Wednesday, January 31, 2018

BariToned part of Valentine's Day double-header

BariToned, the popular trio of big, brawny, beautiful men, which includes Joe Hager, Edward Miskie and Caleb Albert, will be part of a double-header, post-Valentine's Day concert at The Green Room 42 in New York City on February 15th. 

The concert will start with "Always Andrews - A Musical Tribute to the Andrews Sisters," which celebrates the music and comedy of the legendary WWII-era trio of singing sisters. BariToned will then perform some of their songs from their "I Hate Men" show, including Bring On The Men, That'll Show Him, Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair, What You Don't Know About Women, Back To Before, and I Hate Men.

Tickets are $20 and are available online

Miskie is a New York-based Pennsylvania native who has performed Julian Marsh in 42nd Street, Cinderella's Prince/The Wolf in Into The Woods, Fred Graham in Kiss Me Kate, Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and many more. We recently posted about his book "Cancer, Musical Theatre, and Other Chronic Illnesses" which is available on Amazon and Kindle.  

Joe Hager is a New York-based Kansas native who has performed Dennis Dupree in Rock of Ages with Norwegian Cruise Lines for the last seven years. Additional credits include the National Tour of Beauty and the Beast as Gaston, the international tour of Phantom of the Opera as Monsieur Richard,  Tom MacKennle in the Seven Year Itch at the York Theatre. Additional credits include Javert in Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, Macheath in The Three Penny Opera at the Brevard Music Center, and Marcello in La boheme at Hidden Valley Opera.
Caleb Albert grew up on the family farm in Calvert, Pennsylvania and graduated with a BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University. He has performed with Kings Dominion and Flat Rock Playhouse, as well as appearing in MT '17's Diva Cabaret, and Elon Cares: Broadway's Equity Fights AIDS.

Uprorious "The Pearls of Cleopatra" returns to Berlin

Dominik Köninger and Dagmar Manzel
Director Barrie Kosky's hilarious and highly entertaing The Pearls of Cleopatra (Die Perlen der Cleopatra) by Oscar Straus is back at the Komische Oper in Berlin. The piece was on the shelves for more than eighty years before it was revived in 2016. The latest run features almost the identical cast, led by German barihunk Dominik Köninger, who sings the role of the Roman Officer and appears in a number of pretty sexy situations throughout the operetta.

Kosky has been reviving works by composers who fled the Nazis, which Strauss did in 1939 following the Nazi Anschluss. He fled to Paris and eventually to Hollywood. After the war, he returned to Europe, and settled at Bad Ischl, where he died.  Straus' best-known works are Ein Walzertraum (A Waltz Dream), and The Chocolate Soldier (Der tapfere Soldat). He may be best remembered for composing the theme song from the 1950 film La Ronde.

In the comedic The Pearls of Cleopatra, the queen longs for a ‘little Egyptian flirting’ to lift her mood. The permanent drought and the armies of the Roman Empire at the Egyptian borders have given her quite a headache. So she flirts with the Syrian prince Beladonis and takes Silvius, the Roman ambassador, as her new lover. International or intimate relations – the most beautiful queen of the world holds sway over the hearts of all men. Could the pearls be the secret to her power. 

The Pearls of Cleopatra features plenty of scantily clad, energetic performers on stage, adding to the lively Cabaret feel of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic. The operetta opens on January 31st and runs through March 30th. Tickets are available online. Opening night is SOLD OUT.

You can now support Barihunks by donating at Patreon

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart!

What could we possibly say about Mozart that either hasn't been said or you don't know already? Born on January 27, 1756, he was a child prodigy, who wrote his first symphony when he was eight years old and his first opera at age twelve. He went on to write some of the most important masterpieces of the Classical era, including symphonies, operas, string quartets and piano music. Of course, he has been an endless source of material for Barihunks, especially his operas Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan tutte, which provide us with an ongoing stream of sexy low voices.

We think the best way to celebrate his birthday is with some music from our favorite singers:

Aaron Sørensen sings Mozart's "Alcandro, lo confesso"

Erwin Schrott sings the Catalog aria:

Cesare Siepi sings "Per questa bella mano":

Rod Gilfry and Liliana Nikiteanu sing "La ci darem la mano"

Monday, January 22, 2018

Paul La Rosa in tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires

Paul La Rosa rehearsing Maria de Buenos Aires in San Diego (Photo: Angel Mannion)
Barihunk Paul La Rosa will taking on the role of El Payador (the gaucho minstrel) in Astor Piazzolla's tango infused opera Maria de Buenos Aires. The San Diego Opera is presenting four performances of the increasingly popular piece between January 26-28, with a 7 PM and 10 PM curtain on the 27th. Tickets are available online.

The opera will be directed by John de los Santos, who has directed the piece throughout the country, and will direct it again with barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco at the Fort Worth Opera Festival from April 27 and May 5. Paul La Rosa's tango partner will be soprano Aubrey Babcock.

The opera opens with Duende (the Narrator) who relates the story of Maria, a prostitute born in the slums “one day when God was drunk … with a curse in her voice.” Maria is seduced by the rhythms of the tango and soon becomes “the most sorcerous singer and lover” in Buenos Aires. However, her “fatal passion” arouses the wrath of robbers and brothel madams who shoot her to death, and bury her in an unmarked grave. In death, Maria is pulled into a dreamlike Hell where she encounters the choral circus of psychoanalysts who dissect her to the core. She makes a resurrection of sorts when the Duende summons her to return as a Shadow, give birth to a new Maria, and haunt the sordid streets of Buenos Aires which she once walked.

Director John de los Santos talks about Maria de Buenos Aires:

Unlike most who contributed to the origins and development of the tango, Piazzolla came from a different background. He was a classically trained, refined musician and composer. Piazzolla undoubtedly made tango available to a wider audience and helped extend its boundaries, both stylistically and geographically. For that, he was equally admired and criticized, but it is almost universally recognized that Piazzolla’s style lent tango worldwide cultural legitimacy, even in what is known as the realm of “classical” music.

Besides being an extraordinarily talented composer, he was also an exceptional bandoneon player. Piazzolla drew from classical and contemporary sources as well as from the deep roots of tango, creating a powerful synthesis that propelled it from being in some regards a thing of the past to a contemporary language, reinvigorating the style.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Andrew Garland featured in world premiere of Holocaust opera

Andrew Garland
American barihunk Andrew Garland will sing Abe in the world premiere of Gerald Cohen and Deborah Brevoort's opera Steal a Pencil for Me with Opera Colorado, which opens on January 25th and runs through January 30th. Tickets are available online.

The opera is a true story about a group of Dutch Jews who are deported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in the last year of World War II. Surrounded by horrors of the Holocaust, Jaap and Manja Polak’s already fragile marriage dissolves as he turns his attentions to Ina Soep. The couple struggles to survive at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, while surrounded by torture, disease, starvation, and death. The secret lovers exchange passionate letters written with stolen pencil stubs, keeping their hopes and hearts alive in a time of  darkness.

Andrew Garland sings The Gallows Tree:

In a happy ending to the real life story, Jaap and Ina Polak stayed married for 70 years after surviving the horrors of the concentration camp!

The Massachusetts native moved to Colorado last year to join the voice faculty at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In February, Garland will join Camerata Pacifica for a series of lieder recitals in California with accompanist Warren Jones in Ventura, San Marino and Santa Barbara.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Watch Nicolas Courjal's role debut live as four villains in Tales of Hoffmann

Nicolas Courjal as the Four Villains (photos by Alain Hanel)
On January 22nd, the internet opera site will feature bass-barihunk Nicolas Courjal making his role debut as the four villains- Lindorf, Coppelius, Miracle and Dapertutto - in Jacques Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann (Les Contes d’Hoffmann).

The live broadcast is from the Opera of Monte-Carlo and features and all-star cast led by Juan Diego Flórez in the title role and Olga Peretyatko as the the four women he's enchanted with. Both singers are also making their role debuts. The broadcast begins at 8 PM Monte Carlo time on (2 PM EST/11 AM PST. Click HERE to watch the broadcast.

Nicolas Courjal sings "Elle ne m'aime pas" from Don Carlos: 

The production is being staged by Jean-Louis Grinda and conducted by Jacques Lacombe. There will be additional performances on January 25, 28 and 31.

Upcoming performance for the 44-year-old French singer include the role of Rodolfo in Bellini's La Sonnambla in Lausanne on February 9th and 11th and Phanuel in Massenet's Hérodiade in Marseilles in March with Béatrice Uria-Monzon in the title role.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quirijn de Lang in updated and abridged Hamlet

Quirijn de Lang as Hamlet
OPERA2DAY in Den Haag in the Netherlands will present barihunk Quirijn de Lang as the title character in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet. The innovative company has reduced the 3 1/2 hour opera to just over 2 hours, by eliminating the ballet and streamlining the story, including an ending that combines the two existing versions of the opera.

The cast also includes Lucie Chartin as Ophélie, Martijn Sanders as Claudius, Martina Prins as Gertrude, Jan Willem Schaafsma as Laërte  and Patrick Pranger as Horatio. The opera is a co-production with the New European Ensemble. The opera will be performed in 20 different venues throughout the region between January 17th and April 11th. Tickets and locations are available online.

OPERA2DAY was founded to bring opera to new audiences by presenting old standards in contemporary settings.

Philippe Sly to perform Schubert songs with guitar

Philippe Sly as Zebul (left)
Canadian barihunk Phillipe Sly will kick off the second half of Tucson Guitar Society's International Artist Concert Series on February 3rd. He'll be joined by his frequent collaborator guitarist John Charles Britton in songs by Franz Schubert.

The duo will perform sixteen arrangements of Schubert songs for guitar and voice. Schubert owned many guitars and played the instrument at home. It is believed that many of his 600 songs were penned for his Schubertiades on the guitar. The duo has also recorded the songs on the album "Schubert Sessions," which was released in 2016 and is available on iTunes.

Sly is currently performing as Zebul in Handel's Jephtha at the Opera National de Paris through January 30th. The cast, under the baton of William Christie, includes Ian Bostridge in the title role, Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Storgé, Katherine Watson as Iphis and Tim Mead as Hamor. Tickets are available online.

Upcoming performances includes the Fauré Requiem with the Minnesota Orchestra, Schubert's Winterreise in Ferme de Villefavard, France, Bach's St John Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music and Rachmaninov's Aleko with the Montreal Symphony.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Christopher Bolduc in Czech premiere of 4-act Billy Budd

Christopher Bolduc as Billy Budd in Prague
Blond barihunk Christopher Bolduc, who likes like he was born to sing the role of the handsome young sailor Billy Budd, will perform the role in the Czech premiere of Benjamin Britten's original four act version. The composer later revised the opera as a two-act opera with a prologue and an epilogue, which is how it generally performed today.

The opera will be performed at the Czech National Opera and features the Losers Cirque Company, a group of dancers and acrobats. The troupe helps director Daniel Špinar delve into the destructive power of sexuality that the composer wrote about in this piece, as well as Death in Venice. Bolduc physically resembles Theodor Uppman, who Britten chose for the world premiere (after Geraint Evans withdrew).

Christopher Bolduc as Billy Budd with the Losers Cirque Company
The opera is based on Herman Melville’s eponymous novel and tells the story of what took place on board a British battleship during the Napoleonic Wars. Britten was also a passionate pacifist, who possessed a great sense of justice, and he personally resented violence, be it in war conflicts or committed on individuals. All these topics are afforded a significant role in the opera, in which a handsome, naïve and trustful youth becomes the object of hatred on the part of a sadistic manipulator, master-at-arms Claggart, who falsely accuses Billy of inciting the crew to mutiny.

Christopher Bolduc as Billy Budd with the Losers Cirque Company
Billy inadvertently kills his torturer and is duly sentenced to death. Captain Vere faces an agonising decision: should he pardon the innocent boy, or should he abide by the law of war? He does not prevent the tragedy and the memory of his fateful failure will haunt him throughout his life. Billy Budd is the composer's second “nautical” opera, in which the sea, the rocking of the waves and the gusts of wind are reflected in every single bar of music.

Performances run from January 18-28, and again on April 25 and 27 .

Monday, January 8, 2018

Erwin Schrott sings Scarpia tonight for only second time

Erwin Schrott as Scarpia in Berlin
Bass-barihunk Erwin Schrott waited until February of last year before he felt comfortable enough to debut the role of the evil police chief Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. That debut happened in Berlin and now he's slated for a series of performances of the plum role, beginning tonight at the Vienna State Opera in an all-star cast that includes Angela Gheorghiu  as Tosca and Massimo Giordano as Mario Cavaradossi.

Future performances of the role will be in Munich, the Royal Opera House in London and Madrid. Additional performances in Vienna will be on January 12, 13 and 16 and tickets are available online.

After his run as Scarpia, the Uruguayan singer remains in Vienna for three performances of Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust, running from January 25-February 2. He'll reprise that role in Munich beginning on April 29. In between those performances, he will sing Procida in Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes, also in Munich. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Mathias Hausmann in controversial Tannhäuser in Leipzig

Mathias Hausmann in Tannhäuser
Mathias Hausmann will be featured as Wolfram in Oper Leipzig's Tannhäuser, which opens on March 17 and runs through May 27.  The remainder of the cast includes Elisabet Strid as Elisabeth, Kathrin Göring as Venus, Burkhard Fritz as Tannhäuser and Patrick Vogel as Walther.

A scene from Calixto Bieito's Tannhäuser in Ghent
The production has been mired in a bit of controversy and confusion, as it was originally scheduled to be directed by Katharina Wagner, a descendant of the composer. The opera company announced that due to  “logistical challenges,” it will now be directed by the provocative Spaniard Calixto Bieito. Bieito's interpretation of Wagner's Tannhäuser premiered at the Vlaamse Opera in Ghent in 2015.

Katharina Wagner will return to Leipzig for Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin in November 2020.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Sasha Cooke and Kelly Markgraf reprise transgender opera As One

Sasha Cooke and Kelly Markgraf rehearsing As One
The real life husband and wife team of Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke will reprise their roles of "Hannah before" and "Hannah after" in Laura Kaminsky's As One at the Hawaii Opera. There will be four performances from January 11-16 at the Aloha Tower Pier 10 Cruise Ship Terminal in Honolulu. Tickets are available online.

The couple premiered the piece in 2014 at The Brooklyn Academy of Music and will perform it together again at the Chautauqua Opera on August 7th.

Two singers, a baritone and a mezzo-soprano, together portray the character Hannah.  The two singers embody a young boy who knows he is different but can't understand how or why. The 70-minute opera traces the life of young Hannah through her eventual gender reassignment. 
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 straight to gay. The opera is based on the life experience of noted filmmaker Kimberly Reed. 

After wrapping up As One, the couple travels to the drier climate of Arizona, where they will perform a concert version of Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, his one-act opera from the early ‘50s about life in suburban America. Performances are with the Tucson Symphony and run from February 2-4. 

What if Papageno used Tinder?; Joseph Lattanzi reprises Fellow Travelers

Nathan Gunn (left) and Aaron Blake/Joseph Lattanzi (right)
One of the board members of the PROTOTYPE Festival in New York put together this video of Nathan Gunn, who was singing Papageno at the Met. It shows what might of happened had he used the dating app Tinder to find his Papagena. 

Nathan Gunn has a number of recitals on his 2018 calendar, including his cabaret show with his wife Julie Gunn. You can catch performances on January 18th in Thomasville, Georgia; at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, CA on January 22nd; and, at the Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills on March 15th. The concert includes works by Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Lerner and Loewe, Billy Joel and Leonard Bernstein.

On January 12, 13 and 14, PROTOTYPE will present Gregory Spear's opera Fellow Travelers at the Lynch Theater at John Jay College, with barihunk Joseph Lattanzi and hunkentenor Aaron Blake in the lead roles. Tickets are available online

Fellow Travelers, which was written in collaboration with librettist Greg Pierce and director Kevin Newbury, was developed in a 2013 Opera Fusion workshop. Lattanzi sang both the workshops for the opera, as well as the world premiere at the Cincinnati Opera and at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sean Michael Plumb steps in as Schaunard

Sean Michael Plumb
American barihunk Sean Michael Plumb will step in for Andrea Borghini in today's family performance of Puccini's La bohème at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. The cast also includes Lavente Molnár as Marcello, Bálint Szabó as Colline, Guangun Yu as Mimi, Golda Schultz as Musetta and Bryan Hymel as Rodolfo.

He joined the company's ensemble in 2016, when he sang the Porter in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Servitore and Sicario in Verdi's Macbeth, Moralèe in Bizet's Carmen, Olav Bjaaland in Srnka's South Pole, Harlekin in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos , Yamadori in Puccini's Madama Butterfly and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola

This season, he sings Moralèe in Bizet's Carmen, which opens on February 16th, followed by two performance in March: Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola.

He is schedule for two upcoming performances in the United States this year, singing Melot in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with the Cleveland Orchestra and Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.