[Ryan Kuster & Benjamin Covey; photos by Kristen Loken Anstey]
Once again, San Francisco's beloved Merola training program has provided opera lovers with a new class of barihunks. Two of them, Ryan Kuster and Dan Kempson, have previously appeared on the site. Dan Kempson appeared when he portrayed Tarquinius at Pittsburgh Opera in one of our favorite operas "The Rape of Lucretia." Ryan Kuster appeared on the site after a fan at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia brought him to our attention.
The two newcomers to the site are Benjamin Covey and Thomas Florio. Covey is another in our long line of Canadian barihunks, which includes Daniel Okulitch, Mike Nyby, John Relyea, Tyler Duncan, Gregory Dahl, Olivier LaQuerre, Phillip Addis and Aaron Agulay. This roster is one more reason why we love our neighbors to the north. Covey will be performing Belcore in the upcoming Merola performance of Donizetti's "L’Elisir d’Amore."
Thomas Florio is a Virginia native who is another graduate of the prestigious opera training program at Indiana University, which also produced Barihunks favorite Randal Turner, as well as Christopher Schaldenbrand and Kyle Ketelsen. Florio will perform Dulcamara in Merola's "L’Elisir d’Amore."
[Thomas Florio & Dan Kempson]
Fans in San Francisco can see all of the talented young Merola students in a series of upcoming concerts and operas. On Friday, July 16th, at 7:30 p.m. there will be a concert at the Herbst Theater, with tickets available by calling the box office at (415) 864-3330. The concert will be repeated for free on Sunday, July 25th, at 2:00 p.m. at the Yerba Buena Gardens. The concert will include excerpts from Handel's Rodelinda, Massenet's Werther, Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Smetena's The Bartered Bride and Nicolai's The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The top photo shows Ryan Kuster in a recent master class singing "Here me, o Lord!" from Carlyle Floyd's Susannah. and Benjamin Covey singing "Hai gia vinta la cause" from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.
Other upcoming performances include L'Elisir d'Amore on August 6, 7 and 8 and the Merola Grand Finale on August 21st.