Monday, April 27, 2015

Hadleigh Adams in New York's latest indie opera success Orlando

Hadleigh Adams in Orlando (and at rehearsal)
It seems like every season, one of New York's innovative smaller companies produces a show that sets the international opera world on fire. Last season it was Gregory Spears' Paul's Case that Beth Morrison produced and starred barihunk Keith Phares.

This season, the buzz is surrounding R.B. Schlather's innovative opera/art installation of Handel's Alcina at the Whitebox Art Center starring barihunk Hadleigh Adams. The opera, which wrapped up tonight, also included soprano Kiera Duffy and the countertenor Drew Minter in the cast. Last season Schlater scored a huge success with another Handel opera, when he produced Alcina in the same
Hadleigh Adams in Orlando
The innovative director has opened up these rehearsals to the public and live streamed the rehearsals. The rehearsals have become NY mini-social scenes, even attracting Yoko Ono, Justin Vivian Bond and rapper Big Dipper.

Word is that is only the second part of a trilogy, so there will be another chance to catch his latest work next season. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

WatchTeatro Carlo Felice's "Barihunk Trio" live online

John Paul Huckle and the Teatro Carlo Felice "Barihunk Trio"
We recently posted about the barihunk trio in the Teatro Carlo Felice's production of Billy Budd and mentioned that they will be reuniting for Bizet's Carmen. We've now learned that you can watch them live online for FREE on May 8 and 6 PM (GMT) and May 12 at 1 PM (GMT) on their new livestream.

Valdis Jansons will sing Escamillo, John Paul Huckle is perfoming  Zuniga and Ricardo Crampton is taking on Morales. Jansons will be rotating the matador's role with another barihunk, Mattia Olivieri, who proved quite popular with our readers when we first posted about him.

Carmen will be rotated between Sonia Ganassi and Anna Malavasi. The opera opens on May 8th and runs through May 17.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Malte Roesner to star in German adaptation of Heggie opera

Barihunk Malte Roesner and actor Joost Leers
Barihunk Malte Roesner will be performing in the German language premiere of Jake Heggie's chamber opera For a Look or a Touch at the Staatstheater Braunschweig opening on May 2nd.

Based on the true story of two teenage lovers that the Holocaust tore apart forever, the dramatic song cycle For a Look or a Touch casts light on the fate of gay Germans in the Holocaust. The libretto, written by Heggie's frequent collaborator Gene Scheer, juxtaposes the exuberant freedom of pre-World War II Berlin with the brutal Nazi horrors that followed, while making an impassioned plea for remembrance.

Coming out of retirement to portray Gad Beck, an eighty year old gay survivor of the Holocaust, is famed German actor Jost Leers.  Gad Beck is an 80-year-old survivor of the Holocaust who is haunted by the memories of his first love Manfred, who died in a concentration camp at age 19.

The piece will be performed along with Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Another Sunrise, a 17-minute music drama performed by chamber quintet and soprano. The two Heggie pieces with be performed with  Ilse, the story Ilse Koch, the wife of a camp commandant at Buchenwald, with text taken from the original trials.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Michael Mayes in rarely performed opera by Ethel Smith

Michael Mayes in Dead Man Walking (right)
Barihunk Michael Mayes will sing the role of the Lighthouse keeper Lawrence in the first fully-staged performance of Dame Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers at Bard SummerScape. 

Dame Ethel Smyth was a Victorian-born Englishwoman, and a bisexual suffragette who was marginalized by the music community. Although her one-act opera Der Wald has the distinction of remaining the only work by a female composer ever produced at the Metropolitan Opera, The Wreckers has never been staged in the United States. The production will be directed by European Opera Prize-winner Thaddeus Strassberger.

It was a local legend about the sea, heard on vacation in Cornwall, that provided Smyth with the inspiration for her third and finest opera. Composed to a libretto by her friend and lover Henry Brewster, The Wreckers depicts the nefarious Cornish coastal practice of luring ships onto the rocks to plunder them. Conflict arises in a remote village community for which, under the leadership of Pastor Pascoe, such wrecking constitutes an act of religious faith. Pitted against this community are Pascoe’s young wife Thirza and her lover Mark, who conspire to save the ships by kindling secret beacons to guide them. Caught red-handed, the lovers are tried by a village tribunal and condemned to die in a sea-filled cave.  

Michael Mayes with barihunks Wes Mason and John Boehr
The first full-length opera by an English composer to use native setting and folklore, The Wreckers (1902-04) marked the nation’s most important contribution to the genre since the time of Purcell. Thanks to the muscular vigor of Smyth’s writing, it was considered by Sir Thomas Beecham, conductor of its London premiere, as “one of the three or four English operas of real musical merit and vitality.” 

The opera will be performed at Bard’s Hudson Valley campus in the Frank Gehry-designed Fisher Center.  The Wreckers’ will be performed on July 24, 26, 29, 31 and August 2 and will feature the American Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of music director Leon Botstein.

If you can't wait until this summer to hear Mayes, you can catch him tonight at the Theatre of Dreams Gala for the Central City Opera. On May 15, he opens as Escamillo in La Tragédie de Carmen with Opera Delaware.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

English National Opera rolling out a season of barihunks

Morgan Pearse and Barnaby Rea
The English National Opera has announced its new season and they have enough barihunks featured to start a small men's chorus.

Lovers of ginger barihunks won't want to miss Rossini's Barber of Seville, which features Aussie Morgan Pearse in the title role and Barnaby Rea as Don Basilio. Andrew Shore returns in this Jonathan Miller production in his signature role of Bartolo, while Kathryn Rudge sings Rosina and the gifted young tenor Eleazor Rodriguez takes on Count Almaviva. There will be ten performances beginning on September 28th.

Ashley Riches, Nicholas Masters and Duncan Rock
Beginning October 16th, ENO will feature a barihunk trio in fourteen performances of Puccini's La bohéme. Duncan Rock, who is easily one of the most popular barihunks on this site, will sing Marcello. He'll be joined by the Colline of Ashley Riches and Nicholas Masters as Schaunard. Zach Borichevsky will sing Rodolfo, Corinne Winters sings Mimi and Rhian Lois sings Musetta. The opera will be directed by Benedict Andrews. Fans of Duncan Rock in the US can catch his American debut in the title role of Don Giovanni, running from May 1-10 with the Boston Lyric Opera.

George von Bergen
ENO Harewood Young Artist George von Bergen will sing Sharpless in Anthony Minghella's award-winning production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. The British singer studied at the University of Bristol, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio in London, before going on to win the Royal Overseas League singing competition. He has performed with the Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Garsington Opera, and made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music with Sir Andrew Davis.

Other operas in the upcoming season include Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Mozart's The Magic Flute, Bellini's Norma, Verdi's The Force of Destiny, Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, Glass' Akhnaten, Janacek's Jenufa and Wagner's Tristan and Isolde

If you can't wait until the new season, you can check out barihunk Leigh Melrose as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, which runs from May 20-June 3. Visit the ENO website for complete cast list and ticket information.

Reader Submission: Eric Broker

Eric Broker
Our latest Reader Submission is 21-year-old bass-barihunk Eric Broker, who is a senior at St. Olaf College and a Communications and Social Media Intern with the Minnesota Opera. He performed his senior recital on April 11th, which you can watch online. He performed music by Handel, Poulenc, Mozart, Bolcom and others.

Broker recently won the Minnesota National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition and was a finalist the Schubert Club Song Competition last year. He is currently a member of the Minnesota Opera Chorus and is preparing for graduate school.

While at St. Olaf,  he sang the roles of Voltaire/Dr. Pangloss in Bernstein's Candide, Superintendent Budd in Britten's Albert Herring, Carl Olson in Weill's Street Scene, and the title role in James McKeel's Fabrizio's Comet, a world premiere opera. He has also performed Handel's Messiah with the Canon Valley Orchestra and patriotic anthems with the Northfield Band.

Broker is also a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, which is indicative of superior attainment in music, together with the personal qualifications pertaining to an outstanding exponent of the art. Membership acknowledges personal integrity, leadership, open-mindedness and intellectual stamina throughout one's time at St. Olaf College.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Barihunk trio in Billy Budd and Carmen at Teatro Carlo Felice

Billy Budd at Teatro Carlo Felice with barihunks Ricardo Crampton, John Paul Huckle and Valdis Jansons       (Photo on left ©MarcelloOrselli)
We managed to get the three barihunks appearing in Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd at the Teatro Carlo Felice to pose for a backstage photo before a recent performance. Valdis Jansons is rotating the title role with Phillip Addis, while Ricardo Crampton performs the role of A Novice and John Paul Huckle sings Dansker for the entire run.

The production directed by Davide Livermore has been praised for turning the stage into a ship and lowering and rising the sets to create a sense of navigation. There is one remaining performance left on April 23. You can also watch a video of Phillip Addis discussing the role of Billy Budd.

If you can't make it to Billy Budd, you can still catch the barihunk trio in the Teatro Carlo Felice's upcoming production of Carmen, where Jansons will sing Escamillo, Huckle performs Zuniga and Crampton takes on Morales. Jansons will be rotating the matador's role with another barihunk, Mattia Olivieri, who proved quite popular with our readers when we first posted about him. He was even featured in our Best of 2014 post as one of our hottest newcomers to the site.

Carmen will be rotated between Sonia Ganassi and Anna Malavasi. The opera opens on May 8th and runs through May 17.