family ultimately meets their cruel demise at the hands of the Nazis. Frustrated and powerless to help them emigrate, Erich must live with deep survivor guilt which affects him in his relationships with his wife and children.

The opera has had workshops at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, New York City Opera and the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Evan Hughes to perform recital with Les Grandes Interprètes

Evan Hughes (photo: Leela Ross)
American bass-barihunk Evan Hughes will be performing a recital with Les Grandes Interprètes in Toulouse, France on December 10th with accompanist Hélio Vida. 

The program will include selections from Schumann's Kerner Lieder, Hans Christian Andersen Lieder and his Lieder sur des poèmes de Heine, as well as Sibelius' Runeberg Songs, Ireland's Sea Fever, Purcell's Cold Song and Finzi's Earth and Air and Rain. Tickets are available online.

Upcoming performances include Theseus in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream with Opera Philadelphia in February and Citheron in Rameau's Platée with Semperoper Dresden in April.

Watch Hans Tashjian perform Russian music live online

Hans Tashjian
Bass Hans Tashjian will be part of an evening of Russian songs on Wednesday, December 5th. The program will feature singers from the Yale opera program performing a wide array of Russian vocal music, from solo songs and arias to ensemble pieces.

The program will include works by such composers as Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Glinka, Shebalin, Pakhmutova and Rachmaninoff. Tashjian will sing Dmitry Kabalevsky's Don Quixote's Serenade.

The performance will be at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Memorial Hall at 7:30 PM EST/4:30 PM PST or you can watch it live ONLINE.

Tashjian is an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music and Carnegie Mellon University, where he received the Derdeyne Award in Voice. He has been a young artist at Chautauqua Opera, Sarasota Opera (where he was a recipient of the Scheininger-Reznick Scholarship), and the Caramoor Music Festival. 

He will perform Beethoven's 9th Symphony in the upcoming season for the Jackson Symphony Orchestra.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Introducing Swedish barihunk Sebastian Durán

Sebastian Durán (Photo left: Malin Arnesson)
Swedish barihunk Sebastian Durán will be singing Kråkan (the Crow) in Benjamin Staern's Snödrottningen (The Snow Queen) at the Malmö Opera. Performances run from December 15 through January 19.

The 29-year-old singer studied at the Malmö Academy of Music and the University College of Opera in Stockholm. Shortly after graduating, he took on the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni on the Malmö Opera tour and at the Copenhagen Opera Festival. He went on to sing in Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vadstena Academy.

Sebastien Durán sings Hamlet's drinking song:

The Snow Queen was commissioned by the Malmö Opera and was premiered in 2016 with Durán in the cast. The opera is based on the 1844 story by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. 

There is a operatic link between Andersen and opera, as it is believed that he was in love with the Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, although she did not have the same feeling for him. According to his biographer Carole Rosen, Andersen modeled the cold-hearted Snow Queen on Lind after she rejected him as a suitor.

You can listen to the entire opera on SoundCloud featuring Durán.

Nicolas Courjal getting downright devilish in 2019

Nicolas Courjal (left) and Méphistophélès
The role of Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust will be a main feature of French bass-barihunk's 2019 season, as he takes on the devilish role twice in the first part of the year.

From February 10-21, he'll perform the role at Opéra de Marseille with fellow barihunk Étienne Dupuis as Valentin. The cast also includes Nicole Car as Marguerite, Jean-François Borras and Jean-Pierre Furlan rotating the role of Faust, Philippe Ermelier as Wagner and Kévin Amiel as Siebel.

Then from May 22-28, he travels 159 kilometers down the road to Opéra de Nice where he'll be joined by Armando Noguera as Valentin, Stefano Secco as Faust, Nathalie Manfrino as Marguerite, Philippe Ermelier as Wagner and Camille Tresmontant as Siebel.

The final scene from Faust with Nicolai Ghiaurov, Joan Sutherland and Franco Correlli:

Gounod's libretto is based loosely on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part One. It debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris on March 19, 1859. After its successful debut, it traveled to Germany, Belgium, Italy and England.

The opera opened the original Metropolitan Opera on October 22, 1883 and went on to become one of the most popular operas in the house, having received 753 performances to date.

In between performances, of Gounod's Faust, Courjal will sing the role of Bertram in Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable at La Monnaie with an all-star cast headed by soprano Lisette Oropesa and tenor Dimitry Korchak.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Barihunk duo in Beijing's "Don Giovanni"

Vittorio Prato
Two of Europe's hottest barihunks will be singing Don Giovanni and Masetto at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts. Italian Vittorio Prato will take on Mozart's title character alongside Austrian Thomas Tatzl's Masetto.

The theatre is rotating a European cast on November 27, 29 and December 1 with an all-Chinese cast on November 28 and 30. Tickets and additional cast information is available online. The Chinese cast includes the amazing bass-baritone Ao Li as Leporello, who won the 2014 Operalia competition and has become a fixture at the San Francisco Opera.

Ao Li performs at the Mt Fuji Vocal Competition:

The National Centre for the Performing Arts was founded in 2010 and features European and Chinese artists performing both Western and Chinese opera. Chinese operas have included  Guo Wenjing's Rickshaw Boy, Qing Yin's The Long March, Meng Weidong's FANG Zhimin, Lei Lei's The Jinsha River and Visitors from the Snow Mountain.

Alexander Birch Elliott takes over remainder of Met "Pearl Fishers:

Met's Pearl Fishers and Alexander Elliott
The Metropolitan Opera has announced that Alexander Birch Elliott will sing the remaining performances of “Les Pêcheurs de Perles,” replacing fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien as Zurga. The Polish singer was struggling to make it past the first act, prompting Elliott to step in for at least two performances, the first night being his Met debut.

There are three performances of the opera remaining on November 28, December 1st and 8th. Pretty Yende is set to sing all of them except for the December 8th showcase when Amanda Woodbury wil sing. Javier Camarena will appear as Nadir for all of the shows.

Tickets are available online

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Roberto Tagliavini makes his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut tonight

Roberto Tagliavini (Photos courtesy of Arena di Verona)
Italian bass-barihunk Roberto Tagliavini will make his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Verdi’s Il trovatore as Ferrando, which opens today and runs through December 9th.

He'll be joined by another singer making his house debut, the amazing Polish baritone Artur Ruciński, who is sing the Count di Luna. The rest of the all-star cast includes tenor Russell Thomas as Manrico, soprano Tamara Wilson as Leonora, and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as the tortured gypsy Azucena,

Tickets are available online.

Upcoming performances for Tagliavini include Pagano in Verdi's I Lombardi at Opera de la ABAO  in January, Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco at the Bavarian State Opera and Basilio in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia in Parma.

Another famous singer with the same last name, Ferruccio Tagliavini, who was one of the greatest tenors of his era, made his U.S. debut in Chicago as Rodolfo in 1946.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Alexander Birch Elliot makes unexpected Met Opera debut

Alexander Birch Elliott (Photo from artist's website)
American barihunk Alexander Birch Elliot wasn't expecting to make his Metropolitan Opera debut on Wednesday night. However, there he was on stage for Act 2 of Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles after fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien could not perform after the first act.

By all accounts it was a successful debut. New York Times music critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim wrote, "Mr. Elliott tore into the music with heated intensity, his voice a beguiling timbre of mahogany carried by boyish ardor. When he was done, the audience cheered."

The blog Humbled and Overwhelmed, which covers the arts, wrote, "Alexander Birch Elliot was the type of cover that had everyone googling him by the time the curtain came down. What a triumph for him."

There are six remaining performance of Les Pêcheurs de Perles running through December 8th. The cast also includes Pretty Yende, Javier Camerena and Nicolas Testé. Tickets are available online.

Upcoming performances for Alexander Elliott include Belcore in Donizetti's L’elisir d’amore at Virginia Opera and Laura Kaminsky's As One at Portland Opera.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Justin Hopkins making Opera Vlaanderen debut as Lord Krishna

Justin Hopkins (Photo @Ellen Appel) and Satygraha (photo @Koen Broos)
American bass-barihunk Justin Hopkins is at Opera Vlaanderen this month, where he'll make his company debut singing Lord Krishna and Parsi Rustomji in Philip Glass' Satygraha in an all-star cast headed by the fearless tenor Peter Tantsits, the lush voiced mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis, Rihab Chaieb, Denzil Delaere, Tineke Van Ingelgem and barihunk Robin Adams as Mr. Kellenbach. 

Satyagraha (Sanskrit for “truth force”) is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s early years in South Africa, where he developed his groundbreaking ideas about nonviolent political resistance. Loosely based on the life of Gandhi, it forms the second part of Glass's "Portrait Trilogy" of operas about men who changed the world, which includes Einstein on the Beach and Akhnaten

The text is taken from the Bhagavad Gita and is sung in the original Sanskrit

Performances run from November 18-December 2. Tickets and additional information is available online.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Barihunk switch for Brahms Requiem

Samuel Hasselhorn
Barihunk Samuel Hasselhorn will be replacing fellow barihunk James Newby for the Brahms Requiem with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment this weekend.

The first concert is at Basingstoke’s Anvil concert hall on Saturday, November 10th followed by a second concert at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, November 11th at 7pm. Sunday’s concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Monday, November 13th at 7.30pm. 

 Samuel Hasselhorn sings Brahms' "O Tod, wie bitter bist du":

After the Brahms Requiem, he will appear at Cambridge for a recital of Schubert’s Winterreise with Malcolm Martineau for Camerata Musica at the Peterhouse Theatre. Tickets are available online.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Christian Van Horn only ninth bass to get devilish at The Met

Christian van Horn as Mefistofele (courtesy of the Metroploitan Opera)
On November 8, 2018, Christian Van Horn will become just the ninth bass to sing the title role in Boito's Mefistofele at the Metropolitan Opera. He was preceded by some of the great singers of the last two centuries,  including Giovanni Mirabella who sang the role in 1883,  followed by Eduard de Reszke, Pol Plançcn, Fyodor Chaliapin, Adamo Didur, José Mardones, Dean Peterson and most famously Samuel Ramey.

Samuel Ramey sings "Ecco il monde" from Mefistofele:

The Robert Carsen production will feature an all-star cast that also includes tenor Michael Fabiano as Faust and soprano Angela Meade as Margherita. Mefistofele is the only completed opera by Arrigo Boito, who is best remembered for writing Verdi's librettos for Otello and Falstaff.  The composer was working on his opera Nerone when he died in 1918. The great conductor Arturo Toscanini led a three person team in completing the opera, which finally premiered posthumously in 1924.

Performances of Mefistofele will run through December 1st and tickets are available online.

This will be the opera's first performance at The Met since 2000. Of the 67 performances of Mefistofele, all but 13 came before 1927. Much of the recent interest in the opera is because of Samuel Ramey's devilishly sexy performances at the San Francisco Opera, which were captured on video.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Watch Alex Esposito as Assur in Semiramide

Alex Esposito as Assur (Image courtesy of Culturebox)
Alex Esposito, who is probably the preeminent interpreter of Assur from Rossini Semiramide in the world today, reprised his successful portrayal at La Fenice. He previously performed the role on three occasions at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. Esposito remains one of the few low voices around today who can flawlessly maneuver Rossini's coloratura to great effect.

Fortunately, a video of the October 25, 2018 performance is being shown on Culturebox with a cast that includes the formidable hunkentenor Enea Scala as Idreno, Jessica Pratt in the title role and Teresa Iervolino as Arsace.

Alex Esposito and Jessica Pratt (Photo: © Michele Crosera)
The production by Cecilia Ligorio is set in a timeless space with the chorus in shimmering gold and white costumes (including some shirtless eye candy along the way) The priests are costumed in black, while Semiramide is decked out in a black and white gown with golden accents.

The video is available until October 30, 2019 and can be viewed HERE.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Barihunk duo in Montrèal's Das Rheingold

Ryan McKinny and Soloman Howard
Opèra de Montrèal's upcoming performance of Wagner's Das Rheingold will feature the barihunk duo of Ryan McKinny as Wotan and Solomon Howard as Fafner.  The cast also includes Nathan Berg as Alberich, David Cangelosi as Mime, Aidan Ferguson as Fricka and Caroline Bleau as Freia. The production is directed by Brian Staufenbiel.

Performances are on November 10, 13, 15 and 17 at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montrèal. This is the first performance of the opera in the city in twenty years. Tickets are available online.

Watch Soloman Howard transform into Fafner:

The season will continue with barihunks Aubrey Allicock in Terence Blanchard's Champion and Nathan Keoughan in Ricky Ian Gordon's 27.

Upcoming performances for McKinny include reprising the role of Clarence in John Adams Girls of the Golden West at the Dutch National Opera and singing the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Houston Grand Opera.

Upcoming performances for Soloman Howard include the role of the Lion in Jeanine Tesori's The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me at the Washington National Opera and The King in Verdi's Aida at The Met.