Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Introducing Nicholas Martorano; Performing Chicago area recital

Nicholas Martorano
American barihunk Nicholas Martorano, who graduated with a Master of Music degree in vocal arts last year from the University of Southern California, is new to our site.

Martorano will be returning to his homestate of Illinois to perform a recital in Morris, which is about an hour outside of Chicago. He'll be joined by Alexandra Martinez, Liya Khaimova and Napat Mingkwanyuen in a concert of arias, duets and ensembles from opera and musical theater. The four singers were all students together at USC.

Martorano first began singing on stage when he appeared as Winthrop in a Westmont High School production of  “The Music Man.” He developed his love for opera while in high school and opted to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in vocal performance.

The concert is Friday, August 18th at the First Presbyterian Church in Morris, Illinois.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wes Mason in LoftOpera's innovative Pagliacci

Wes Mason (Photos Jason Lee Denton & Ellen Appel)
Wes Mason will star as Silvio in LoftOpera's new production of a Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci from September 15-26 at a former bus depot in Brooklyn. Mason will be joined by Lucas Levy as the clown Canio, Kelly Glyptis as Nedda, Joshua Conyers as Tonio and Michael Kuhn a Beppe. 

The production is directed by the always innovative director John de los Santos and includes a Coney Island-inspired set design by Jung Griffin. Following each performance, audience members are encouraged to stay for a dance party and reception featuring DJ Svetlana Voice.

Founded in 2013, LoftOpera aims to bring opera to its roots and to the masses with environmental, immersive stagings that emphasize the communal aspects of the genre. Previous productions include Rossini’s Otello, Macbeth, Tosca, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and La bohéme.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Barihunk Karl Daymond collapses and dies at hearing where he came to speak about saving arts venue

Karl Daymond
[REPRINTED FROM BBC NEWS]

An opera singer collapsed and died while arguing to save an arts venue.

Karl Daymond fell ill just before he was due to speak at a meeting about Drill Hall in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, where he had directed shows.

He was a passionate supporter of the arts who wanted to ensure the future of the venue.
Chepstow mayor Dale Rooke said he was "one of those larger than life characters" with a "huge heart and a huge passion".

"He will be sorely missed and it's a huge, huge loss to Chepstow," he added.

Mr Rooke said Mr Daymond was "quite stressed" about speaking at the meeting, which was organised to allow locals to have their say on the future of the hall.

It came amid a row over whether the venue's ownership should be transferred from the local authority into the hands of a newly-formed charity.

'Emotional' meeting

The hall secured £50,000 from the Big Lottery in February to fund renovations with plans for a further £1m bid dependent on who owned it in future.

Mr Rooke said: "It was an emotional meeting but we knew it was going to be. About 80 people were present.

"It was particularly traumatic as when he collapsed, everyone was stuck in the council chamber and lots of the people in the room knew Karl."

Mr Daymond trained at The National Opera Studio before touring the world with both the English and Welsh national operas.

His career included performing at the BBC Proms in 1999 and 2002, and twice at the Royal Variety Performance, in 1982 performing The Pirate King from Pirates of Penzance, and as a soloist in 2004.

He appeared with Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman in a 1989 production of the Merchant of Venice, and took a starring role in Leonard Bernstein's Grammy-nominated one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti in 2001.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Barihunk quartet opens NY City Opera season

Kevin Short, Kenneth Overton, Christopher Job and Alexander Birch Ellliott (Clockwise top left)
New York City Opera is opening its 2017/2018 season with Puccini's La fanciulla del West starring the barihunk quartet of Kevin Short as Jack Rance, Alexander Birch Elliott as Sonora, Christopher Job as Ashby and Kenneth Overton as Jake Wallace. They will be joined by soprano Kristin Sampson as Minnie and tenor Jonathan Burton as Dick Johnson.

The production is a collaboration between New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and Teatro di Giglio di Lucca. Performances are on September 6, 8, 10 and 12 at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. Tickets are available online.

Based on American playwright David Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West, the opera tells the story of love and redemption in a mining camp during the California Gold Rush. Puccini's La fanciulla del West had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1910, and the opera has been a favorite of New York audiences ever since.

The remainder of New York City Opera's season includes the New York premiere of Pepe Martinez’s mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Montemezzi’s  L’Amore  dei Tre Re, the long-awaited US premiere of Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain, the New York premiere of Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and a double-bill of Donizetti’s Il Pigmalione and  Rameau’s Pigmalion.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jacques Imbrailo to premiere new Danish opera Brødre

Jacques Imbrailo
Jacques Imbrailo will premiere composer Daníel Bjarnason's new opera Brødre (Brothers) at the Danish National Opera on August 16th. The opera is based on Susanne Bier’s film Brothers, which is part of the Musikhuset Aarhus’ Bier Trilogy, in which the acclaimed film trilogy by Susanne Bier is adapted into three different genres. Brothers will be performed as an opera, After the Wedding as musical theatre and Open Hearts as modern dance.

Bier not only directed the 2004 film version of Brothers, but she also co-wrote the screenplay for the opera adaptation with Anders Thomas Jensen. The opera will be directed by Kasper Holten.

The tale relates the story of two brothers who both fall in love with the same woman. While the elder brother is on military service in Afghanistan, leaving his family behind in Denmark, the younger brother – who has just came out of prison – ends up spending a lot of time with the family. When they are informed that the elder brother is missing in action, a love grows between the younger brother and the sister-in-law out of solitude and despair. And when the hero returns from war, everything changes.

Performances are on August 16, 18, 20 and 22.  Tickets are available online.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Barihunk trio in live stream of "La pietra del paragone" from Rossini Festival

Gianluca Margheri and Paolo Bordogna
The barihunk duo Gianluca Margheri, Paolo Bordogna and Davide Luciano will appear in a live stream of La pietra del paragone (The Touchstone) from the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro on August 11th. Gianluca Margheri sings the Conte Asdrubale, Paolo Bordogna sings Pacuvio and Davide Luciano sings Macrobio. The cast also includes La pietra del paragone as the Marchesa Clarice, Maxim Mironov as Cavalier Giocondo, Aurora Faggioli as Baronessa Aspasia, Marina Monzó as Donna Fulvia and William Corrò as Fabrizio.

Much of the action taken place in and around a swimming pool, so you'll get to see some barihunk skin in this popular production.

La pietra del paragone, which was Rossini's first major commission, was first performed at La Scala in Milan on September 26, 1812 and was an instant success. Despite its early success in Europe, the work did not receive its North American premiere until 1955 and not until 1963 in Britain, when it was performed at he St Pancras Town Hall.

In Rossini's comedy, a wealthy man devises a test to separate his true friends from those who love him only for his money. Although “touchstone” is no longer regularly used in the English language, it is still alive in an Italian proverb that forms the basis of this comic opera. They say “Men have a touchstone to test gold, but gold is really the touchstone to test men.” (“L’uomo ha la pietra di paragone per saggiare l’oro, ma l’oro è la pietra di paragone per saggiare gli uomini.”) 

You can also watch the same Pier Luigi Pizzi production on Medici.TV with barihunk Marco Vinco as Il Conte Asdrubale, Paolo Bordogna as Pacuvio and Pietro Spagnoli and Macrobio.

Barihunk duo in Rossini Festival's Le siège de Corinthe

Luca Pisaroni, Nino Machaidze and Iurii Samoilov
The barihunk duo of bass-barihunk Luca Pisaroni in Mahomet II and Iurii Samoilov as Omar in Rossini's Le siège de Corinthe. They are joined by John Irvin as Cléomène, Nino Machaidze as Pamyra, Sergey Romanovsky as Néoclès, Carlo Cigni as Hiéros, Xabier Anduaga as Adraste and Cecilia Molinari as Ismène. Performances are on August 10, 13, 16 and 19 and tickets are available online.

The opera premiered at the Salle Le Peletier of the Paris Opéra on October 9, 1826 and was a partial rewrite of the composer's 1820 Italian opera, Maometto II, with exactly the same story and characters. The original version premiered in Naples on December 3, 1820.

The opera commemorates the siege and ultimate destruction of the town of Missolonghi in 1826 by Turkish during the ongoing Greek War of Independence (1821-1829). The reference to Corinth is an example of allegory, although Sultan Mehmed II had indeed besieged the city in the 1450s. This same incident, condemned throughout Western Europe for its cruelty, also inspired a prominent painting by Eugène Delacroix (Greece Expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi), and was mentioned in the writings of Victor Hugo. Lord Byron's 1816 poem The Siege of Corinth has little, if any, connection with the opera.

Luca Pisaroni sings "Sorgete... Duce di tanti eroi" from Maometto II:

On August 15, Pisaroni will also perform a recital of music by Schubert, Liszt and Rossini with Giulio Zappa at the piano. Tickets are available online. He returns to the US in December as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera. He rotates the role with fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien.

Iurii Samoilov returns to his home base at Oper Frankfurt in October as Ned Keene in Britten's Peter Grimes. He remains with the company this season to perform Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosí fan tutte, Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola.