Monday, April 30, 2012

Opera Oz's Modern Day MeetUp: "Real" Barber and "Singing" Barber of Seville

Jose Carbo and Sean Pendry with real Barber of Seville owner Michael Romeo (Photo: Manuela Cifra)
We're all about cross promoting opera, as long it exposes new people to the art form and it maintains a reasonable degree of integrity. One of our favorite cross promotions that we've seen lately is Opera Australia joining forces with the owner of a local hair salon aptly named the "Barber of Seville." We'll let you figure out which opera the company is performing.

Michael Romeo is the owner of the salon in Richmond, Australia and the photo op with the singing barber, Jose Carbo, was great publicity for his new salon in Moonee Ponds, Australia. We also love his slogan, "Come get chopped at the Barber of Seville." If he ever opens a salon called "Sweeney Todd," he can keep his tagline.

Michael Romeo's fun banner for his operatically inspired hair salon
The Opera Australia production of Rossini's opera is moving the action forward to the Roaring 20's with some amazing costumes and fun "Keystone Kops" action scenes.  We last saw Carbo as the Barber at the Seattle Opera where he was sharing the role with fellow barihunk David Adam Moore and making his belated U.S. debut. Carbo, who is of Italian and Spanish heritage, was raised in Australia since childhood, so this performance is a return to his "hometown stage."

Jose Carbo and Maria Bayo sing "Dunque io son" from the Barber of Seville in Madrid:

The opera also features barihunk Sam Dundas, who we recently showcased in some sexy, shirtless shots when he was performing Mozart's Cosi fan tutte. He'll be singing three small roles in the Barber: Fiorello, Ambrogio and the notary. [You don't want to miss those photos!].

There are six performances from May 4-17. Visit the Opera Australia website for additional information and production photos.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ft. Opera Star Michael Mayes Featured in 360 West

Michael Mayes in 360 West magazine
When we recently featured Michael Mayes and his self-described transformation from Bari-Chunk to Bari-Hunk, it almost doubled our internet traffic for a week. Michael Mayes is one of our favorite people in opera. His Texapolitan Opera podcast is one of the most entertaining sites in all of classical music. He's also known as a great colleague, who works hard and is supportive of others. He's also become a fan favorite at the Ft. Worth Opera Festival, where he will return this season to sing Kinesias in Mark Adamo's comedy Lysistrata.

We've been unabashed in our support of the Ft. Worth Opera Festival, which we believe is a mandatory stop on any opera lover's list of festivals. This year they're also performing Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and Puccini's Tosca. We encourage you to check out their website and learn more about this company.

Mayes is one of the feature stories in the May 2012 issue of 360 West magazine, where he talks about the special place that the Festival holds in his heart. It's an absolute must read and can be accessed HERE beginning on page 104.

Ted Federle sings Kinesias' aria from Adamo's "Lysistrata"in the 2007 non-professional premiere of the opera at the Seagle Music Colony:


Christian Van Horn takes on more Villains, Victims and Bearded, Unhappy Old Men

Christian Van Horn headed off to another role debut
The last time we featured American barihunk Christian Van Horn, he was all the buzz in Opera News. The running joke about Van Horn, is that despite his barihunk looks, he gets cast in roles that don't show off his assets. That's not changing any this summer, as he makes his role debut as Banquo at the Grand Theatre du Geneve opposite the unhappy and ambitious duo of Jennifer Larmore as Lady Macbeth and Davide Damiani as Macbeth. 

Performances of the new Christof Loy production will run from June 13-26. Additional cast and ticket information is available on the company's website

James Morris sings Banquo's aria "Come dal ciel precipita" from Macbeth: 

After Geneva, Van Horn will be singing with two of our favorite companies, the San Francisco Opera and the Dallas Opera. In San Francisco, he continues to show off his sinister side as he takes on the four villains in Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann" - Coppélius, Dapertutto, Dr. Miracle and Lindorf. The dream cast also includes Natalie Dessay as the four heroines Olympia, Antonia, Giulietta, Stella; Alice Coote as Nicklausse; and, Matthew Polenazni as Hoffmann. We have a feeling that this is a performance that should be added to any opera lover's travel calendar. Also, don't miss the San Francisco Opera's amazing summer season that includes Adam's Nixon in China, Verdi's Attila and Mozarts Magic Flute with Nathan Gunn.

In Dallas, he continues the trend of playing unattractive old men, as he takes on Timur in Puccini's Turandot. The production opens April 5, 2013 with the amazing Lise Lindstrom as Princess Turandot. The ubiquitous Nathan Gunn will also feature in the Dallas Opera season, as he is cast in Dominick Argento's "The Aspern Papers" in another all-star cast that features Susan Graham, Carol Vaness and the stunning young tenor Joseph Kaiser.

If you want to see and hear Van Horn out of make-up, you'll have to head to Los Angeles, where he's joining the L.A. Philharmonic as the bass soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The performance is on July 10, 2012 at the famed Hollywood Bowl and will be conducted by Leonard Slatkin.



Friday, April 27, 2012

David Adam Moore takes on Carmina Burana and Silvio at New Orleans Opera

David Adam Moore as he appeared in the Barihunks Calendar

We've always found Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" a somewhat sexy piece of music with its songs about the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust. With that in mind, having sexy barihunk David Adam Moore sing the baritone part seems like dream casting. Moore will be performing a fully-staged version of Carmina Burana, as well as Silvio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci with the New Orleans Opera opening tonight.

This is the first time that the New Orleans Opera is producing Carmina Burana and they are going all out. They will be joined by the New Orleans Ballet Theatre along with the combined choral forces of the New Orleans Opera Chorus, Loyola University Chorus and the New Orleans Vocal Arts Chorale in what promises to be a spectacular show. There will be a second performance on Sunday, April 29, so if you're anywhere in the area, click HERE for a ticket.

Bernd Weikl sings Estuans Interius from Carmina Burana:

Moore will play the "other man" in Pagliacci opposite the Russian-born, American-raised soprano Inna Dukach. Here is an interview with Moore conducted by New Orleans Opera Executive Director Timothy Todd Simmons. You can hear about his "other career" in the visual arts, his country music roots and his upcoming recording of "Soldier Songs," which we've featured on the site:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Stéphane Degout Strips Hamlet Bare

Add Stéphane Degout to the growing list of barihunks who have appeared nude on stage. The amazing French singer bares all in the Theater an der Wien's production of Ambroise Thomas' "Hamlet." His dispair and self-mutilation manifests itself in stunning scene in Act 3 when he is bathed by Gertrude.

The production is by Olivier Py who transformed the stage into a cavern of human debauchery and misery.

Degout last appeared on this site when he appeared in a dreamy cast of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande with fellow barihunk Jérôme Varnier. The two are reunited in this production, as Varnier appears the ghost. Stéphane Degout has become the leading lyric baritone in the French style since Francois Le Roux and Gerard Souzay, both of whom have appeared on this site.

The always intense and musically incisive Christine Schäfer portrays Ophelia, Phillip Ens is Claudius and Frédéric Antoun is Laërtein in this co-production with the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. Now let's hope that someone brings it to the United States.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Justin Hopkins wins 2nd Place in Lotte Lenya Competition

Justin Hopkins
Barihunk Justin Hopkins, who first impressed us in Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox with the Fort Worth Opera Festival, has won second prize in the prestigious Lotte Lenya Competition. He shared 2nd place with tenor Jacob Keith Watson. Eastman School of Music master’s degree student Matthew Grills, who was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions last month, was awarded 1st place.
The Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19 to 30, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs within a dramatic context. It was founded in 1998 by foundation President Kim H. Kowalke, who is the Richard L. Turner Professor in Humanities at the University of Rochester and professor of musicology at the Eastman School.

 Justin Hopkins sings "The Impossible Dream":

Justin Hopkins burst onto the international opera scene in 2010, performing the combined roles of Il Servo, Il Medico and Heraldo in Macbeth with Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in a production that was awarded "Production of the Year" by Opernwelt.  In the same season he performed the roles of Colline in La Boheme with the Verbier Festival Academy and Cappadocian in Richard Strauss' Salome under the direction of Valery Gergiev with the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. 

Hopkins was a semi-finalist in the Competizione dell' Opera at The Bolshoi Theater in Moscow as well as a finalist in the Mildred Miller International Voice Competition.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr. Hopkins began singing at the age of eight with the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men's Chorale.

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Live Webcast of Barihunks Luca Pisaroni & Thomas Hampson Together

On Sunday, April 29, the father-in-law/son-in-law barihunk duo of Luca Pisaroni and Thomas Hampson will appear in a Gala Concert at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival. The West German Radio Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Massimo Zanetti for an evening of arias and duets by Giuseppe Verdi, Gioacchino Rossini and Wolfgang Mozart.  

Since not everyone can be there, we're pleased to announce that there will be a live webcast beginning at 6 PM CEST (Noon EST, 9 AM PST), which you can access HERE.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Birthday, Leonard Warren (April 21, 1911-March 4, 1960)

Today we celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest American baritones ever, Leonard Warren (born Warenoff). The family Americanized the name when his Russian father settled in the United States.

Warren's first job was working in his father's fur business in New York In 1935.  He studied voice with Sidney Dietch and the great Giuseppe De Luca and joined the chorus of Radio City Music Hall. In 1938 he won the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air and was granted a stipend to study in Italy.

Leonard Warren & Astrid Varnay sing "Favella il Doge" from Simon Boccanegra:

Warren made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in excerpts from Verdi's La Traviata and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci in November 1938. His formal operatic debut took place in New York in January 1939, when he sang Paolo in Simon Boccanegra. He quickly became one of the most popular baritones of his time. He also sang in San Francisco, Chicago, Canada, and South America. He appeared at La Scala in Milan in 1953. In 1958, he made a highly successful tour of the Soviet Union. His last complete performance at the Metropolitan Opera was as Simon Boccanegra on March 1, 1960. Three days later he collapsed while singing the aria "Urna fatale dal mio destino;" as Don Carlo during a performance of Verdi's La forza del destino. He had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died backstage.

Leonard Warren  sings "Urna fatale...È salvo, o gioia":

Leonard Warren was particularly acclaimed as one of the foremost interpreters of the great Verdi baritone roles; he also sang the parts of Tonio in Pagliacci, Escamillo in Carmen, and Scarpia in Tosca. He was reputed to be a person of an intractable character, who always tried to impose his will on stage designers, managers, and even conductors, in matters of production, direction, and tempi. He caused pain, a colleague said, but he had a great voice.

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Barihunk Discount for Sidney Outlaw Recital

Sidney Outlaw
If you haven't heard Sidney Outlaw perform yet, do we have a deal for you. We attended his recital in San Francisco and it was one of the most amazing performances by a young artist that we'd seen in some time. If you're in New York this weekend, you can hear him as part of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation Recital series. Tickets are $15, but if you mention Barihunks, you'll get the student/senior rate of $10. Trust us, this is a talent that you won't want to miss.

Outlaw will be joined by soprano Adrienne Danrich and accompanist Thomas Bagwell on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 3:00pm at Christ & St. Stephen's Church, 120 West 69th Street in New York City.  The program will feature music by Brahms, Duparc, Rachmaninov and a rare performance of Francis Poulenc's La Dame de Monte Carlo.

The North Carolina native was the 2010 Grand Prize winner of the Concurso Internacional de Canto Montserrat Caballé and recently made his debut with the English National Opera as Rambo in John Adams’s Death of Klinghoffer. He was a member of the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco where he stole the show as Dr.Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore.

Outlaw’s other awards include Second Prize in the 2011 Gerda Lissner Foundation Awards, national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, semi-finalist in the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition, finalist for both the Concours International Musical de Montréal and the George London Competition, and grand prize at the Florida Grand Opera/YPO Vocal Competition. Mr. Outlaw holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from The Juilliard School and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Upcoming engagements include Telemann’s Orpheus with New York City Opera and the role of Don Giovanni at Aix-en-Provence.

You can listen to Sidney Outlaw HERE

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CCM Student Mark Wesley Brax Dies in Car Crash

Mark Wesley Brax
We hate to deliver sad news, but we just learned that University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) student Mark Wesley Brax, age 23, was killed in a two-vehicle crash in southeastern Indiana over the weekend.

Brax had spent the summer at the Tanglewood Festival before coming to CCM to receive his master's degree. Since arriving at the College-Conservatory of Music, Brax had performed as soloist in J.S. Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion,” participated in the undergraduate production of Handel’s “Serse” and sang with the CCM Chamber Choir and the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati.

Robin Guarino, chair of the opera department at CCM, said the aspiring opera singer was “an exceptional artist and an inspiration to all. We are heartbroken at this loss, and send our love to his family and all those who knew him.”

The school held an informal memorial on Monday for students, faculty and staff.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Move Over Tony Romo, Papageno Is In The House

Patrick Carfizzi as Papageno
The Dallas Cowboys were a pretty mediocre 8-8 last year, causing many fans to grumble that a better team needed to be assembled at Cowboys Stadium. That has happened, as the Dallas Opera has put together a winning team for the April 28 live simulcast of Mozart's The Magic Flute starring the always entertaining Patrick Carfizzi as Papageno. Devotees of low voices will also be treated to the resonant low notes of Raymond Aceto as Sarastro.

The opera will be simulcast on the massive high-definition video-screens at Cowboys Stadium beginning at 7:30 PM with doors opening at 6 PM. Over 30,000 tickets have been requested, leaving about 1,500 for the performance. You can reserve your tickets by clicking HERE.

The show will be seen on four viewing screens (the largest is 72 feet tall and 160 feet wide) above the stadium's playing field. The opera also stars soprano Ava Pine as Pamina, L'ubica Vargicova as the Queen of the Night, Angela Mannino as Papageno and tenor Shawn Mathey as Tamino. Listen to Raymond Aceto below (don't miss this voice!).

If you'd rather see the opera at the Winspear Opera House, it opens on Friday, April 20 and runs through May 6. Visit the Dallas Opera website for tickets and additional information. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Watch "Nixon in China" online from Théâtre du Châtelet

Franco Pomponi as Richard Nixon
Watch John Adams' masterpiece "Nixon in China" live from the Théâtre du Châtelet beginning at 1 PM EST/11 AM PST. It stars barihunk Franco Pomponi as Richard Nixon, Kyung Chun Kim as Chairman Mao, Sumi Jo as Madame Mao and June Anderson as Pat Nixon. The video is supposed to remain available for three months.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Free Barihunk Concerts in Iowa & New York

Cedar Rapids, Iowa is probably best known for corn, Quaker Oats and for being the home of actor Ashton Kutcher and NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. It's also a surprisingly cultural city, with a thriving arts scene deeply rooted in Eastern European immigration. So we weren't surprised when we learned that two Iowa natives were coming to Mount Mercy University for a free concert.

On Sunday, April 29, at 3:30 p.m. soprano Katharine Goeldner will join emerging barihunk Chris Carr for the program "A Path to the Future: Music of Discovery" in the University Center Commons. The performance is free and open to the public. The duo will perform Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and Rückert Lieder, and arias by Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Korngold, Barber, and more. The concert is the first musical performance held in Mount Mercy's new University Center.

Carr will be appearing next season with Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Yamadori in Butterfly and Pish-Tush in Mikado!

In October, he will take on the daunting baritone role in the Carmina Burana with the Kansas City Ballet.

Matthew Morris
We adore the multi-talented Matthew Morris, who seems destined for an amazing career. If you're near the bucolic Hudson River valley, don't miss the chance to see Morris in his graduate vocal recital on Saturday, April 21, 2012, 3:00 pm at the Bard College Conservatory of Music. Tickets are free and can be obtained by calling (845) 758-7196.

Morris will be accompanied on the piano by Milena Gligic in a program that includes Charles Ives'
Down East, Charlie Rutlage and General William Booth Enters into Heaven; Franz Schubert's Fischerweise and Des Fischers Liebesglück; Peter Warlock's My Own Country; Claude Debussy's
Troi Ballades de François Villon; Tom Cipullo's "A Death in the Family" (from The Land of Nod); Irving Gifford Fine's "Lenny the Leopard" (from Childhood Fables for Grownups); and, Gabriel Fauré's En Sourdine.

Kevin Puts' "Silent Night" wins Pulitzer Prize

Barihunk Ben Wager and a scene from Silent Night
Last November, we posted about Kevin Puts' new opera "Silent Night," which was being premiered at the Minnesota Opera. We were all atwitter, because not only did it seem like an amazing new American opera, but it featured a cast with more sexy men than a college water polo team. The cast included Gabriel Preisser, Liam Bonner, Mike Nyby, Andrew Wilkowske and Ben Wager and was named as our "Best Barihunk Feast of 2011" in our year-end wrap up.

Apparently, some other pretty impressive musical minds agreed that the opera was worthy of recognition, as the Pulitzer Prize for "Distinguished Musical Composition by an American" was awarded to composer Kevin Puts for "Silent Night." The opera was commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on November 12, 2011, a company that we have long praised  for its heartfelt commitment to premiering new works, especially those by American composers. We would like to add ourselves to the chorus of congratulatory messages from the music world.  

The opera. with a libretto by Mark Campbell, recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart. The story was based on the 2005 film "Joyeux Noël."

Composer Kevin Puts
Also nominated as finalists in this category were Tod Machover for "Death and the Powers," premiered by the Boston Modern Opera Project in Massachusetts on March 18, 2011 and Andrew Norman for “The Companion Guide to Rome,” premiered on November 13, 2011 in Salt Lake City.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Barihunk Stuff You Don't Want to Miss

Jonathan Estabrooks
Our favorite vlogger Jonathan Estabrooks keeps a busy schedule. This Thursday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. he'll be part of a concert that includes Gian Carlo Menotti's The Telephone and a collection of opera arias and duets with soprano Emily Duncan-Brown. The concert is at the SWCC King Community Center in Richlands, Virginia and includes selections from Verdi, Puccini and Rossini.

Christopher Dylan Herbert in Central City
Just a reminder that you can hear Christopher Dylan Herbert live on WWFM singing Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata 56 "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen." The concert is free, so if you're in New York go check out this talented member of New York Polyphony. The concert will performed on Monday, April 16 at 1pm EST at St. Paul's Chapel near Ground Zero. Broadcast time is 10 AM for those on the West Coast.

Herbert's ensemble New York Polyphony is currently performing on the East Coast as part of the Five Boroughs Music Festival's Gabrieli @ 400 and these concerts are not to be missed. On April 27 they perform at St. Ann's and the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn, on April 28 they are at St. Ignatius of Antioch in New York City and then on April 29 they perform at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Quirijn de Lang sings Hugo Wolf
One of the most popular singers on this site is Dutch barihunk Quirijn de Lang, who appears to have quite an international fan club. He's just released a CD of songs by Hugo Wolf based on work by Ibsen & other poets. He is joined by soprano Mary Bevan and accompanist Sholto Kynoch. For lovers of Wolf lieder, the recording includes twelve previously unrecorded songs.  You can purchase the CD at Stone Records

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tom Corbeil Lurches Onto Broadway Tour

Tom Corbeil

We've posted some pretty hot pictures of barihunk Tom Corbeil over the years, especially the shirtless ones from Joseph Haydn’s "L’isola disabitata." He's currently put his opera career on hold to join the traveling cast of the Addams Family musical touring the country. Anyone who saw him shirtless in L'Isola disabitata would barely recognize him as the morticianly looking Lurch.

The Addams Family was created by Jersey Boys authors Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, Drama Desk Award winner Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys), and Olivier Award-winning director/designers Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter) with production supervision by four-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Zaks.

The Road Cast of the Addams Family

The show is currently in Cleveland through April 22nd. It then travels to Memphis, Madison, St. Paul, Grand Rapids, San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City and Washington D.C. Check HERE to see if the show is coming to your town. 


Say Cheese! Three Barihunks to Perform Together in Brookfield, Wisconsin

Anthony Reed, Michael Roemer & Tim Rebers (L-R)
There are a number of shows being put together that feature barihunks, including "Barihunks on Tour." This site has nothing (directly) to do with any of them, but we have been surprised that no one has copied the overused "Three Tenors," "Three Sopranos," "Three Countertenors" format to produce a "Three Barihunks" show. If you're in Wisconsin on Sunday, April 15th, you can get a brief preview of what that might look like.

Barihunks Anthony Reed, Michael Roemer and Tim Rebers will be part of a concert that features singers from the Wisconsin District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Joining the "Three Barihunks" will be guest tenor Scott Ramsay and sopranos Lindsay Sessing and Meagan Seubert. The performance will begin at 2 PM at the Dawes Studio Theatre at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For tickets call the Wilson Center Box office at (262) 781-9520.

The singers worked with coach Jamie Johns over the last six months to refine their performance techniques. The monthly coaching sessions focused on operatic repertoire and culminated in this joint recital.

Michael Roemer and Adam Shelton in the duet from the Elixir of Love:

The Vocal Coaching Program was founded by Patricia Crump, a former member of the CMA Board of Directors and president of Supporters of Opera Singers, an organization established to administer funds donated to assist young Milwaukee area singers. She is also Director Emerita of the Wisconsin District Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Reader Submissions: Nate Jones and Kyle Albertson

Nate Jones
There are few things that we enjoy more than our "Reader Submission" feature. Over the years, we've been introduced to some of the most amazing talent and absolute eye candy from across the globe. We've had submissions come from as far away as Belarus and Indonesia, from boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, ex-lovers, men and women ranging from teenagers to people who reminisce about having seen Gina Cigna (look her up!) and even a number of proud moms. Gotta love those proud moms!

Our latest reader submissions are Nate Jones and Kyle Albertson.

Nate Jones is  a 25-year-old lyric baritone who is a third-year student at Duke Divinity School. He's graduating in May with a Masters Degree. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Duke in 2009 and has been studying voice primarily with Elizabeth Linnartz.

Below are two videos from Nate Jones' Graduate Recital from 3/24/12 at Duke University

In 2009, he won the Schloss-Mirabell competition in Salzburg, where he performed a concert of Schumann and Mozart in the Mozart Festival, while also playing Figaro. He also has won the National Association for the Teaching of Singing (NATS) competition at the state and regional levels. He won a full scholarship to the American Singers Opera Project, where he played Don Alfonso in "Cosi fan Tutte," and studied voice with Sherrill Milnes' ex-wife, Nancy Stokes-Milnes.

Jones originally planned on going into doctoral work in theology/philosophy but has recently decided to go into opera full-time and plans on auditioning for some young artist programs.

Jones has been active with Long Leaf Opera in North Carolina, most recently singing Clay in Chandler Carter's "Strange Fruit" and Valentine in Joel Feigin's "The Twelfth Night." He also played the title role in "Sweeney Todd" at Duke.

Kyle Anderson
When we recently posted about the winners at the Gerda Lissner International Singing Competition we sure heard about the prize winners who we omitted (including one of our longtime favorites Dan Kempson). One singer who is new to us and who took a second place cash award is Kyle Albertson.

Albertson is a former participant in the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program. He has gone on to sing   Leporello in Don Giovanni, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut,  Henry Kissinger in Nixon in China. Blitch in Susannah, Mephistopheles in Faust, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, and the Four Villains in Les Contes d’Hoffman.

Current and upcoming engagements include covering the roles of Bretigny in Manon, Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, Masetto in Don Giovanni, and the Jailer in Dialogues des carmélites at the Metropolitan Opera.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adrian Kramer, Paul LaRosa & Matt Boehler in Chicago Opera Theater's "Moscow, Cheryomushki"

Adrian Kramer (Sasha) and Emily Fons (Masha)
We have a particular soft spot for many of the smaller opera companies and the Chicago Opera Theater has long been one of our favorite companies..Not only do they take greater risks, but they often feature barihunks in the early stages of their careers. We loved Matt Worth there in their productions of Owen Wingrave Three Decembes and now they have Adrian Kramer in an orginal take on Shostakovich called "Moscow, Cheryomushki." The cast also includes two other barihunks who have appeared on this site, Paul LaRosa as Boris and Matt Boehler as Drebednev.

The Chicago Opera Theater is producing its own unique twist to Shostakovich's musical satire that takes a political poke at the Soviet Union's chronic housing shortages. Renowned Shostakovich scholar Gerard McBurney produced a musical score that captures this operetta's lighter mood. The  new production marks the 21st Chicago premiere since the innovative Brian Dickie arrived in 1999 to run the company. The opera will be sung in English with English supertitles.

Adrian Kramer (Sasha) and Emily Fons (Masha)

If you're in Chicago, you can preview the music at an event at LOKaL tonight from 6-8pm. The cost is $25 ($35 at the door) and includes hors d'oeveres, the Moscow martini and music from the show. Performances of the opera run from April 14-25. Visit the COT website for additional details.

Paul LaRosa


Dmitri Hvorostovsky Live Worldwide this Saturday

Dmitri Hvorostovsky continues to establish himself as one of the leading Verdi baritones of our age. It's a little odd to see someone who is aging as beautifully as Carey Grant or George Clooney begin playing fathers onstage, but that's exactly what he'll be doing in the Live in HD broadcast of Verdi's La traviata from the Met on Saturday, April 14th. His elegantly phrased Giorgio Germont will be transmitted to cinemas worldwide with a U.S. encore transmission on May 2 and Canadian encores on May 26 and June 24. The event will also feature exclusive backstage footage and interviews with cast members.

Live performances of La traviata run through May 2nd. He then begins his recital tour in Minsk on May 14.

Hvorostovsky sings "Di Provenza il mar, il suol" from La traviata:


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Guardian's Stuart Jeffries asks: "Don Giovanni – hero or villain?"

Randal Turner as Don Giovanni
In the Don Giovanni that has just opened in Paris, the eponymous hero has become an irredeemable sex pest of a businessman. Too much power and sex has corroded his soul. Perhaps you work with him. Perhaps you are him. At the end, in his nocturnal office, Giovanni is stabbed through the heart by the co-worker he sexually assaulted in act one, thrown through a window by a crowd of downtrodden cleaners, at least one of whom he tried to grope, and then accompanied to hell by the rotting corpse of the CEO he murdered at the outset. Twenty-first century moral? Don't stay late at the office.

Markus Werba as Don Giovanni
The desperate Don's comeuppance, though, strikes me as unfair. As Kierkegaard noted in Either/Or, Don Giovanni is the opera's erotically animating presence. "His passion resonates everywhere; it resonates in and supports the Commendatore's earnestness, Elvira's wrath, Anna's hate, Ottavio's pomposity, Zerlina's anxiety, Mazetto's indignation, Leporello's confusion. As the hero in the opera, Don Giovanni is the denominator of the piece." Take him away and you're left with the bourgeois moralising of the opera's epilogue – an epilogue that any director worth their salt would cut were it not for Mozart's music.

Duncan Rock & Richard Crichton talk to Gaydar's Neil Sexton and Debbie Ryan

In Carlos Saura's 2009 film Io, Don Giovanni about the life of Mozart's librettist Da Ponte, the hero becomes a projection of the librettist's desire. In Claus Guth's 2008 succès de scandale in Salzburg, the mortally wounded heroin user – Giovanni – is imagined as the creation of the desires of all three women (Zerlina, Donna Anna and Donna Elvira) he usually spends the opera mistreating. Women want him, men want to be like him. In Guth's treatment, the usually pious Donna Anna kills herself because she can't have him. No matter that he killed her dad. [Read entire article HERE]


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

John Relyea in COC's Tales of Hoffmann

John Relyea
We somehow forgot to mention that the great John Relyea opened on Tuesday night in "The Tales of Hoffmann" at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. We've seen video of the rehearsals and the production and singing are magical. See for yourself in the trailer below. Relyea plays all four villains in the opera, in a cast that also features fellow barihunks Philippe Sly and Gregory Dahl.

Performances will run through May 14 and additional information can be found on the Canadian Opera Company's website.

John Relyea in The Tales of Hoffmann in Munich:

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Breaking News: Barihunks win 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Lissner Competition

Scott Conner & Ricardo Rivera
Barihunks continue to take top prizes at international vocal competition, as Scott Conner, Steven LaBrie and Ricardo Rivera won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place at the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. We hope that this string of victories lays to rest the internet chatter that barihunks are all looks and no voice.

Steven LaBrie
Two of the singers have links to the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. Conner is a third year resident artist and LaBrie is a fourth year resident artist. Rivera is a young artist with the Mannes Opera program

The Gerda Lissner Foundation was created by Mrs. Lissner, a Metropolitan Opera subscriber for 77 years, to provide young opera singers with the financial support they need to pursue their craft and excel in the world of Opera.  The three winners were awarded $10,000, $5,000 and $3,000. Barihunks would like to wish them continued success with their careers. 

The Grand Prize of $15,000 was won by tenor Paul Appleby.

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Upcoming FREE Barihunk Concerts of Interest

Southern Heat: Tennessee native John Brandon
Barihunk John Brandon will be part of a free afternoon of opera at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga on Sunday, April 15, at 3 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Hall.

An Afternoon of Opera sponsored by the Connor Society will be held on , UTC Fine Arts Center, located at the intersection of Vine and Palmetto Streets.  He will be joined by soprano Cherry Brendel, tenor Ron Brendel and mezzo Rosella Ewing in selections from Carmen, Rigoletto, La traviata, Lakme, The Pearl Fishers, Samson & Delilah, The Elixir of Love, and The Magic Flute.
For more information, call 425-4627 or email

Apple of our eye: Christopher Dylan Herbert
Christopher Dylan Herbert is breaking away from his role as the baritone/bass member of New York Polyphony to perform a free concert on Monday, April 16 at 1pm at St. Paul's Chapel near Ground Zero. Herbert will be performing Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata 56, "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen," one of only two solo cantatas for baritone written by the German baroque master.

Also on the program is mezzo Luthen Brackett performing Bach's Cantata 54, and organist Renée Louprette performing Bach's Fugue in Eb Major (BWV 551b). Click HERE for additional information. The concert will be broadcast live on WWFM.

Seattle's Best: Joseph Lattanzi & David Krohn
Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" is generally not a barihunk opera, but the Seattle Opera is featuring two of its hottest young artists in a free simulcast on Saturday, May 5th. David Krohn will sing Prince Yamadori and Joseph Lattanzi will sing the Registrar in the opening night performance that includes the Cio-Cio-San of Patricia Racette.

The live HD simulcast from McCaw Hall will be broadcast onto a 50' x 80' screen at KeyArena. Tickets are free, but are expected to go fast, so reserve your tickets by clicking HERE.  Door will open at 6:00 PM and the broadcast will begin at 7:30 PM.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Philip Cutlip Returns to Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra

Philip Cutlip
San Francisco Bay area residents are in for a treat as the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra is once again teaming up barihunk Philip Cutlip with early music conductor extraordinaire Nicholas McGegan.  The two have performed together in highly acclaimed performances of Haydn's The Creation, Handel's Messiah, Handel's Atalanta and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Anyone who has heard these two perform together knows it's always a special evening of music making. Cutlip and McGegan are now teaming up for Handel's Alexander Feast with a cast that includes soprano Dominique Labelle and tenor Dann Coakwell. Visit the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra website for additional information.

William Berger sings "Revenge, Timotheus cries" from Alexander's Feast:

Cutlip has been a regular on this site  in repertoire ranging from the Handel, Mozart and Donizetti to Britten, Heggie and Philip Glass. We're eagerly looking forward to his Eugene Onegin with the Edmonton Opera in May 2013. His recording of Joseph De Rocher in Heggie's Dead Man Walking will be released on Virgin Classics on April 24th.

Philip Cutlip as Joseph De Rocher

Frequently heard in performances with New York Festival of Song, Cutlip gave the world premiere of American Love Songs - a set of 10 commissioned pieces for vocal quartet - at the Tisch Center for the Arts and at the 92nd Street Y; appeared in a program of commissioned works at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; and also toured with NYFOS to Louisville for Rorem's Evidence of Things Not Seen.

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Christopher Job Makes Role Debut as Escamillo

Christopher Job
Somehow Southern California barihunk Christopher Job has fallen off our radar for four years. Since our last post in January 2008, he's performed at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera, where he performed in Janacek's From the House of the Dead, Shostakovich's The Nose and The Enchanted Island with fellow barihunk Luca Pisaroni.

He's about to make his role debut at Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen at the Lyric Opera Virginia. The opera opens on May 4th in Newport News and then moves on to Charlottesville, Richmond and Virginia Beach. Visit the Lyric Opera website for additional information.

Last summer, he was seen as Caronte in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo ed Euridice as well as the Poet in Philip Glass' Orphee at Glimmerglass Opera,. This summer he returns to Glimmerglass to sing Capellio in Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi.

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Reader Submission: Ed Ballard

Ed Ballard
Ed Ballard, our latest reader submission, is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London. The London born singer is a former chorister who went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and later received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosphy in History from Clare College, Cambridge.

He has performed numerous choral works throughout the U.K. including Bach's St Matthew Passion, Handel's Messiah, Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Fauré's Reqiuem, Duruflé's Reqiuem and Howells Reqiuem, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass and Theresiennemesse, Finzi's In Terra Pax and Stainer's Crucifixion.

His operatic roles include Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Edinburgh and Guglielmo in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte in Cambridge, Death in Holst’s Savitri and Louis in The Wandering Scholar at the Grimeborn Opera Festival, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Dartington International Summer School and Mother/Brother in Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins in Cambridge  with the Carmen Elektra Underground Opera.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Barihunk Paulo Szot Live in Theaters Worldwide Tomorrow

Paulo Szot as Don Giovanni at the Dallas Opera
The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Massenet’s Manon will be transmitted live to movie theaters around the world on Saturday, April 7 as part of The Met: Live in HD series. Barihunk Paulo Szot sings Manon’s cousin Lescaut in the performance.

Anna Netrebko will make her Met role debut as the tragic heroine Manon in the production directed by Laurent Pelly. Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi will conduct the opera for the first time at the Met, and tenor Piotr Beczala makes his role debut as the ardent Chevalier des Grieux. The Met: Live in HD presentation of Manon will be hosted by soprano Natalie Dessay.

Visit the Met's website for more information on The Met: Live in HD series, now seen in more than 1,700 movie theaters in 54 countries around the world..

Szot starred as Kovalyov in the 2010 Met premiere of Shostakovich’s The Nose and returned last season as a sexy Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. He won a 2008 Tony Award for his portrayal of Emile de Becque in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peter Brathwaite signs recording deal as part of Amore

Peter Brathwaite as he appears as the April feature in the Barihunks calendar
British barihunk Peter Brathwaite is one of our featured singers for the month of April in our 2012 Barihunks charity calendar, so it seems appropriate to announce his latest success.

Brathwaite is part of a new opera quartet called Amore, which has signed up with Warner Brothers Records. Their debut album entitled "Stand Together" is scheduled for release in the United Kingdom on May 28 and is available for pre-order on Amazon. Tracks include Abide With Me, Nella Fantasia, Ave Maria, the Flower duet, Cantique De Jean Racine, Amazing Grace, Here's To The Heroes, the Bacarolle, Jerusalem, Nimrod (We Will Stand Together) and the Brindisi (which you can sample below).

The group goes on tour this summer, with a concert on June 29 at Russell Watson's Jubilee Proms in Buckinghamshire. In August, they will be in Scarborough and Saffron Walden. Check out their website for additional information. You can also follow the quartet on Twitter at @weareamore  or on Facebook.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Reader Submission: Dmitry Zuev

Dmitry Zuev
We don't get many emails from Russia, so we perked up when we saw an email suggesting we check out the guy singing the title role in Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" at the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theatre in Moscow.

Zuev was born in Russia and studied at the famous Moscow State Conservatory. His repertoire includes Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Gryaznoi in The Tsar's Bride (Rimsky-Korsakov), Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti), Marcello in La boheme (Puccini), the title role in Yevgeny Onegin (Tchaikovsky) and others. He has performed in Israel, Spain, Great Britain, Italy, Estonia and Azerbaijan.

The next performance of Eugene Onegin is on Thursday, April 5th.

We'll keep an eye on this singer as his career progresses. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any video, but here is another famous Russian, Dmitry Hvorostovsky, singing Eugene Onegin.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Breaking News: Michael Weyandt wins Trueman Art Song Competition

Michael Weyandt
Barihunks continue to leave the competition in the dust at vocal competitions around the world. The two top winners at the Mary Trueman Art Song Vocal Competition in New York City were both barihunks.

Michael Weyandt won top honors and Malcolm Merriweather won an encouragement award (along with mezzo Rosalie Sullivan).  As winner, Weyandt will be featured in his own recital with accompanist Thomas Muraco in 2013. The talented singer can next be seen performing Handel's "Almira" with operamission from May 26-31.

Weyandt performs Peter Maxwell Davis' Eight Songs for a Mad King, with the 
Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble:

Weyandt performed Bellini's "Ma rendi pur contento," Schubert's "Das Zugenglocklein," Brahms' "Unbewegte laue Luft," Debussy's "Trois Ballades de Francois Villon, no. 2.," Poulenc's "Sanglots," and Ives' "General William Booth Enters Into Heaven." His accompanist was Jennifer Peterson.

Malcolm Merriweather
Merriweather performed Richard Strauss' "Lob des Leidens," Rossini's "L'ultimo ricordo," Hahn's "A Chloris," Mahler's "Wer hat dies Leidsein erdacht?," Ives' "He is there!" and Ralph Vaughan Williams' "I got me flowers" (from Five Mystical Songs). His accompanist was Alden Gatt.

Malcolm Merriweather singing "Easter" from Five Mystical Songsin 2010:

All finalists who participated will receive free admission into future ASPS workshops and master classes for the next year where each will have the opportunity to work closely with master class guest artist on the ASPS Advisory Board.

The competition is sponsored by the Art Song Preservation Society of New York.