Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Teddy Bare" Discusses HIs ACO Tour

In this preview video, Teddy Tahu Rhodes talks with great excitement about his upcoming tour with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He goes so far as to say that "excitement" wells up inside of him when he thinks about it. He can rest assured that his fans down under had the same reaction when he appeared on the schedule, which encompasses seven cities over the course of seventeen days.

He also goes into wonderful detail about the two song cycles that he's performing. The first being Beethoven's magnificent "An die ferne Geliebte," known in English as "To the Distant Beloved." Their has been much speculation over the years about who Beethoven's "distant beloved" was, with most scholars agreeing that it was Antonia Brentano, a married woman who he met in 1812, but never pursued.

Some scholars also believe that it was written as a secret message to his nephew Karl, who Beethoven obsessed over for years.

Rhodes' other set of songs is Richard Rodney Bennett's "Songs Before Sleep," known as Roald Dahl-esque settings of children's songs.

Here is the entire program for Rhode's appearance with the ACO:

MAHLER: Adagietto
BEETHOVEN: An die ferne Geliebte
BENNETT: Songs Before Sleep
SAXTON: Birthday piece for RRB
PROKOFIEV: Five Melodies
MENDELSSOHN: String Quartet No.3

Also, don't forget to vote in our greatest Hamlet poll. You can watch the videos in the following post.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

CONTEST: Hamlet's Drinking Song

If there is an opera that seems to be experiencing a major revival, it's Ambroise Thomas' "Hamlet,' Of course this is great news for lovers of the baritone voice, as it is an absolute showcase for baritones. Here are five very different renditions spanning 100 years of singing. Use the poll at the right and let us know which is your favorite version. 

Here is Bo Skovhus:

Here is Dmitri Hvorostovsky:

Here is Simon Keenlyside:

Here is Nelson Eddy:

Here is Titta Ruffo:

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Opera Baby Arrives

When Anna Netrebko and barihunk Erwin Schrott welcomed their baby Tiago Arua into the world it created international headlines. It seemed like only Madonna's baby created more buzz in the tabloids.

So Barihunks would like to congratulate Lindsey and Andrew Ashwin on the birth of their baby, Rosie. Rosie may not be getting the same headlines as Tiago Arua, but she's a beautiful new addition to the opera world.

Daddy Ashwin can next be seen as Sharpless at the Grange Park Opera on September 17 & 19. Both performances are already sold out, but you can get on a waiting list for tickets by emailing info@grangeparkopera.co.uk.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Readers Weigh In On "Tallest Barihunk"

Our post about the tallest barihunk generated a lot of mail with people speculating about someone who might be taller than Olivier Laquerre. Some of the names sent to us were Thomas Hampson, Paul Whelan, Luca Dall'Amico, Kevin Thompson, Jérôme Varnier, Gregory Gerbrandt and Greer Grimsley. We're pretty confident that none of these singers are taller than Laquerre.

However, the most credible email we received asked about Dutch baritone Wiart Witholt. His website includes the following press tidbit:

Wiard Witholt from the Netherlands has the dubious honour of being the tallest competitor ever in Cardiff Singer. I have no idea how this is known, perhaps somewhere there is the equivalent of a police file kept on everyone, with a photo of each one holding up a number. Anyway Wiard is the tallest at 6' 7½" which I think is 2m, though it is late at night as I type this. 
 [Gregory Gerbrandt, Greer Grimsley & Kevin Thompson]

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Opera "Dream Couple" Aids Pakistani Relief Effort

We love when opera singers involve themselves in good cause, like barihunk Chris Herbert's "Sing for Hope" organization.

So we were thrilled to hear that soprano Anna Netrebko headlined an event with her husband Erwin Schrott to benefit the Pakistani flood relief effort. Also performing was barihunk Christopher Maltman.

The Viennese gala raised 300,000 Euros ($381,000) to aid flood victims. Over 20 million people have been affected by the flooding spanning an area the size of England.

Schrott thrilled the audience by ending the night by dancing a tango (yes, dancing, not singing).

The Austrian government also contributed 7 million Euros ($8.9 million) towards the disaster relief effort.

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Tallest Barihunk?

After our latest post about Teddy Tahu Rhodes appeared, a reader wrote to ask if he's the tallest barihunk. From what we know, "Teddy Bare" is tied for being the second tallest barihunk along with Michael Todd Simpson. Both are about 6'5" according to our theater sources. The tallest barihunk appears to be Canadian Olivier Laquerre who stands at 6'8" according to our sources.

All of Laquerre's upcoming performances are in Canada. On November 5th and 6th, he appears with the Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivieres in a performance of Handel's "Messiah." Then he's with the Symphony Nova Scotia performing Mozart's Requiem on November 11th and 14th. Then it's off for another "Messiah" with the Guelph Chamber Choir on December 18th.

If you know of a taller barihunk, please let us know at barihunks@gmail.com.

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"Teddy Bare" Down Under

Teddy Tahu Rhodes - Baritone Bad Boy - Streeetcar,Don Giovanni etc from EXERO HDTV on Vimeo.

Opera Australia has just announced that "Teddy Bare," aka Teddy Tahu Rhodes, will be returning to the company as Escamillo in their production of Carmen. Rhodes will perform on January 15, 18,24 and February 1 and then turn over his Torreador's outfit to Shane Lowrencev.

The video is an extended interview with Rhodes, who talks about his singing career, his admiration for Dame Kiri te Kanawa, his worst experience on stage (which involved a horse), American vs. European audiences, and why he's glad that composers like Jake Heggie are writing new operas.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nathan Gunn: Coast to Coast

[Photo courtesy of NY Philharmonic]

Here's a great shot of barihunk Nathan Gunn waiting to go on stage with the New York Philharmonic.

If you want to see Nathan Gunn perform and you live in the U.S., you're in luck. He's performing on both coasts and in America's heartland.

On September 2, he'll join his wife Julie Gunn at the University of Illinois in performing selections from his CD "Just Before Sunrise." He then heads for San Jose, California to kick off the opening season of Symphony Silicon Valley on September 30th, where he'll perform Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer. From November 9 through December 3 he'll be on the opposite coast performing Gugliemo in Così fan tutte at the Metropolitan Opera. He'll be joined by and all-star cast that includes Danielle de Niese, Miah Persson, Isabel Leonard, Pavol Breslik, and Wolfgang Holzmair, conducted by William Christie.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Mariusz Kwiecien's Enrico

We thought it would be fun to showcase Mariusz Kwiecien's definitive Enrico from "Lucia di Lammermoor" with two different tenors, Piotr Beczala and Giuseppe Filianoti. We'd like to know which tenor you'd prefer to hear opposite Kwiecien, so make sure to vote in our poll. You can leave comments below. (By the way, Barihunks readers voted Don Giovanni as their favorite Mozart opera by one vote over the Marriage of Figaro).

Here he is with Beczala:

Here he is with Filianoti:

Just for fun, here is the famours sextet from "Lucia di Lammermoor" taken from the Metropolitan Opera broadcast with Anna Netrebko, Giuseppe Filianoti, Mariusz Kwiecien, Ildar Abdrazakov, Colin Lee and Micaela Martens.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

"There is nothing like a dame"

Let's end the weekend with a little fun. Here are barihunks Dwayne Croft and Sam Ramey joining tenor Jerry Hadley in a fun rendition of "There is nothing like a dame" from South Pacific.

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Giovanni Furlanetto Sings Rossini

[Photo from www.giovannifurlanetto.com]

Here is a magnificent rendition of the trio "Ti parli d'amore" from Rossini's "Otello" with barihunk Giovanni Fulanetto as Elmiro, tenor John Osborne as Otello and Olga Peretyatko as Desdemona. The performance was at the Opéra de Lausanne in February 2010.

[Furlanetto as Selim; Photo courtesy of Leipzig Opera]

Opera lovers who enjoy great acting should not miss any opportunity to see Giovanni Furlanetto, who has quickly established himself as a great actor, as well as a commanding vocal presence. Upcoming performances include Selim in "Il turco in Italia" in Leipzig, Don Basilio in "Il barbiere di Siviglia" in Toulouse, and Raimondo in "Lucia di Lammermoor" in Trieste. As an added enticement, the cast of Barber in Toulouse also features fellow barihunks Giorgio Caoduro as Figaro and Vittorio Prato as Fiorello.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Andrew Foster-Williams: Mozart, Handel, Bach and More

With all of our focus on Mozart lately, we thought that it was a good time to introduce Andrew Foster-Williams to our readers. The British singer portrayed Leporello with the Washington National Opera, the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte at Glyndebourne and performed the Mozart Requiem with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has become particularly well-known for his performances of early music, including Handel's Messiah, Tamerlano, Rodelinda, Alcina and Rinaldo, as well as Purcell's King Arthur and The Fairy Queen. A recording of Flavio is scheduled for release next month.

For a great example of Foster-Williams' artistry you can download his stunning contribution to the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra's account of Beethoven's 9th Symphony played on period instruments at Magnatune.com.

Here he is singing Bach's "Komm, süßes Kreuz":

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Dmitri Vargin's Upcoming Papageno

Once again, a reader tip has brought a new barihunk to our attention. Dmitri Vargin is a 32-year-old baritone from Uzbekistan who is currently an artist-in-residence at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where he will be performing Papageno in Die Zauberflöte in November. He will also perform in "Cosi fan tutte," "Manon," "Il trittico," and "Billy Budd" with the company. He first came to international attention in 2007 as a participant in the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Here he is singing the beautiful duet from Thomas' "Hamlet" with soprano Irina Oknina.

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Johannes Weisser Sings Grieg

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Video of Nmon Ford's "Attila"

Hot off of YouTube, here is Nmon Ford's amazingly hot Attila from Macerata. If you'r impatient, the Ford shows up at about the 2:18 mark. You can check out our previous post with photos HERE.

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Okulitch's Returns to Los Angeles

Since we're on a Mozart kick, check out the barihunk laden cast coming to Southern California.

The Los Angeles Opera is presenting seven performances of "The Marriage of Figaro" with one of this sites most popular barihunks, Daniel Okulitch. The Canadian returns to Los Angeles as Figaro after he created a sensation as Seth Brundle in "The Fly," where he appeared totally nude on stage.

They've also cast Danish barihunk Bo Skovhus as Count Almaviva, who just wrapped up a critically acclaimed performance as Don Giovanni opposite the Leporello of Kyle Ketelsen at Aix-en-Provence.

Figaro returns to the L.A. Opera after two successful runs in 2004 and 2006. Performances run from September 26 through October 17.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mozart's Greatest Opera?

We feature a lot of Mozart on this site, so we were wondering which of his operas is your favorite. You can vote in the poll on the right and you can vote for more than one opera if you can't make up your mind. We've included some of our favorite clips for you to enjoy while you're voting. We've also included four of our favorite barihunks: Nathan Gunn, Thomas Hampson, Dmitri Hvorostovsy and Rod Gilfry.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jason Howard Crosses Over

We recently covered Paolo Szot's upcoming appearance in South Pacific on PBS. Now Barihunks has learned that Jason Howard has taken on the role in Toronto. The Welsh singer is returning to the city where he met his wife in 1994 after a Toronto Symphony Orchestra concert.

We first featured the big, beefy singer a little over a year ago after a long overdue absence on this site. Howard's run in the touring production of South Pacific comes after he's established himself as a great Wagnerian, including a recent run in the Ring Cycle at the Opéra National du Rhin directed by David McVicar.

Howard has also portrayed Billy Budd, Escamillo, Zurga, Jokanaan and Don Giovanni. In upcoming seasons Howard will portray Scarpia in Tosca and Jaroslav Prus in The Makropulos Case. He performs regularly with his native Welsh National Opera, as well as the English National Opera, Covent Garden, Scottish Opera and Seattle Opera.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

More Handel from Quirijn de Lang

We've posted a fair sampling of Quirijn de Lang singing Handel on this site and here's a selection from Agrippina. De Lang has the perfect look for these Handel roles and he's a very engaged singer and actor, as well.

He will be performing the role of Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" with the Nationale Reisopera in the Netherlands in November.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hot Szot on PBS


Set your recorders for Wednesday, August 18, 2010 when PBS will broadcast the highly acclaimed performance of South Pacific with Kelli O'Hara and barihunk Paolo Szot. Check your local PBS listing for times.

When this revival opened on April 3, 2008, Ben Brantley wrote in the New York Times, "I know we're not supposed to expect perfection in this imperfect world, but I'm darned if I can find one serious flaw in this production."

The production went on to win five Drama Desk Awards and 11 Tony nominations, winning in seven of the categories. Paolo Szot who has alternated between opera and Broadway has undeniably been the star of this show. As we mentioned in a previous post Szot will be performing in Don Giovanni in Dallas opening in October.

This is one man that you don't want to wash right out of your hair and it promises to be some enchanted evening.

Here is a video of O'Hara and Szot performing "Some Enchanted Evening" on The View.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Andrew Garland Plays Woodstock

It's not often that we can say a barihunk is going to perform at Woodstock. After all, the bucolic setting is best know for hosting a little music jam in 1969 with Santana, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and Sly & The Family Stone.

But long before the rock 'n' rollers arrived, a classical music tradition had been established at the Maverick Concert series in Woodstock. Pierre Henrotte, a violinist and concert-master of Metropolitan Open House organized concerts from 1916-1926. Musicians have performed in the barn over the years and one of the most infamous moments in music history was premiered there in 1952, John Cage's revolutionary piano piece 4’33” (Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds).

Much of this program this year is dedicated to the centenary of Samuel Barber's birth. Andrew Garland will perform Barber's glorious Dover Beach, Opus 3 on a program that also includes his String Quartet in B Minor, Opus 11 and Dvorák's String Quartet No. 14 in A Flat Major, Opus 105 with the Amernet String Quartet. Even though Garland's piece is about "Dover Beach," we doubt that he's going to appear shirtless as he does in our favorite picture of him (above right). However, this gifted artist will undoubtedly sing this piece beautifully. For a sense of his amazing artistry, check out his rendition of "Last Letter Home from Iraq," which we posted on this site and was extremely popular with readers.

The performance is Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 4:00 PM at the Maverick Concert Hall in Woodstock. For tickets, visit www.maverickconcerts.org.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kelly Markgraf's Stunning Schumann

Barihunk Kelly Markgraf received rave reviews for his Schumann recital which we recently posted about. You can read the entire review at the San Diego Union website. Here is the highlight:

"[I]n “Dichterliebe” baritone Kelly Markgraf and pianist Ken Noda offered a carefully calibrated rendering. These 16 songs, each a miniature world unto itself, offer no second chances. You just start to wrap your ears and mind around them and they are gone. Markgraf’s rich, assertive voice seemed to grow in warmth and flexibility as the cycle went on, while Noda seemed to channel Schumann’s unconscious intentions into his sensitive accompaniment."

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Nmon Ford: The Hottest Hun Ever

Our post about Luca Dall'Amico led one of our readers to alert us to another very sexy performance at the Sferesterio Festival in Macerata, Italy. Barihunk Nmon Ford is singing the title role in another early Verdi opera, Attila. Ford was named by the German magazine Bild as the most beautiful baritone in the world and these pictures show why!

There is one remaining performance on August 10th.

Of course, Ford isn't the first singer to perform the role shirtless. Samuel Ramey was a noted interpreter of the role who sang Attila showing some skin. We'll be watching for video of Nmon Ford from this production, but in the meantime here is a clip of Ramey from 1987.


For comparison, here is Homero Pérez-Miranda, who has also been featured on this site.

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Chicago Tribune Coverage of Barihunk Nozze

[John Relyea & Nathan Gunn]

We provided some advance coverage for Ravinia's current festival, including the recent cast changes to Le Nozze di Figaro. Ravinia is always a wonderful place to enjoy great music with family and friends and this year is no exception.

We were pleased to see that the Chicago Tribune's respected music critic John von Rhein not only enjoyed the performance where John Relyea replaced Ildebrando d'Arcangelo, but he referred to two of the singers as "barihunks" in his review:

I was even more taken with Oropesa, the bright-voiced, very musical singer who played the chambermaid Susanna. Her sharpwitted and beautifully sung portrayal was a smooth fit with John Relyea's amused and amusing manservant, Figaro. A big man with a deep, sonorous bass-baritone, he was a pillar of vocal and dramatic strength in a role completely different from the sardonic devil he played in Berlioz's "Damnation of Faust" last season at Lyric. One would never have guessed he was a late replacement for the indisposed Ildebrando D'Arcangelo.

The show's other "barihunk," Illinois baritone Nathan Gunn, brought manly elegance to Almaviva's music, playing the wayward aristocrat as a handsome seducer who realizes his days of aristocratic privilege in the bedroom are numbered.

We don't have any video or photos yet from Ravinia, but here is a selection from YouTube of Nathan Gunn singing from the Barber of Seville with tenor John Osborn. Gunn remains one of the most viewed barihunks on our site and appears to have what amounts to a cult following.

The Ravinia Festival runs through September 7th and you can still see Annie Get Your Gun, Kiri te Kanawa, Nelly Furtado, Counting Crows, the Beach Boy and Train.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dall'Amico in Early Verdi

Here is Luca Dall'Amico singing Banquo's aria"Come dal ciel precipita" from Verdi's Macbeth during a concert performance. The Italian barihunk can currently be heard in I Lombardi, another early Verdi opera, at the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Macerata, Italy.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Forget LeBron James, The Action is at the Cleveland Opera

Like many arts organizations, Opera Cleveland is facing challenging financial times. So we feel it is incumbent upon us to support their efforts, especially when it includes operas with barihunks and sexy marketing campaigns.

Of course, few operas scream for a hot ad campaign more than Bizet's Pearl Fishers and Opera Cleveland doesn't disappoint.  They've also cast two barihunks: Michael Todd Simpson as Zurga and Ben Wager as Nourabad.

Performances will run from September 23 through September 26. 

As an aside, it should be noted that the term "barihunk" came into common usage after tenor William Burden and barihunk Nathan Gunn performed the Pearl Fishers shirtless and forever changed opera. Here is a clip of the two men performing the famous duet in Philadelphia in 2004.

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Maltman & Schrott Reprise Salburz Giovanni

 [Dorothea Roeschmann as Donna Elvira and Erwin Schrott as Leporello]

Two of our favorite barihunks, Christopher Maltman and Erwin Schrott, are joining forces as Don Giovanni and Leporello respectivley. This somewhat controversial production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" is returning to the 2010 Salzburg Festival and opens on August 9th.

Astute readers of this site may recall our post of the two singers together in this production from 2008.

 [Maltman and Schrott]

The stage design is by artist Christian Schmidt.

[Maltman & Schrott]

[Christopher Maltman]

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lee Poulis as Escamillo

Barihunk Lee Poulis doesn't start singing until about the 2:25 mark of this video from the Szeged Open Air Festival and we haven't found a clip of him singing "Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre" yet, but it's still worth watching. Of course, we'll keep our eyes out and always appreciate assistance from our readers (we're always amazed at how many readers we have in Eastern Europe!). His Carmen is the sensuous Viktória Mester.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Relyea to Replace D'Arcangelo at Ravinia

[Photo © Marty Sohl, Marriage of Figaro, Metropolitan Opera]

There is yet another barihunk swap happening in the world of opera. The Ravinia Festival just announced that John Relyea will replace Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Figaro in their upcoming production of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro." The performances are scheduled for Friday, Aug. 6, and Sunday, Aug. 8 at the Martin Theatre.

Relyea is a regular at Ravinia, having performed Verdi's Requiem in 2001, and Mahler's Eighth Symphony in 2004 and 2008. Earlier this season, Chicago audiences also delighted in Relyea's debut in "La Damnation de Faust" at the Lyric Opera.

Relyea has recently performed Figaro in the "Marriage of Figaro" at Bayerische Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera.

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Quirijn de Lang sings "Lusinghiera mia speranza" from Handel's Agrippina

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Nick Nelson: The Singing Bong

Check out the abs on Nicholas Nelson, who is singing the Bonze in Madame Butterfly at the Central City Opera.

Central City Opera has a long reputation for showcasing young talent long before they become superstars (i.e. - Denyce Graves, Mary Dunleavy and Lucas Meachem). However, the local press apparently isn't quite as skilled in their knowledge of opera. The Weekly Register-Call/ Gilpin County News referred to him portraying "the Bong," rather than the Bonze. Perhaps it's the local culture where people like Hunter S. Thompson and a few other drug loving celebrities lived.

The 28-year-old Minnesota native is also a part of the Portland Opera Studio where he'll be performing a recital with them on November 14, 2010. Next season he'll be covering Tonio in Pagliacci and Peter in Hansel and Gretel, as well as singing several roles in L'heure Espagnole and L'enfant et les Sortilèges.

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Zach Gordin Could Confuse Violetta

We ran a teaser back in March about Zachary Gordin's debut as Germont père in La Traviata with West Bay Opera. Fortunately, for anyone who wasn't able to be in California to see this bodybuilder/barihunk perform, we have video from the singer's YouTube site.

We also thought that it was important to run a few pictures of the former countertenor out of costume, since he's much hunkier before the makeup artists added 25 years to his muscular frame. It's also a good thing that the costume department didn't outfit him in something a little sexier, or we may have had the first Traviata where Violetta runs off to Paris with her lover's father.

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