Thursday, February 28, 2019

BariToned to make West Coast Debut

One of our favorite shows, BariToned, will finally be making its West Coast debut with three performances in California. They will kick of their West Coast tour with a performance at Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego on April 6th, then at Rockwell's in Los Angeles on April 9th and finally at the Oasis nightclub in San Francisco on April 10th at 8 PM. It seems appropriate that they finally appear in California whose state animal is the Grizzly Bear.

The "I Hate Men" show includes the Broadway hits “Always True To You In My Fashion” by Cole Porter from Kiss Me Kate, “Bring On The Men” by Frank Wildhorn from Jekyll & Hyde, “Wash That Man” by Rodgers and Hammerstein from South Pacific, and “Big Spender” by Cy Coleman from Sweet Charity, all mashed up together to create songs about men and their proclivities, all delivered with some gender-bending fun. 

The trios new tour also includes performances on the East Coast at Birdland in New York on April 19, and Avenel on April 24th, June 20th and June 21st.


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.
Oklahoman Kyle Hines dubs himself a “Lumber Sexual.” Kyle specializes in playing deeper than the average athlete – funny in an awkward way, but still sort of sexy. He also enjoys fixing things in his apartment while listening to the soothing sounds of the great Barbra Streisand. Above all, Kyle loves nothing more than spending an entire day hanging out with his wife and three rescue dog-babies – Rudy, Peanut, and Sushi. Some of Kyle’s favorite roles include Adam/Lazarus in the NY Times Critics’ Pick and Drama Desk Award Winning Play, The Mysteries at the Flea Theatre, and Captain Grizzle Beard in the NY Times Critics’ Pick & Off-Broadway Alliance Award Winning musical The Pirate La Dee Da at the Atlantic Theatre Company. Most recently, Kyle played Jesus in the Infinity Theatre Company’s production of Godspell, but lately has been spending most of his days with his rescue Baritones, Joe and Edward.

Reader Submission: Italian barihunk Giulio Alvise Caselli

Giulio Alvise Caselli (Photos: Theater Augsburg)
A reader in Germany contacted us about Giulio Alvise Caselli, who will be appearing in a revival of Othmar Schoeck's rarely performed Das Schloß Dürande from March 8-July 6 at the Staatstheater Meiningen. Written in a late-tonal Modernist style reminiscent of operas by Zemlinksy and Schreker, the opera is based on a novella by Joseph von Eichendorff.

The opera premiered at the Berlin State Opera on April 1, 1943 and outraged the Nazis. Military leader Hermann Goering declared it to be “Scheiß!” and ordered it to disappear from the repertory after four performances. Goering believed that the opera's ending portended a bad ending for the Nazi regime.

Video highlights of Giulio Alvise Caselli:

Italian-born Giulio Alvise Caselli studied violin , literature and linguistics in Ferrara and Regensburg, before studying voice with his mother, the soprano and singing professor Maria Gabriella Munari.

He is currently a member of the ensemble at the Staatstheater Meiningen, where he performed  Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Biterolf in Wagner's Tannhäuser and Moralès in Bizet's Carmen. He also appeared in the title role of Don Giovanni in the Italian Television RAI 3 broadcast from the Biennale Musica 2010 in Venice.

From 2011-2017, he was a member of the ensemble at the Theater Augsburg, where he made his role debut as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. He also sang Dr. Falke in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Pelléas in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, Nardo in Mozart's La finta giardiniera, Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, Algerier in Luigi Nono's “Intolleranza 1960” and Hans Scholl in Zimmermann's Weiße Rose.

Giulio Alvise Caselli (Photos: Theater Augsburg)
He has appeared in various states of undress in a number of productions, including changing into his briefs in Mozart's Don Giovanni, shirtless in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and stripped down as Nardo in the composer's La Finta Giardiniera and most famously lying naked on the stage as Pelleas in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande for an entire act.

From May 23 to June 14, he'll appear in the baritone part of a theatrical representation of Brahm's Liebeslieder. Tickets for Liebeslieder and Das Schloß Dürande are available online.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Barihunk Matt Worth named to faculty at SF Conservatory of Music

Matt Worth (Photo from artist website)
Barihunk Matthew Worth is joining the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music n Fall 2019, joining the voice department led by chair and former tenor César Ulloa. The acclaimed school has a number of noted singers on faculty, including Catherine Cook, Susanne Mentzer, Patricia Craig, Deborah Voigt and Rhoslyn Jones.

Last season, he created the role of the Narrator in the world premiere of The Passion of Yeshua with the Oregon Bach Festival. This season he will return to the role at Royce Hall in Los Angeles and again with the Buffalo Philharmonic. He recently could be seen on PBS' Great Performances as Father Flynn in Douglas Cuomo's Doubt from Minnesota Opera.

The 2018-2019 season also includes Worth’s return to Boston Lyric Opera as Figaro in Rosetta Cucchi’s production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia and a workshop performance of Laura Kaminsky and Kimberly Reed’s Postville, commissioned by Santa Fe Opera and San Francisco Opera.

Last season, Worth performed the title role in David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s JFK with Opéra de Montréal, Bernstein’s Arias & Barcarolles with the New York Festival of Song at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Laura Kaminsky and Mark Campbell’s As One with Cincinnati Opera, and recitals at the University of Cincinnati and Austin Peay University.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Curtis Sullivan opens as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast

Curtis Sullivan flexes his beastly side
Canadian barihunk Curtis Sullivan, who we've featured numerous times on this site for his sexy and beautifully sung appearances with Opera Atelier, will be crossing over to Broadway when he opens tonight as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. The musical is being presented by Tutta Musica at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton, New Brunswick from February 23 through March 3rd. Tickets are available online.

At Opera Atelier he's performed Selim in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte, as well as Samiel in Weber's Der Freischütz.

Sullivan is not new to crossover music, as he's part of the Canadian trio Bravura, which performs classic Broadway, Pop standards, Italian folk songs and classical music. The other members include George Masswohl and James Levesque.

Sullivan is not the only operatic barihunk to sing Gaston on stage. In 2015, Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek joined the national touring company of the show on their U.S. tour.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Introducing American barihunk and podcaster Jared Ice

Jared Ice (Photos l & r: Uwe Hauth)
A fellow barihunk brought American baritone Jared Ice to our attention.

Ice grew up in Seattle and received his Master’s Degree from the University of Washington. After working with Dolora Zajick at her Institute for Young Dramatic Voices, he dabbled in various types of music including Country & Western, Off-Broadway and opera.

After arriving in Germany in 2013,  he won the International Kammeroper Schloss Rhiensberg Singing Competition, eventually landing the role of Holofernes in Siegfried Matthus’ opera Judith with the Staatstheater Braunschweig.

Jared Ice sings the Te Deum from Puccini's Tosca:

He has gone on to sing a number of Siegfried Matthus’ new operas, including world premieres in Bochum, Frankfurt, and Berlin. In 2018, he performed in the burlesque opera “A Bad Man’s Life” in Rheinsberg, written by the composer's son Frank Matthus. The opera was subsequently performed in Berlin, Latvia and Estonia.

In 2016, he returned to the Rheinsberg summer festival to sing the role of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca. In 2017, he made his debut at the Hamburger Kammeroper in Hamburg performing Count Walter in Verdi’s Luisa Miller.

Jared Ice (Photo: Oliver Junge)
In 2018, Ice started the opera podcast “Sex, Drugs, and Opera” with tenor Michael Pegher, which has featured barihunks John Brancy and George Festl. They have covered topics ranging from addiction to dealing with rejection, as well as giving their unique breakdown of opera plots.

Ice also founded his own music production company, Towermint Studios, which creates music for corporate training videos, advertisements or webinars.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Former opera bass wins RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars

Kevin Bertin aka Monet X Change
RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Monet X Change, who has a degree in opera performance and has appeared professionally as a bass, has won RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars along with Trinity the Tuck. It was the first time in the show's history that two people won the crown.

Monet X Change previously placed sixth and won Miss Congeniality on the tenth season. His offstage name is Kevin Bertin and he was born in Saint Lucia and raised in the Caribbean until the age of eleven. Since then, Bertin has lived in New York City.

Monet X Change sings Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit": 

A graduate of the Westminster Choir College, he made his debut with the Westminster Opera Theater in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte and later performed Sarastro in the composer's Die Zauberflöte. He became a featured soloist with the Westminster Choir on their California and Florida tours, performing in Bach's Magnificat, Brahms' Requiem, and Bruckner's Te Deum.

He also appeared as Sarastro at the Portland Opera for the Education and Outreach Program, and also sang Colline in Puccini's La bohème

As a drag performer, he was mentored by Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, who taught him how to sew, as well as some performance tips. Monet's drag mother is Honey Davenport, who appeared on Season 5 of the show.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Karl V: First full-length twelve-tone opera to be broadcast

Actor Janus Torp and Bo Skovhus (Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper)
Ernst Krenek's "Karl V," the first full-length twelve-tone opera will be broadcast from the Bavarian State Opera on February 23rd with barihunk Bo Skovhus in the title role. The opera can be seen live on February 16, 21 and 23. 

The opera revolves around the life the Holy Roman Emperor, Karl V, particularly the end of his life. In his life confession he defends his actions as ruler and his failure to establish a grand Christian empire to the monk, Juan de Regla.

Krenek’s opera Karl V has rarely been performed since its debut on June 22, 1938. The opera created a cause célèbre when the 1934 premiere in Vienna was cancelled after Krenek was blacklisted in Germany by the Nazi government immediately following the German parliamentary elections in March 1933. Krenek revised the opera in 1954. Krenek was wrongly named as a Jewish composer during the Third Reich and ended up fleeing to the United States due to constant threats from the Nazi regime.

Bo Skovhus (Photo: Bayerische Staatsoper)
It was performed at the Bregenzer Festspiele in 2008 and has previously been seen in Munich. Performances at the Bavarian State Opera run through February 23rd, but the opera will also be performed at the Munich Opera Festival on July 19th.

The current modernist staging was produced by Carlus Padrissa, a member and co-founder of the theatre group, La Fura dels Baus, with stage designs and costumes by artist Lita Cabellut.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Introducing Belgian barihunk Fabio Lesuisse

Fabio Lesuisse (photos: Theater Aachen)
Belgian barihunk Fabio Lesuisse, who will turn 27 on February 17th, is our newest addition to Barihunks. He is a graduate of the Cologne University of Music and First Prize winner at the 2015 Bach Competition in Barcelona, Spain. 

He is currently a guest artist at the Theater Aachen in Germany, where he singing Mercutio in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette and Junior in Bernstein's A Quiet Place, which is part of a double-bill with Trouble in Tahiti.

He has performed the title role in T.J. Hermann's Hamlet at the Theater Dortmund, as well as numerous roles at Oper Bonn, including Morales in Bizet's Carmen, Ned Keene in Britten's Peter Grimes, Marco in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and Ramiro in Ravel's L'heure Espagnole.

Performances of A Quiet Place continue on February 16, 24 and 27, as well as March 10 and April 11. Performances of Roméo et Juliette are on February 17, March 9 and 24, as well as April 4, 13 and 22.

Upcoming performances include Killian in Weber's Der Freischütz, which opens on March 3rd and Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, opening this summer.

Monday, February 11, 2019

“The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” wins Grammy for best Opera Recording

Ed Parks as Steve Jobs (Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Opera)
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” by composer Mason Bates walked away with the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. The recording featured two barihunks, Edward Parks and Kelly Markgraf, along with Sasha Cooke, Jessica E. Jones, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu and conductor Michael Christie with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra.

Daniel Kushner in his "Critic's Choice" review in Opera News wrote of the opera, that it "may well become a staple in the twenty-first century’s operatic’s the work’s subtle nuances in structure, text and the musical treatment of the characters that are most impactful—and may point to where the future of opera is headed."

Every nominee for Best Opera Recording this year featured a barihunk. The other nominees were:

  • John Adams, Doctor Atomic, featuring barihunk Aubrey Allicock, Gerald Finley, Julia Bullock and Brindley Sherratt. 
  • 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.
There are two performances of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs coming up on the West Coast. The Seattle Opera will perform the piece from February 23 through March 9th with John Moore as Steve Jobs with Nicole Paiement conducting. The San Francisco Opera will present the opera from June 20 through July 3r with Edward Parks as Steve Jobs and Michael Christie conducting.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Simon Keenlyside knighted by Prince Charles

Simon Keenlyside (photos: Clarence House)
British barihunk Simon Keenlyside was knighted by HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace on February 7, 2019 for his "services to music.'

After the ceremony, he commented,  "I like the fact that the arts in some way are included. It's a wonderful present and I am thrilled to have it."

The 59-year-old singer made his debut as Lescaut in Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Royal Northern College of Music in 1987.  The following year, he performed Count Almaviva in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at the Hamburg State Opera. In 1989, he joined the roster of Scottish Opera, where he remained until 1994, performing a wide range of repertory from operetta to Puccini, Britten and Richard Strauss.

He won a Grammy Award for his recording of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and in 2011 was named Musical America's Vocalist of the Year.
Also knighted at the ceremony was Nobel Prize-winning author Kazou Ishiguro, who wrote "Remains Of The Day," "Never Let Me Go" and "An Artist Of The Floating World."

Hadleigh Adams to make European opera stage debut in Netherlands

Hadleigh Adams (Photo right: Cory Weaver)
Bass-barihunk Hadleigh Adams will make his long overdue European debut in a staged performance of an opera. The San Francisco-based singer will appear in Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the Nederlandse Reisopera from March 16th through April 9th. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Adams will be performing the role of the buffoonish, hypocritical, yet charming Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, who sings the popular piece "In Praise of Women." The most famous piece from the opera is Desiree's "Send in the Clowns," which has been popularized by numerous singers, including Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan.

Adams has previously performed in Europe, but not in a professionally staged operatic production. He attended the Guildhall School of Music in London, where he sang Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and also performed Bach's St Matthew Passion at the Royal National Theatre in London, as well as Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex in a concert performance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Since its premiere in 1973, A Little Night Music has become a staple of Broadway musical theaters and opera companies, toeing the lines between a musical, operetta and opera. Numerous writers and critics have argued whether the piece should be categorized as a musical or an operetta/opera. Although the piece is best known for its runs on Broadway and London's West End, a number of opera companies have produced the piece, including the New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Opera Australia and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler were inspired by the Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night, which involves the romantic lives of several couples. A film of the musical was released in 1977 featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Len Cariou, Lesley-Anne Down, and Diana Rigg.

On June 4th, Adams returns to California to join the San Francisco Symphony on June 4th for Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. He then performs in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at both the Cincinnati Opera and the San Francisco Opera.

James Wright makes company debut in Shreveport before heading to Sunshine State

Baritone James Wright
We first featured American barihunk James Wright back in 2015, but haven't featured him since. A reader just spotted him making his company debut as Larry in Robert Paterson's Masquerade at Shreveport Opera.

Masquerade is part of a trio of operas from the composer's "Three Way," which also includes The Companion and Safe Word. Three Way premiered at the Nashville Opera in 2017 and was subsequently performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music later that same year.

The plot revolves around four couples at a party at a country mansion who during the course of an evening are forced to face their deepest taboos. The masquerade party is hosted by Pleasure Pilgrims, an online community of sensualists and pleasure seekers, who come from all walks of life to shed the mundaneness of their everyday lives and push the limits of erotic expression.

There is one remaining performance on Saturday, February 9th.

James Wright sings "Largo al factotum":

James Wright can next be seen at Opera Orlando in Florida, where he performs the role of Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which is being paired with Stravinsky's Pulcinella. The cast also includes Brian Cheney as Canio, Suzanne Kantorski as Nedda, Daniel Scofield as Tonio and Alex Mansoori as Beppe. Performances run from March 22-26. Tickets are available online.