Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Luis Alejandro Orozco makes Florentine Opera debut as Barber

Luis Alejandro Orozco
Barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco will make his Florentine Opera debut in Milwaukee as the title character in Rossini's The Barber of Seville on May 5th and 7th. He'll be joined in the cast by Taylor Stayton as Almaviva, Katrina Thurman as Berta, Peter Volpe as Basilio, Andrew Wilkowske as Bartolo and Spanish mezzo-soprano Carol Garcia making her U.S. debut as Rosina. The production will be conducted by Joseph Rescigno, who is now the longest-serving principal conductor in opera.

Tickets are available online

Orozco has racked up a number of other company debuts over the last two year, including with the Arizona Opera, Anchorage Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Baltimore, and Urban Arias. He previously sang the The Barber of Seville with Syracuse Opera.

He returns to his signature role of El Payador in Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires at the Mill City Summer Opera from July 14-20. Tickets go on sale on May 8th.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Barihunks have good night at Lotte Lenya competition

Bradley Smoak, Michael Hewitt, Tony Potts & Philip Kalmanovitch
Bass-barihunk Bradley Smoak walked away with the $20,000 Grand Prize at this year's Lotte Lenya Competition. Smoak's winning set included Kurt Weill's  “This is the Life” from Love Life, “Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni” from Bellini's La sonnambula, “Higher Than a Hawk” from Calamity Jane, and “Me” from Beauty and the Beast.

It was a good year all around for barihunks, as Tony Potts and former barihunks calendar models Philip Kalmanovitch and Michael Hewitt also were awarded $3000 Special Prizes.

Bradley Smoak's winning set:

Contestants were required to prepare four selections: an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one from the pre-1968 "Golden Age" and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill.

Philip Kalmanovitch at the Lotte Lenya competition:

Michael Hewitt at the Lotte Lenya competition:

Tony Potts  at the Lotte Lenya competition:


Held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.

Previous winners of the Lotte Lenya competition will be familiar to our readers, including barihunks Lucas Meachem, Liam Bonner and Jonathan Michie, Doug Carpenter, as well as tenor Noah Stewart.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Daniel Okulitch to reprise role in Dead Man Walking

Daniel Okulitch and J'Nai Bridges
Canadian bass-barihunk Daniel Okulitch is returning to both his native country and a familiar role this month. He'll be reprising his highly-acclaimed interpretation of accused killer Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Vancouver Opera from April 29-May 7.

He has performed the role with the Fort Worth Opera and in the Canadian premiere at the Calgary Opera. In this production, he'll be joined by J'Nai Bridges as Sister Helen Prejean, Karen Slack as Sister Rose, Judith Forst as Mrs. Patrick De Rocher and Thomas Goerz as Owen Hart. Tickets are available online.

The opera is based on the bestselling memoir by Sister Helen Prejean and chronicles the story of a convicted Louisiana murderer who is befriended by a Catholic nun seeking to understand the nature of divine forgiveness. Prejean's memoir was the basis for the award-winning 1995 film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn

You can listen to Daniel Okulitch on CBC radio talking about his career and favorite music.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Barihunk Edward Miskie pens humorous cancer survivor memoir

Edward Miskie
Barihunk calendar model Edward Miskie has authored "Cancer, Musical Theatre, & Other Chronic Illnesses,"  which he launched tonight in Chelsea.

Miskie is not only a singer, actor (and calendar model), but a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A course of treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provided the inspiration for the book, which was written four years after he was declared cancer free.

A chance encounter with a fellow survivor prompted him to begin writing his "as-funny-as-cancer-can-be memoir." The book touches on the farce that is cancer treatment, the circus that is the healthcare system we face, and the challenges that face you even after you are told you are cancer free all framed in the content of musicals.

It is currently published in hard copy and on Kindle and Amazon. Visit www.cancermusicaltheatrebook.com or follow @CMTBook.


Listen to Jarrett Ott sing from Pearl Fishers on WUNC

Jarrett Ott
WUNC host Frank Stasio previewed the North Carolina Opera's upcoming performance of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers with barihunk Jarrett Ott and tenor John Bellemer on his National Public Radio broadcast. The two singers joined company general director Eric Mitchko for a discussion of the production and they then joined accompanist Sahar Nouri for a live studio performance of the famous duet.

You can listen to the interview, Zurga's aria and the famous tenor/baritone duet on WUNC's website

The remainder of the cast includes soprano Talise Trevigne as Leïla and Jordan Bisch as Nourabad. There are performances on Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m. and Saturday April 30 at 3 p.m. at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available online.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aaron Sørensen pitches Sparafucile on Midday Mississippi

Aaron Sørensen from the Barihunks calendar
Barihunk calendar model Aaron Sorensen appeared on Midday Mississippi on WLBT Channel 3 in Jackson along with soprano Rachel Arky. The duo were were pitching their "one night only" performance of Verdi's Rigoletto in which they perform the brother and sister duo of Sparafucile and Maddalena.

The rest of the cast includes barihunk Corey Crider, Hanna Brammer as Gilda, Cody Laun as the Duke of Mantua and Taylor Hightower as Monterone.


There is a single performance on April 22 at the Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson at 7:30 PM. You won't want to miss Sørensen's glorious Low F! Tickets are available online.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gay-themed "Les Feluettes" gets two revivals

Étienne Dupuis and Jean-Michel Richer
Australian composer Kevin March and Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard's opera Les Feluettes (Lilies), which had its world premiere last year at Opéra de Montréal, will now be presented at Pacific Opera Victoria and the Edmonton Opera.

The production opens at Pacific Opera Victoria on April 20 and runs through April 30.  Barihunk Étienne Dupuis will reprise the lead role of Young Simon Doucet and hunkentenor Jean-Michel Richer will return as the Count Vallier de Tilly, who is in love with Simon. Tickets are available online.

The opera is based on the play, which tells the story of the confession of an aging prisoner to a bishop. Through the confession we learn that the bishop and the prisoner were part of a gay love triangle and that the bishop was responsible for the death of a young man many years ago. The play was was made into a film called Lilies, which was directed by John Greyson. All of the roles in the opera, including the female roles of La Comtesse Marie-Laure de Tilly and Mademoiselle Lydie-Anne de Rozier, are sung by men as the story is told by actors in an all-male prison. 

Zachary Read (left) and Jean-Michel Richer and Etienne Dupuis (right)
The term Feluette is a Quebec expression with its root in the word fluet, (thin, frail in appearance) which, in common parlance of the time, referred to men who were weak, frail, or effeminate.

Edmonton Opera will present the piece from October 21-27 with barihunk Zachary Read as Young Simon and Jean-Michel Richer returning as the Count Vallier de Tilly.

Jonathan McGovern making two major debuts

Jonathan McGovern
Barihunk Jonathan McGovern is making a major role and house debut this season, beginning with his first performance of the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao.

The opera tells the story of Orfeo's descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. It was written in 1607 for a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua and is considered the earliest opera that is still regularly performed. Performances are on May 5th and 6th and tickets are available online.

This summer, he will make his company debut with the Garsington Opera in the title role of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Andrea Carroll will sing the role of Mélisande and Paul Gay is Golaud. The British singer performed the role last season with English Touring Opera. Performances run from June 16th through July 7th and tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dmitri Hvorostovsky cancels upcoming concert


The following notice appeared on the website of the National Concert Hall where barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky was scheduled to perform on April 29th.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky deeply regrets that he must cancel his recital due to a change in the schedule for his cancer treatments.
Information about the concert has been removed from the Hvorostovsky’s official website, but his manager says that the Russian singer still plans on performing in a gala concert in Toronto on April 25th along with soprano Anna Netrebko and her husband tenor Yusif Eyvazov.

Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2015 and subsequently cancelled concerts in Kaliningrad, Minsk and Vienna, as well as performances in the Met's current production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. He was replaced by fellow barihunks Peter Mattei and Mariusz Kwiecien.

Richard Tucker Foundation awards barihunk John Chest career grant

John Chest
Barihunk John Chest is on a roll, having recently been named as the U.S. representative at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in June 2017 and closing the Opera Philadelphia season opposite his wife Layla Claire in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. To top that off, he was just awarded a $10,000 2017 Richard Tucker Career Grant along with bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee and baritone Anthony Clark Evans.

The top prize of $50,000 went to soprano Nadine Sierra. Winners of the $5,000 Sara Tucker Award went to countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, tenor Alexander McKissick, bass-baritone Christian Pursell, bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum, mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, tenor Jack Swanson, and soprano Vanessa Vasquez.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Rare barihunk trio in Puccini's Tosca

Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Marco Vratogna and Douglas Williams
Puccini operas aren't known for great baritone roles, like Verdi or Wagner, and certainly not a lot of great barihunk roles. Gianni Schicchi is a dying old man, Michele is an old barge operator, Jack Rance is the law and order town sheriff with his eye on the girl, Scarpia is usually played as a lecherous old police chief and The Bonze is usually a despicable old relative.

The only Puccini opera where we regularly get one and sometimes two barihunks is La bohème where the young Parisians often include a sexy Marcello and lower-voice Colline. So imagine our delight when we learned that the online broadcast of the composer's Tosca would include the barihunk trio of Marco Vratogna as Scarpia, Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Cesare Angelotti and Douglas Williams as Sciarrone. We've always liked the idea of a younger Scarpia, as it adds some sexual tension to the Act II "seduction" scene with Tosca.

The trio will join Kristine Opolais as Tosca and Marcelo Alvarez as Mario Cavaradossi for the Berlin Philharmonic's fifth visit to the Easter Festival of the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

The performance will be on Arte TV for free starting on April 17th.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Introducing bass-barihunk Jake Stamatis in Hydrogen Jukebox

Jake Stamatis in Trouble in Tahiti (left)
A reader alerted us to the fact that we've never posted bass-barihunk Jake Stamatis, who is opening next week in Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, New York. He'll be joined in the cast by Stacey Geyer, Abigail Smith, Mary Beth Nelson, Jordan Schreiner and Scott Purcell.

Stamatis is a native of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania and received his Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance at Susquehanna University and his Masters Degree in Opera at Binghamton University. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Tri-Cities Opera where he's also sining the Marquese d’Obingy in Verdi's La traviata and Don Iñigo Gomez in Ravel's L’Heure Espagnol. He recently appeared with Opera Ithaca as Abdul in Kamala Sankaram's Thumbprint.

Other roles in his repertory include Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Frosch in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Taddeo in Rossini's L’Italiana in Algeri, Sam in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and and Anthony in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

Performances of Hydrogen Jukebox are on April 21, 23, 28 and 30 with performances at Savoca Hibbitt Hall in Binghamton. Tickets and additional information is available online.

This is also our first post highlighting Tri-Cities Opera, with our only mention of the company being Brandon Coleman singing Mephistopheles in their production of Gounod's Faust.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Michael Travis Risner in Le nozze di Figaro in Greeley, Colorado

Michael Travis Risner working out and backstage for Marriage of Figaro
Michael Travis Risner, who has appeared on our site in Boulder Opera's productions of Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Mozart's Don Giovanni, will be performing Figaro in the University of Northern Colorado Opera Theatre production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro on April 15th in Greeley.

The company will be performing on both April 14 and April 15 with separate casts. He'll be joined by Alberto Beltran as the Count, Meggie Moyer as the Countess, Katie Warner as Susanna, Zecheriah Oswald as Bartolo, April Phillips as Marcellina, Margaret Siegrist as Cherubino and Sean Stephenson as Basilio.

Risner received his Masters in Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Colorado State University. He has been appearing on the stages of Colorado's Front Range for the past 20 years as a singer, actor, director, and stage combat instructor and choreographer (his resume even lists "fitness model").  He has performed the title role in Monostatos in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Dancaire in Bizet's Carmen, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Eddie/Dr. Scott in Rocky Horror Live!, Lancelot in Camelot, Anatoly in Chess and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Footloose (Chuck).

A bit of trivia about Greeley, which was was named after Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, who came to Colorado in the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush. His trip popularized the phrase "Go West, young man"

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

¡Figaro! (90210) returns to NY after successful L.A. run

Luke Scott (left) and David Castillo (right) (Photo Maria Baranova)
After sold-out performances on both coasts, ¡Figaro! (90210) is back at The Duke on 42nd Street in New York's Times Square until April 23rd.

The opera is an updated and rewritten version of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro about class and power. The piece is set in present-day Los Angeles (with a Trump Tower gag thrown in for New York audiences) and filled with pop references,  contemporary slang and includes current topics like immigration reform and income inequality. 

David Castillo, who we recently featured in his successful run as Anthony Hope in Townsend Opera's Sweeney Todd, will reprise the role of the stoner Atzuko. (Don't miss our interview with him). He's joined by barihunk Luke Scott as Paul Conti, hunkentenor Michael Kuhn as Basel, Jose Adan Perez as Figaro, actor Christin Byrdsong as Lil B-Man, Ethan Herschenfeld as Babayan, Lori Mirabal as Donna, Sahoko Sato Timpone as Ms. Soon-Yi Nam, Emma Grimsley as Barbara Conti, Raquel Suarez-Groen  as Roxanne Conti and Samarie Alicia as Susana.

 
Actor Christin Byrdsong (Photo Maria Baranova)

The libretto is in English and "Spanglish" and is about the undocumented workers Figaro and Susana who can't wait to get married. On their way to the altar they have to navigate a world of lecherous bosses, Botoxed starlets, bumbling human traffickers, ambitious hip-hoppers, and pothead gardeners in a wild adventure that recasts the classic opera as a madcap comedy about citizenship in today's America. 

Tickets are available at Figaro90210.com where you can use the discount code "GOGOFIGARO."  

Castillo next appears as the Doctor and Shepherd in Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande with the Cleveland Orchestra from May 2-6 under the baton of Franz Welser-Most. Fellow barihunks Elliot Madore and Hanno Müller-Brachmann will sing the roles of Pelleas and Golaud respectively. Tickets are available online.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Barihunk Ildebrando d’Arcangelo to appear on San Francisco Giants' homefield

Ildebrando d’Arcangelo and AT&T Park
Ildebrando d’Arcangelo will appear on the Jumbotron as Don Giovanni at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. The live telecast is part of the San Francisco Opera's successful Opera at the Ballpark series.

Up to 30,000 are expected to attend the June 30th live broadcast from the War Memorial Opera House. Audience members can picnic on the field while watching the opera or watch from the stands. The event is free, but attendees will have to register online.

Ildebrando d’Arcangelo sings Deh vieni alla finestra from Don Giovanni:


The Opera in the Ballpark experience is one of the many ways the San Francisco Opera has used to broaden the reach of opera. Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, will be joined in the cast by Erin Wall, Ana María Martinez, Stanislas de Barbeyrac and Marco Vinco. The opera will be conducted by Marc Minkowski in his San Francisco Opera debut and will be directed Jacopo Spirei in his San Francisco debut.

The San Francisco Opera summer season will also include Puccini’s La Bohème and Verdi’s Rigoletto with Quinn Kelsey in the title role.

Barihunk Thomas Tatzl to make Vienna Opera debut

Thomas Tatzl
Austrian barihunk Thomas Tatzl will be making his Vienna State Opera debut this winter as Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. He'll be joined by fellow barihunk Rene Pape as Sarastro, Jörg Schneider as Tamino, Olga Bezsmertna as Pamina and Hila Fahima as the Queen of the Night.

Performances will run from December 22-29, including a performance on Christmas Day.

You don't have to wait to see him as Papageno, as he'll be performing in Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro Regio di Torino from May 16-18 with Ekaterina Sadovnikova as Pamina, Alessandro Scotto di Luzio as Tamino and Marigona Querkezi as the Queen of the Night.

Thomas Tatzl & Caterina di Tonno sing the duet from Die Zauberflöte:

This season, he's performed Ford in Verdi's Falstaff at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari and Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte in Ravenna, Novara and Piacenza. From September 22-October 1, he'll sing Count Almaviva in Jonathan Miller's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lee Gregory in Southern California premiere of As One

Baritone Lee Gregory
Lee Gregory is the latest barihunk to take on the role of Hannah, the transgender protagonist of Laura Kaminsky's groundbreaking opera As One. Gregory will play "Hannah before" and Danielle Marcelle Bond will portray "Hannah after" in Long Beach Opera's production directed by David Schweizer. This will be the first performance in Southern California. 

Performances will be on May 13, 20 and 21 and tickets are available online. There will be a pre-opera talk with Artistic Director Andreas Mitisek one hour before each performance.

Kaminsky was inspired to write As One 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.

As One provides insights into both the personal and philosophical questions at the core of how personhood is defined, as well as into the compromised civil and humans rights of transgender individuals in the broader societal framework.

Barihunk duo lead Opera Philadelphia's Marriage of Figaro

John Chest as Billy Budd in Berlin
Opera Philadelphia's season comes to a close with a new production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro starring barihunks John Chest and Brandon Cedel from April 28-May 7. This is a new co-production, which premiered last year at Lyric Opera of Kansas City and next travels to San Diego Opera and Palm Beach Opera.

John Chest will be performing with his wife soprano Layla Claire, both of whom are making their company debuts. They will be singing the bickering Count and Countess Almaviva. Joining them as Figaro is bass-barihunk Brandon Cedel, whose last appearance on the Academy of Music stage was in the East Coast premiere of Kevin Puts's award-winning Silent Night.

Brandon Cedel
Chest and Cedel will be joined by Cecelia Hall as Cherubino, Patrick Carfizzi as Dr. Bartolo, Lucy Schaufer as Marcellina, Jason Ferrante as Don Basilio, Ashly Milanese as Barbarina, Ying Fang as Susanna and Thomas Shivone as Antonio. Tickets are available online.

Chest will represent the United States at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in June 2017.

American barihunk Edward Nelson to make European debut

Edward Nelson and Ingeborg Gillebo
American barihunk Edward Nelson will make his European debut at the Norwegian National Opera on April 7th in the title role of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

Pelléas et Mélisande was the composer’s only opera and is based on the Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck’s play of the same name. The story is about lost love and forbidden relationships.

Remarkably, this will be the first time that the opera has ever been performed at the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. The new production will be directed by Australian Simon Stone, who takes the audience into a closed, tightly-controlled world of dark family secrets, deep chasms, and light, young love.

There are six performances, which run until April. 30th. Ingeborg Gillebo will sing Mélisande every night except opening night, when the role will be sung by Susanna Hurrell. Paul Gay will sing Golaud. Tickets are available online.

Nelson, who just finished his two-year stint at the prestigious Adler Fellow Program under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera, will perform the title role of Hamlet with West Edge Opera in Ambroise Thomas' opera from August 5-19. Fellow barihunk Kenneth Kellogg will appear as the ghost.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

John Brancy live stream of WWI centennial commemoration

John Brancy and Peter Dugan
On April 6th, barihunk John Brancy and accompanist Peter Dugan will perform selections from their upcoming album at In Sacrifice For Liberty and Peace at the centennial commemoration of the U.S. entry into World War I.

The event is hosted by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City and will be live streamed on C-SPAN on Thursday, April 6th at 10 AM EST/7 AM PST. The Defense Media Agency will also broadcast the ceremony live to the U.S armed forces and Defense Department Schools internationally.

Brancy will also perform the National Anthem with French and US Aircraft flying overhead. The event also features Kevin Costner, R&B recording artists Billy Cliff and Lisa Fischer and Kansas City Lyric Opera artist Samantha Gossard.

You can click HERE to watch the event live. 



Monday, April 3, 2017

Jacques Imbrailo to sing at gala for soprano's dying husband

Stefano Guidi, Anna Leese and Jacques Imbrailo
South African barihunk Jacques Imbrailo will perform at a gala for Stefano Guidi, the partner of New Zealand soprano Anna Leese. Guidi was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, an aggressive form of motor neurone disease, and given two years to live. He found out about his diagnoisis last April, just days after the birth of their son Matteo.

The 42-year-old Guidi is an Italian wine-maker recently moved to New Zealand to create a new life and build a family with Anna Leese.

Spanish tenor José Carreras and English baritone Sir Thomas Allen are leading the appeal to raise funds for the family, which aims to raise £25,000.

Bass Sion Goronwy, baritones Phillip Rhodes and Philip Smith will also perform, along with Sophie Bevan, Sarah Castle, Alisdair Hogarth, Madeleine Pierard, David Butt Philip and Wendy Dawn Thompson.

You can buy tickets or make a donation online.

Imbrailo will be singing Horatio in Brett Dean's new version of Hamlet this summer at Glyndebourne. from June 11-July 6 with Allan Clayton as Hamlet and barihunk Rod Gilfry as Claudius. Tickets are available online.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Malte Roesner to make North American debut in Vicente Martín y Soler's The Chastity Tree

Malte Roesner photographed in Montreuil-Bellay, France
Barihunk Malte Roesner will make his North American debut in Soler's The Chastity Tree with West Edge Opera from August 6-19.

Despite being born in New York City, Roesner was raised in Germany and has focused his career in Europe. During his decade as a fest singer at the Staatstheater Braunschweig he portrayed more than fifty roles in the baritone repertory. He took some time off to retrain as a basso cantante and auditioned in the United States last year, eventually landing one of the few principle roles for a bass, Doristo in The Chastity Tree. (We've been told that two other U.S. announcements are forthcoming).

The two-time winner of the Richard-Wagner-Foundation scholarship will be joined by an all-star cast led by sopranos Christine Brandes as Cupid and Nikki Einfeld as Diana. The gifted accompanist Robert Mollicone will conduct.


This is Spanish composer Vicente Martín y Soler's most famous work and is also known by its original title L'arbore di Diana. In the last decade, the opera has been performed in Valencia, Barcelona, Madrid, Montpelier (France) and Minneapolis. Barihunks Marco Vinco and Giorgio Caoduro have both sung the role of Doristo.

The piece is of the three operas that he composed during Soler's sojourn at the court in Vienna, with the libretto by Italian Lorenzo Da Ponte, who was also author of three librettos for the Austrian composer Mozart. Da Ponte created a story from a legend that tells the tale of how Diana, the Greek god of chastity, falls in love with the shepherd Endymion. The plot —halfway between pastoral literature and erotic comedy also praises the political openness of the Archduke Joseph II of Austria.

The work was enthusiastically received with 70 performances in the three years after its premiere.

West Edge Opera's summer festival will also include Thomas' Hamlet with barihunk Eddie Nelson and Libby Larsen's Frankenstein with barihunk Josh Quinn. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.


Watch barihunk Marko Mimica in Lucrezia Borgia

Marko Mimica in Valencia's Lucrezia Borgia
You can watch barihunk Marko Mimica with soprano Mariella Devia in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia from the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, Spain online until September 30 2017. Live performances run through April 8th.

Premiered in 1833 at La Scala, Lucrezia Borgia appealed powerfully to Romantic sensibilities for its dark subject matter and somber tone. The masterpiece was fully recognized as one of Donizetti’s finest scores only after the Paris premiere in 1840, which itself sparked some controversy as writer Victor Hugo successfully sued for plagiarism against the French translation of Romani’s libretto that was based on his tragedy.
 
Marko Mimica in Valencia's Lucrezia Borgia

Lucrezia Borgia is a true example of an ensemble opera: it has ten significant roles. The cast also includes William Davenport as Gennaro, Silvia Tro Santafé as Maffio Orsini, Fabián Lara as Liverotto, Andrés Sulbarán as Vitellozzo, Alejandro López as Gazella, Moisés Marín as Rustighello, Andrea Pellegrini as Gubetta Michael Borth as Astolfo and Simone Alberti as Petrucci.

Mimica can next be seen as Oroveso in Bellini's Norma in Verona from April 23-30.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Andrew Garland in two upcoming recitals of American music

Andrew Garland's American Portraits CD and sporting a BARIHUNK t-shirt
We've long maintained that barihunk Andrew Garland is one of the foremost interpreters of new American music. He has two upcoming recitals that will feature this repertory.

The first is on April 6, when he joins soprano Jessica Rivera for the American Pianists Awards Song Recital at the Indiana Historical Society in Indianapolis. Other singers in the series include Alex Beyer, Sam Hong, Henry Kramer, Steven lin and Drew Petersen. Tickets are available online.

The American Pianists Awards are held every four years to discover the best aspiring young American classical pianists. Winners receive cash and two years of career advancement and support valued at over $100,000, making this one of the most coveted prizes in the music world.

Andrew Garland's complete American Portraits recital:

The second recital will be on April 8, 2017 at the Newer Every Day Presbyterian Church of Wyoming in Cincinnati, Ohio. The recital is called Americana: Newer Every Day, named after Jake Heggie's song cycle for soprano. Also on the program is Juliana Hall's Christina's World for soprano.

Garland will perform Tom Cipullo's America 1968 and Steven Mark Kohn's Selections from American Folk Settings.

America 1968 was commissioned and premiered by Andrew Garland in 2008. The song cycle was inspired by the events of 1968 in America, including two assassinations, the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, Apollo 8 orbiting the moon and the black power salute of John Carlos and Tommie Smith on the medal-stand of the Mexico City Olympics. The texts by poet Robert Hayden include Monet's Water Lilies, Hey Nonny No, The Point, The Whipping, Those Winter Sundays and Frederick Douglass.

Garland has suggested that Steven Mark Kohn's Selections from American Folk Settings is the most important setting of old American songs since Copland. Kohn is an award-winning composer of children's films and director of the electronic music studio at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The set includes the light-hearted The Bachelor's Lay, the story of a young man who ignores a father's advice to avoid a career in coal-mining, the humorous The Farmer's Curst Wife and The Ocean Burial, which captures the flavor of the California Gold Rush.

If you can't make the concerts, you can enjoy Andrew Garland's two recordings of American songs, including American Portraits and American Folk Song Settings.

Sly in Dallas St Matthew Passion; Barihunk Quartet in Strasbourg's Troyens

Philippe Sly mock conducts the Dallas Symphony (left)
Barihunk Philippe Sly is joining an all-star cast for Bach's St. Matthew Passion, which opens tonight with the Dallas Symphony and runs through April 2nd. He'll be joined by baritone Matthias Goerne, mezzo-soprano Christianne Stotijn, tenor James Gilchrist, tenor Werner Güra, soprano Valentina Farcas  and conductor Jaap van Zweden. 

When J. S. Bach came to write his St. Matthew Passion in the 1720s, the passion, as a musical form, had grown to allow orchestra, choirs, and non-scriptural choruses and arias. But even by the standard of the Baroque passion, the Passion According to St. Matthew is exceptional for its musical richness and its grand scope.

Musically, the score is of imposing length, and calls for double orchestra and double choir—three choirs, at one point. The musical textures range from complex counterpoint to simple hymns. Dramatically, the point of view shifts regularly, from the narrative of the Evangelist, to the actual words of Jesus and his disciples, to reflections that speak for the individual believer. But in Bach's hands, the effect that the Passion gives is not one of a brilliant collage, but a single, sustained, somber meditation—appropriate for a work that was first performed as part of a church service.

Philippe Sly sings Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen"

Scholars believe the first performance of the St. Matthew Passion may have been in 1727. It was certainly performed on Good Friday of 1729, and perhaps at several other Good Friday services during Bach's life. It then dropped from public view until 1829, when it was triumphantly revived by Felix Mendelssohn, crystallizing a revival of interest in Bach that grew throughout the 19th century and still continues.

The text of the passion was created by the German writer Christian Henrici, who wrote under the pen name of Picander. Like Bach, he lived in Leipzig, and it is believed that he and Bach worked closely together on the text.

There are three strands in the text: the actual text from the book of Matthew; Picander's own poetry; and the pre-existing hymns, or chorales, which Bach incorporates into the score, which would have been immediately recognizable by his first hearers.

Sly can next be heard as Panthée in Berlioz's epic Les Troyens with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg from April 15-17.  He'll be joined by another all-star cast featuring Joyce DiDonato as Didon, Marie-Nicole Lemieux as Cassandre and a barihunk quartet of Stéphane Degout as Chorèbe, Jérôme Varnier, Nicolas Courjal as Narbal and Sly. 
   

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hampson and Pisaroni back for "No Tenors Allowed"

Thomas Hampson and his son-in-law Luca Pisaroni are taking their "No Tenors Allowed" show to the Wiener Konzerthaus in Austria on April 3rd. The duo has performed the concert worldwide, including in the Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey, Germany and France. Tickets are available online.

The program includes arias and duets from opera and Broadway. Pisaroni will perform Leporello’s catalogue aria from Mozart's Don Giovanni, Non più andrai from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, "Sorgete… Duce di tanti eroi: from Rossini's Maometto II and Rodgers & Hammerstein's Some Enchanted Evening. Hampson will perform Gabey’s song from Bernstein's On the Town, Perfidi!...Pietà, rispetto, amore from Verdi's Macbeth, Komm, Zigány from Gräfin Mariza and "Hai già vinta la causa... Vedrò mentr’io sospiro" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. They will also team up for duets from Mozart's Don Giovanni and a medley of Broadway hits. 

Hampson originally performed the "No Tenors Allowed" format with bass Samuel Ramey in the 1990's, which is available on Teldec.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Barihunk trio returns in Opera San Jose's "La boheme"

Brian James Myer, Colin Ramsey and Matthew Hanscom
Opera San Jose's upcoming performance of Puccini's La boheme will feature the barihunk trio of Matthew Hanscom as Marcello, Colin Ramsey as Colline and Brian James Myer as Schaunard. There will be six performances from April 15-30, including three with budding soprano superstar Julie Adams as Mimi. 

The opera will be updated the end of WWI, when Paris was delirious with optimism for the new century and great artists like Nijinsky, Stravinsky, Picasso and Coco Channel were creating a new way of life in the art's capital of the world.

The barihunk trio also appeared together in Opera San Jose's production of Kevin Puts' Silent Night, with Colin Ramsey as Father Palmer, Brian James Myer as Ponchel and Matthew Hanscom as Matthew Hanscom as Lt. Gordon.

The April 23rd performance will also feature a pre-performance brunch in the elegant courtyard of the California Theatre. Tickets for La boheme and the brunch are available online.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jarrett Ott in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers; Original cast in Hawaii

Jarrett Ott
Barihunk Jarrett Ott will be taking on the role of Charlie in Jake Heggie's Three Decembers at Opera Memphis on April 1st and 8th.  He'll be joined by Cree Carrico as his sister Beatrice and Phyllis Pancella as their mother Madeline Mitchell. The role of Charlie has become a popular vehicle for barihunks, including Keith Phares, Matthew Worth and Jesse Blumberg.

Three Decembers tells the story of a famous stage actress – Madeline Mitchell – and her two adult children: Beatrice and Charlie. Both children resent their mother's long absences on the road and her lack of concern for the tragedies in their lives. Charlie believes his mother is distant because he is gay, even as his partner, Burt, is dying of AIDS. Meanwhile, Beatrice, trapped in an unhappy marriage, feels Madeline resents her enduring affection for their deceased father. As the story unfolds over the decades, long-simmering resentments surface, accusations are hurled, and family secrets revealed, leading ultimately to a hard-won peace and forgiveness for both the living and the dead.

On March 30th, Ott will appear at OUT at the Opera, a preview night for Opera Memphis at Playhouse on the Square from 7-10 PM. The event is intended to connect the opera company with the LGBT community. Tickets for the opera are available online.

Ott next performs Zurga in Bizet's The Pearl Fishers with the North Carolina Opera on April 28th and 30th.

Keith Phares in Three Decembers
A few thousand miles to the west, the Hawaii Opera Theater has assembled the three main cast members from the original 2008 production from the Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera. Barihunk Keith Phares sings Charlie, with Kristin Clayton as his sister Beatrice and the indefatigable Federica von Stade as Madeline.

There are shows remaining on March 29th and 31st, and April 1st.  Tickets are available online. Next up is Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann with Wayne Tigges as the Four Villains, who we just posted about as a last minute substitution in Los Angeles.

Villainous drama at the Los Angeles Opera

Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2017/03/in-la-a-singing-couple-comes-unstuck/#sthash.3NcRpX1C.dpuf
Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2017/03/in-la-a-singing-couple-comes-unstuck/#sthash.3NcRpX1C.dpuf
Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2017/03/in-la-a-singing-couple-comes-unstuck/#sthash.3NcRpX1C.dpuf
Barihunks Wayne Tigges and Steven Labrie
There was a bit of drama at the Los Angeles Opera this weekend when French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice. He was scheduled to sing the Four Villains in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman along with his wife soprano Diana Damrau.

Unfortunately, no substitute was available, so the company called barihunk Wayne Tigges in Chicago and asked him to sing the role. Tigges would only agree if he could use a score, which was accommodated when Testé agreed to lip synch the role from the stage. Tigges hopped on a plane and from our accounts in Los Angeles, Tigges was a huge success with the audience.

The regular cast also includes barihunk Theo Hoffman as Hermann (no relation to the title character).

Additional performances are on April 2, 6, 9 and 15.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Barihunk Thomas Weinhappel first Austrian to win Thalia Award

Thomas Weinhappel in a Barihunk t-shirt and with his Thalia Award
Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel became the first Austrian to win the Thalia Award for his portrayal of the title role in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at the National Opera of Ostrava. Weinhappel won in the category "Best Opera Singer" for a performance at a Czech opera company in 2016.

Judges praised him for "...finding the detailed meanings of words and music, and their allusions to express the complexity of the character the young man crushed by dark family relations."

The Thalia Awards are presented by the Czech Actors' Association and are named after the muse of comedy. Awards are given out for theater, opera, musicals and ballet. Past winners have included Eva Urbanová, Dagmar Pecková and Kate Aldrich.  The award ceremony was broadcast live on Czech television and radio from the Czech National State Opera.

Thomas Weinhappel and Lukáš Bařák in The Rape of Lucretia
He can be seen as Tarquinius with fellow barihunk Lukáš Bařák as Junius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia through April 19th in Ostrava. Tickets and additional performance information is available online.


Seth Carico in Berlin's first "Death in Venice" in 40 years

Seth Carico in Death in Venice at the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Death in Venice has returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin after an absence of forty years as part of conductor Donald Runnicles cycle of Benjamin Britten operas. Barihunk Seth Carico is featured in multiple roles, including the Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondolier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players and the Voice of Dionysus. The rest of the principle cast features Paul Nilon as Gustav von Aschenbach, Tai Oney as Apollo and 25-year-old German actor Rauand Taleb in the critical role of Tadzio.

Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
Benjamin Britten’s last opera was also his most personal. The work is extraordinary not simply for the autobiographical threads that are reflected in Thomas Mann’s ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach; the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work are also inextricably linked to the themes explored. Looking to thwart what he saw as his impending death, Britten took refuge in composition, citing his need to finish the work as a pretext for putting off an urgent heart operation.

Britten expanded the musical theater form into a work of self-reflection that accumulates traditions and former experiences. The use of male sopranos – here for the role of Apollo – dates back to baroque opera but was a common feature of Britten’s early work, with parts being written for the great British countertenors Alfred Deller and James Bowman. The role of Gustav von Aschenbach was the largest created by Britten for his partner Peter Pears, with Aschenbach always at the heart of the proceedings. His casting of a bass to play Aschenbach’s various opponents, all threatening him with death and destruction, is rooted in the narrative tradition of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann.

Paul Nilon, Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
The German premiere of Death in Venice took place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1974.

There are two remaining performances left on April 23 and 28. On April 6th, you can hear Seth Carico as part of the company's Opera Lounge series. Tickets are available online

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Barihunk trio in Mohammed Fairouz's The New Prince

Joshua Hopkins in The New Prince
Last night, the Dutch National Opera premiered Mohammed Fairouz's The New Prince, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the book in 2032. The piece is set in both the past and in the future and features the barihunk trio of Joshua Hopkins as Niccolò Machiavelli, Paulo Szot as Alexander Hamilton, Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney (three very different characters!), and Dominic Kraemer as Prince Saud al-Faisal.

Paulo Szot as Bill Clinton
Besides Machiavelli, it features well-known people of our day, including Henry Kissinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Osama bin Laden, as well as a fantasy world ruler Wu Virtu. Machiavelli’s lover is Fortuna, who is also his publisher. There is even a scene where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fight over a blow-up globe of the world.

Niccoló Machiavelli’s famous book The Prince describes the means that can be used by a dictator in strengthening his position. He can even permit himself lies and deceit, providing he ensures that they do not come to light. The politician/diplomat/writer was way ahead of his time. 

Dominic Kraemer and a scene from The New Prince
The relevance of Machiavelli’s writing to today inspired composer Mohammed Fairouz to write his second opera. The opera's ultimate message of the piece is delivered by Wu Virtu, which is "the end of war is war" and that aggression met with aggression is a only zero-sum game.

There are three remaining performances on March 26, 28 and 29.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Teddy Tahu Rhodes returns as Scarpia; Paull-Anthony Keightley as Sciarrone

Teddy Tahu Rhodes & Paull-Anthony Keightley
Teddy Tahu Rhodes will return to the Western Australia Opera as Scarpia six years after making his role debut in Puccini's "shabby little shocker."  In 2011, conservative Aussie critics didn't respond warmly to Christopher Alden’s dark and modern production, so they've returned to their previous production with set designs by Jan Ubels and costumes by Elizabeth Whiting.

Joining Tahu Rhodes will be soloists soprano Antoinette Halloran as Tosca and tenor Paul O’Neill as Cavaradossi, as well as fellow barihunk Paull-Anthony Keightley as Sciarrone. 

Tosca is on at His Majesty’s Theatre on March 28, 30, April 1, 4, 6, 8. Tickets are available online.

In May, Tahu Rhodes will appear in the U.S. as Daland in Richard Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra along with Marjorie Owens as Senta and Alan Held in the title role. Performances are on May 4 and 6.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Before Night Falls" gets revival in Miami

Wes Mason as Reinaldo Arenas (left) and Elliot Madore (right)
Jorge Martín's opera Before Night Falls will get its first revival since the summer of 2010, when it premiered at the Fort Worth Opera. The Florida Grand Opera will perform the opera from March 18-25 at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House in Miami.

Barihunk Elliot Madore will take over the role of Reinaldo Arenas, which was sung by barihunk Wes Mason in Fort Worth. The only cast member returning from the original production is tenor Javier Abreu, who is reprising the role of Pepe.

Based on the famous memoir of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls follows Arenas’ life from childhood poverty in the Cuban countryside to his emigration to the United States in the 1980 Mariel boatlift, and his last decade in New York City. Disillusioned by the Cuban Revolution and persecuted by the Castro regime as a dissident writer and gay man, the opera follows his trials and tribulations as a political prisoner forced to smuggle his manuscripts abroad for publication.

Wes Mason as Reinaldo Arenas at the Fort Worth Opera
In 2000, Before Night Falls was made into an award-winning feature film directed by Julian Schnabel and starring Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp.

Reinaldo Arenas led a life full of tragedy and didn't live to make any real money off his writing. While dying of AIDS in 1990, he committed suicide in his New York apartment because he did not want return to a hospital.

Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Tristan Hambleton in Haydn's Theresienmesse in London


Tristan Hambleton
Barihunk calendar model Tristan Hambleton will be performing Hayden's Theresienmesse at Cadogan Hall in London on March 23rd. He'll be joined by the City of London Choir, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Grace Davidson, mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby and tenor Nicholas Pritchard.

The concert is part of an ongoing series at Cadogan Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra pairing the great masses of Haydn with Mozart’s late concertos. The program will include Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24, K491 and Tantum Ergo in B flat, K142.

The Theresienmesse is named after Maria Theresa of the Two Sicilies, empress consort of Francis II. The empress herself was the soprano soloist at private performances of both The Creation and The Seasons in May 1801 at the Viennese Court.

The scoring of the mass is a little unusual. Due to a shortage of wind players at Einsenstadt, Austria in 1798 and 1799, the wind section comprises just two clarinets, a bassoon and two trumpets. Haydn skilfully uses this relatively small group to great effect. The mass is a work of marked musical contrasts. Slow, quiet passages, such as the very opening of the Kyrie, are set against vigorous, loud sections like the final pages of the Credo.

Tickets are available online.

The Wall opens in Montreal, heads to Cincinnati and possibly the US/Mexican border?

Étienne Dupuis
Julien Bilodeau's new opera The Wall, which is currently playing at Opéra de Montréal through March 24th, will receive it's U.S. premiere at the Cincinnati Opera next season. The work is written for 10 soloists, 48 ​​singers and 70 musicians.

Founding Pink Floyd singer/bassist Roger Waters revisited the band's classic 1979 concept album The Wall for a massive world tour that ran from 2010 to 2013, and he worked with Bilodeau on the opera to mark Montreal's 375th anniversary. Waters, who has frequently infused politics into his concerts, has hinted at performing The Wall on the U.S./Mexican border to protest Trump's plan to build a wall to stem immigration.

The opera stars Québecois barihunk Étienne Dupuis as Pink, the fallen rock star, who is overprotected by his mother after his father dies in war. Pink goes on to a failed marriage, a rock career and a dabbling in totalitarianism as he becomes consumed with guilt.

The Cincinnati Opera's production is slated for July 2018 in celebration of the $135 million restoration of Cincinnati Music Hall.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Randal Turner premieres "My America, My America"


Composer and violinist Sandra Goldberg, who performs with the Zürich Kammer Orchestra, has composed a piece entitled "My America, My America" as both an act of love of country and an act of frustration at what is happening in the United States. 

Barihunk Randal Turner has recorded the piece along with Robert Hairgrove on piano and the composer on violin.  



Goldberg and Turner go back to 2009, when she hired the Swiss-based American singer to premiere her children's Hanukkah musical "Judah Judah."

Monday, March 13, 2017

Barihunk quartet in Reisoper's Don Giovanni

George Humphreys, Aleš Jenis, Matthias Hoffmann & Lukas Jakobski
The Netherland's innovative Reisoper is presenting Mozart's Don Giovanni with the barihunk quartet of George Humphreys as Leporello, Aleš Jenis as Don Giovanni, Matthias Hoffmann as Masetto & Lukas Jakobski as the Commedatore.

Their new production is seen through the eyes of women who wonder how men got so influenced by this lothario and why other men don't stop him from rape and murder. The concept is the idea of director Jo Davies and the opera will be conducted by Julia Jones. The production is update to the 1970s with bell bottom trousers and colorful wide-lapelled jackets.

 Aleš Jenis sings Don Giovanni's serenade:


Remaining performances are spread around across the country, including March 14th in Maastricht, March 16th and 18th in Zwolle, March 21st in Apeldorn, March 23 in Groningen, March 25th in Arnhem, March 28th in Utrecht, March 30th in Leeuwarden, April 1 in Rotterdam, April 4th in 'S-Hertogenbosch, April 6th in Amstelveen and April 8th in Den Haag. 

Tickets are available online.