Monday, January 16, 2017

Update on Dmitri Hvorostovsky's health

Dmitri Hvorostovsky
We continually get asked if we have any update on the health of über-barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who was one of the original inspirations for this site.

The little news that we have comes from Russian media, who report that he continues to be hospitalized with pneumonia. In mid-December, he announced to his fans that he was withdrawing from all staged performances for the "foreseeable future" due to balance issues caused by a brain tumor.

Russian media claims that he still plans on resuming his concert schedule. His schedule shows recitals in Kaliningrad on February 26, Vienna on March 7 and a concert with Anna Netrebko in Toronto on April 25.

A message on his website states, "I will continue to give concerts and recitals as well as make recordings. Singing is my life, and I want to continue bringing joy to people worldwide.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bari-hunky Bizet in Met's Carmen

Kyle Ketelsen and Michael Todd Simpson as Escamillo
Bizet’s Carmen opens at the Met on January 19 with mezzo Sophie Koch making her role debut as the title character. But the big news for barihunk lovers is that both Escamillos, Moralès and Dancäire are all singers who have been featured on this site.

Barihunks Kyle Ketelsen and Michael Todd Simpson will take on the role Escamillo, while John Moore will sing Moralès and Malcolm MacKenzie will perform Dancäire. John Moore just set the opera world abuzz with his stunning (and nude) performance as Jan Nyman in Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves in both Philadelphia and New York.

Performances will run on January 19, 23, 27, 31 and February 3, 7, 11, 15 and 18. Tickets are available online.

Kyle Ketelsen sings the Torreador's Song from Carmen:

Michael Todd Simpson stepped in on Christmas Eve at The Met as Jaufré Rudel for Eric Owens in Kaija Saariaho’s critically acclaimed L’Amour de Loin. He is becoming a regular with the company, performing in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell, Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Lescaut in Massenet’s Manon and Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From April 7-9, he'll perform the Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance in a cast that includes Stephanie Blythe as Ruth, Andrew Stenson as Frederic and barihunk Tobias Greenhalgh as Samuel.

This Fall, Ketelsen will return to the role of Escamillo at the Teatro Real in Madrid. In between New York and Madrid, he'll sing Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress in Aix-en-Provence, France

Watch Johan Reuter as The Flying Dutchman

Johan Reuter as the Flying Dutchman and buffing up at the gym
You can currently watch barihunk (bear-a-hunk) Johan Reuter in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman from the Finnish National Opera on the OperaPlatform. We recently featured the Danish singer buffing up in preparation for this role. The video will be available until February 12, 2017.

In this production, director Kasper Holten interprets the opera without four-masters, hawsers and nautical romanticism. Instead, the errant sailor becomes an artist, trapped in the world of international jet set. A man, driven by his inspiration and forced to live without ever finding a place called home. Holten draws attention to Senta as well, wondering who is this girl that is willing to sacrifice herself through devotion and is it really selflessness that drives her?

In 2017, Reuter will make two role debuts. On January 21, he debuts in a new production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Royal Danish Opera. In May, he'll make his role debut in Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers at the Theater an den Wien.

Reader submission: Bass-barihunk Christopher Besch

Christopher Besch
A reader alerted us to bass-barihunk Christopher Besch, who will be appearing as Nourabad in Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers) with Opera in the Heights from February 3-12 in Houston, Texas.

Besch perviously performed with the company in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Opera and he created the role of Peter Gray in John L. Cornelius II and Janine Joseph's Wings They Were: The Case of Emeline with Houston Grand Opera’s HGOco, which commissions new chamber operas and song projects about contemporary life. He also portrayed Theseus in Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Rice University.

Besch is in his second year of studies for the Doctorate of Musical Arts program at Rice University, where he is the Malcolm W. Perkins Teaching Fellow. He was a semi-finalist for the 2012 Eleanor McCollum Competition at the Houston Grand Opera, one of the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast Regional Finalists for the Metropolitan National Council Auditions, and placed in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, and was awarded the Harold Norblum Award through Opera Colorado.

Besch has lots of Bach on his agenda this season, including motets with the Bach Society Houston in February, the St. John Passion with the Bach Society Houston in April, Herr Gott, dich loben wir (BWV 16) and Der Geist hilft (BWV 226) in June with the same ensemble and an appearance at the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival in Germany in June.

Christopher Besch sings Hahn's A Chloris:

The Pearl Fishers will be directed by John De Los Santos, who staged the Fort Worth Opera's stunning production in 2014. The cast also features the real-life husband and wife team of Eric Bowden and Lindsay Russell as the romantic leads Nadir and Leïla, as well as Octavio Moreno as Zurga.

Tickets are on sale online. Opera in the Heights presents affordable, staged performances for emerging artists in the Greater Houston Area.

Friday, January 13, 2017

America's hottest barihunks to sing in "Counter-Inaugural Concert"

David Adam Moore, Kyle Ketelsen, Nathan Gunn, Sidney Outlaw, Andrew Garland & Michael Kelly (clockwise)
Those of you who follow Barihunks know that we steer clear of politics and stick to opera. However, when an amazing collection of barihunks is assembled to sing at a Counter-Inaugural concert, we have to post about it. Composer Glen Roven has set two of Hillary Clinton's speeches to music for the concert.

Some of operas greatest deep-voiced men will be performing, including David Adam Moore, Kyle Ketelsen, Nathan Gunn, Sidney Outlaw, Daniel Sumegi, Lester Lynch, Andrew Garland and Michael Kelly. They will be joined by Isabel Leonard, Patricia Racette, Lawrence Brownlee, Matthew Polenzani, Carin Gilfy, Laquita Mitchell, Glenn Seven Allen, Dominic Armstrong, Jonathan Blalock and others.

Hunkentenors Jonathan Blalock and Glenn Seven Allen
The concert film will be streamed from National Sawdust on January 20, 2017, in conjunction with the presidential inauguration ceremony.  The two speeches that have been set to music are Mrs. Clinton's first announcement of her candidacy on January 7, 2007, and her presidential concession speech on November 9, 2017. 

Glen Roven has some history with the Clintons, having conducted the concerts at the Lincoln Memorial at both of Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration ceremonies. He was slated to conduct had Hillary Clinton won.

You can watch the concert online on January 20th beginning at noon EST/9 AM PST by clicking HERE. The concert film is directed by James Gray, Warren Elgort, and Larry Robbins.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

John Viscardi to star in Elvis Costello's The Juliet Letters

John Viscardi
American barihunk John Viscardi, who recently won the Tosti International Vocal Competition, will star in Elvis Costello’s The Juliet Letters as part of Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s Explorations Series.

Costello’s The Juliet Letters was written in 1992 and is a set of 20 songs for voice and string quartet, including a few quartet-only interludes. Costello was inspired to write the piece when he heard that the lovelorn actually write letters to Shakespeare’s Juliet and leave them at her supposed ‘balcony’ in Verona, Italy.  Costello came up with his own stylized "letters" and set them to music, using the idea as a platform for the exploration of young love.

Musically the material lies somewhere between that of his pop albums and his 2004 Shakespearean orchestral ballet Il Sogno, one of his more classical works.

Viscardi will be joined by his fellow Lyric Opera Resident Artists, including soprano April Martin, mezzo-soprano Samantha Gossard and tenor Casey Candebat. They will be accompanied by the Fry Street Quartet in a special scenic environment created for the performance. 

Performances are on Saturday, January 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, January 29 at 2 p.m. at the Ginger Frost Production Arts Building in Kansas City. Tickets are available online.

Viscardi will perform the role of the Motorcycle Cop in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City from March 4-12 with fellow barihunk David Adam Moore as Joseph de Rocher.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mark Diamond to perform Borzoni world premiere

Mark Diamond
American barihunk Mark Diamond will join Musica Marin for the world premiere of Clint Borzoni's new arrangement of the aria, "Two Nooses" from his opera "When Adonis Calls” for baritone, viola, cello and piano. The New York-based Borzoni is the composer-in-residence for the California chamber music organization. Last year, they presented the world premiere of his two works for Baritone and String Quartet, Stufen and Magere Kost.

The program is a collaboration with San Francisco's Merola Opera Program, where Diamond was part a participant in 2011. He'll be joined by mezzo-soprano Laura Krumm, who was also in Merola in 2011 and accompanist Ronny Greenberg, who was in the program in 2014.

There will be additional song by Borzoni set to poets John Grimmett, Sally M. Gall, Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, and Judith G Wolf.

Musica Marin presents concerts in beautiful private homes and tickets include wine, hors d'oeuvres and mingling with the poets, composer and artists. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.

Diamond is a graduate of the Studio of Houston Grand Opera where he performed Figaro in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, Marcello in Puccini's La bohème and the Marchese d’Obigny in Verdi's La traviata. At the Houston Grand Opera he has sung Count Carl-Magnus in A Little Night Music and Wilbur in the world premiere of  David Hanlon’s opera After the Storm. He has also appeared throughout France, performing in Limoges, Caen, and Reims.

He is the 1st Prize Winner of the 2010 Eleanor McCollum Competition at the Houston Grand Opera and the 2011 Sun Valley Opera Competition in Seattle. Diamond was twice a  Regional Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was awarded 2nd  Prize in the Charles A. Lynam Competition in North Carolina.