Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexy Don Giovanni with Zach Altman in San José

Cecilia Violetta Lopez as Donna Anna & Zach Altman as Don Giovanni
Every so often there's a Don Giovanni that comes along where one can actually believe the sexual conquests listed in Leoporello's catalog aria. (In Italy, six hundred and forty; In Germany, two hundred and thirty-one; A hundred in France; in Turkey, ninety-one; But in Spain already one thousand and three).

Such is the case with Zach Altman's sexy and shirtless portrayal at the San José Opera. Regular readers will recall a photo of Altman in a towel that we ran, which for almost a year was one of our most clicked on photos. That photo ran four years ago and Altman still looks great, but he has also emerged into one of the most compelling entertainers and singers on stage.

By the way, the catalog aria in this production is sung by Eugene Brancoveanu, who has also appeared shirtless on this site. There are two casts for Don Giovanni, and Altman can be seen on April 19, 24, 27 and May 2. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

He was also featured in this article from the San José Mercury News where he discusses the role and his time on the roster at the San José Opera. 

Altman has been a resident artist at the San José Opera for the last two years, where he has sung Zurga in Bizet's Pearl Fishers, Dr. Falke Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Count Di Luna in Verdi's Il trovatore, and the title role in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.

Altman can next be seen this summer at the Caramoor Festival as Astolfo in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia opposite soprano Angela Meade and Marullo in Verdi's Rigoletto.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kyle Ketelsen's Easter Messiah to be broadcast worldwide

Kyle Ketelsen as Méphistophélès (right)
American barihunk Kyle Ketelsen will make his debut with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in a special Easter version of Handel's Messiah that his being broadcast worldwide.

The concert from Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah will be performed live on Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19 at 7:30 PM MDT. The Friday performance will be available live online and then for free on-demand until midnight on Monday, April 21st.

Ketelsen, who has become the preeminent Escamillo in the world, is not new to oratorios. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with Haydn’s Creation with the Oratorio Society of New York and repeated the work with Music of the Baroque in Chicago. His concert repertoire also includes the Verdi Requiem, Brahms' Deutsches Requiem, Fauré's Requiem, Dvorák's Te Deum, the Bach St. Matthew and St. John Passions and the Mozart C-Minor Mass.

From June 20-28 he returns to the opera stage in his signature role of Escamillo at the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. In September, he returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Leporello opposite the Don Giovanni of fellow barihunk Mariusz Kwiecien.

Reader Submission: Ola Eliasson

Ola Eliasson as Don Giovanni (photo: Markus Gårder)
Ola Eliasson as Don Giovanni with Sara Widén as Zerlina
(Photo: Markus Gårder

A reader in Stockholm recently saw Ola Eliasson in the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni and weas surprised that the Swedish barihunk had never been featured on the site. Well, that's an omission that we're more than happy to rectify. 
Eliasson originally studied percussion, guitar, French horn and piano at the Royal College of Music before settling on vocal studies. We're not sure how he's slipped past our eagle eyes, as he's been a member of the Royal Opera ensemble since 1997, singing such roles as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro), Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, Figaro in Rossini's Barber of Seville Olivier in Richard Strauss' Capriccio, Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème.
Ola Eliasson sings Grieg's "Jeg elsker Dig":
His career has been predominantly on the stages of Sweden including appearances with the Göteborg Opera and Drottningholm Court Theater
There are two performances of Don Giovanni remaining at the Royal Opera on April 22 and 27, and then it returns to the repertory in the Fall.  This summer, he can be been seen as Alberich in Wagner's Das Rheingold at the Dalhalla Opera Festival form August 8-17. 

You can follow him on Twitter @Ola_Eliasson.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reader Submission: Aimery Lefèvre

Aimery Lefèvre
Our latest reader submission is 30-year-old French barihunk Aimery Lefèvre. A reader notified us after buying tickets for the world premiere of Philippe Hurel's Les Pigeons D'Argile at the Théâtre du Capitole, in which Lefèvre is singing Toni. Performances run from April 15-22 and additional information is available online.

Lefèvre studied piano and organ performance as well as singing at the Centre de Musique Baroque in Versailles, where he specialized in 17th- and 18th-century music performance. He continued his education at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Lyon under the direction of Brian Parsons, and then became a member of the Paris Opera’s Atelier Lyrique.

His debut was the male title role in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas under the direction of Kenneth Weith. In 2010,  he made his Paris Opera as Fiorello in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, as well as Momus in Rameau’s Platée, the latter under the baton of Marc Minkowski. He returned in 2011 to sing Curio in Handel's Giulio Cesare and in 2012 to sing Arcas and Parque in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie.

This summer, Lefèvre heads to Santiago, Chile where he will sing Frédérick in Delibes' Lakme. Performances run from July 5-14 and tickets are available online

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Andrew Lovato stars in Santa Fe Opera spring tour

Andrew Lovato and the Spring Tour singers
Barihunk Andrew Lovato is hitting the road for the 2014 Santa Fe Opera Spring Opera Tour. He'll be joining former apprentices Abigail Mitchell, Rachel Hall, Joshua Dennis and legendary coach Kirt Pavitt in bringing opera to the backroads of New Mexico, Texas and Colorado.

The traveling opera troupe will perform a new piece called “True North,” which explores the relationship of the young singers whose characters were featured in Written in the Stars and Avastar, the original operas performed on previous tours.

The popular Spring Opera Tour has been going on for about 20 years bringing opera to students and families who might not otherwise experience live opera. The tour began yesterday in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and travels to Lubbock, Texas for a performance on Sunday. Over the next three weeks they'll travel to Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Albuquerque, Pagosa Springs, Farmington, Socorro and Moriarty.

Andrew Lovato sings Wagners "Der Engel" from the Wesendonck Lieder:

Andrew Lovato has participated in young artist programs with Santa Fe Opera and Central City Opera where he performed and covered roles in Morrison's Oscar, Offenbach's La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein, Puccini's La Bohéme, Oklahoma and Mozart's Don Giovanni.  He is currently in the young artist program at the Minnesota Opera.

The Waukesha, Wisconsin native received his Bachelor of Music in Voice from Lawrence University and a Master of Music in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he performed roles in Stravinsky's The Rake’s Progress, Mozart's Marriage of Figaro, Britten's Peter Grimes, Robert Ward's The Crucible and Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ryan McKinny returns to Los Angeles as Stanley Kowalski

Ryan McKinny
If there was any doubt left that Ryan McKinny has emerged as a major talent it was erased with the announcement that he'll sing Stanley Kowalski opposite megastar Renée Fleming in Andrè Previn's Streetcar Named Desire at the Los Angeles Opera. It also cements his budding reputation as a major barihunk, adding the notoriously sexy Stanley to his growing list of barihunk roles that includes Hercules, Escamillo and Jochanaan.

McKinny truly emerged last summer as the Dutchman in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer at the Glimmerglass Festival under the direction of Francesca Zambello. McKinny's Dutchman was the sexiest portrayal of that role in operatic history and it worked masterfully. Regular readers know that we consider Zambello the "Queen Mother" of barihunks for her early and enthusiastic concept of casting baritones as not just villains and angry fathers, but as genuine sex symbols.

Ryan McKinny as the Dutchman
Streetcar Named Desire is being performed in a semi-staged concert production under the baton of Patrick Summers. The cast also includes the riveting tenor Anthony Dean Griffey as Blanche’s guileless suitor Mitch and the wonderful soprano Stacey Tappan as Stella. Performances are on May 18, 21 and 24 and tickets are available online.

It's nice to see Ryan McKinny return to the LA Opera, as it's the company that provided him many opportunities early in his career. He debuted there in 2008 as Montano in Verdis's Otello, and subsequently appeared as the Servant in Ullmann's The Broken Jug, Dr. Grenvil in Verdi's La Traviata, Don Basilio in Rossini's Barber of Seville and Leone in Handel's Tamerlano.

He can currently be seen in two productions at the Houston Grand Opera. He's currenlty singing Donner in Wagner's Das Rheingold, also conducted by Patrick Summers, which runs from April 11-26 and then he switches to Escamillo in Bizet's  Carmen from April-May 10. McKinny is a former participant with the Houston Grand Opera Studio. (We should also mention that you don't want to miss Stefan Margita as Loge in Rheingold. His is the definitive performance!).

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Releases from Canadian barihunks Phillipe Sly and Jonathan Estabrooks

Two of our favorite Canadian barihunks have released CDs this week. They are strikingly different in repertory, but equally enjoyable.

The ridiculously talented Philippe Sly has released "In Love’s Minstrels" with accompanist Michael McMahon. They perform English music from the late 19th and early 20th century by Healey Willan, John Ireland, Roger Quilter, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst.

You can listen to the CD at the CBC website, but if you're logging in from outside Canada you'll have to create a free login (it took us 20 seconds and was worth it!).

Jonathan Estabrooks has released his album, which he funded throught Kickstarter. "These Miles" mixes classical, pop and classic musical theater, 'These Miles.' He's joined by the Macedonia Radio Orchestra in everything from Neil Diamond's Play Me to the Canadian folk song Away from the Roll of the Sea. You can preview it at CD Baby