Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baritones with String Quartet in San Francisco and New York explore grief and loss

Nathan Gunn & Jesse Blumberg
Fans of vocal music accompanied by string quartet are in luck on both coasts. At New York's Zankel Hall, on February 19th Nathan the indefatigable Nathan Gunn will perform the world-premiere of Jennifer Higdon's chamber version of "Barnyard Bloom."

Based on Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" the piece explores a wide range of grief and loss. Gunn will also perform Samuel Barber's famous “Dover Beach" which is also accompanied by string quartet. Gunn will also be joined by his wife Julie Gunn for a selection of songs in English by Butterworth, Quilter, Ives, Bowles, and Ben Moore.

Nathan Gunn can next be seen in Rossini's Le Comte d'Ory at the Metropolitan Opera opening February 2nd. 

Across the country on the same date, Jesse Blumberg will also explore the topic of grief and loss in Ricky Ian Gordon's masterful 80-minute mini-opera "Green Sneakers." The work was written as a way for Gordon to find solace from the grief of losing his partner, Jeffrey Grossi, to AIDS, and following their last few months together. Blumberg, who created the piece, joins San Francisco's exciting Del Sol Quartet in this performance. 
Jesse Blumberg performs the epilogue to Green Sneakers:
The work will be performed at the Southside Theater at Fort Mason in San Francisco on February 19th. Seating is limited, so purchase tickets today. The performance will be directed by the talented young director John De Los Santos.
Fans of Blumberg in New York are in luck, as Green Sneakers will be featured as part of Lincoln Center Presents on April 6th at the Kaplan Penthouse. Tickets are available online. , who we named the top opera director in 2010. If you can't wait that long, check him out at the New York Festival of Song, where he'll join soprano Stacey Tappan in music by Ricky Ian Gordon, Kevin Puts, Christopher Theofanidis and others.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Acclaimed "Silent Night" to open in Philadelphia with an army of barihunks

Regular readers might recall that we generously covered the debut of Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera "Silent Night," when it premiered at the Minnesota Opera in 2011.  It featured a veritable army of barihunks including Troy Cook, Gabriel Preisser, Ben Wager, Michael Nyby and Craig Irvin, all of whom posed for a picture that we posted [see below].

Five of the barihunks from that production are reprising their roles at Opera Philadelphia opening on February 8th and running through February 17th. They include Craig Irvin as Lieutenant Horstmayer, the German commanding officer; baritone Liam Bonner as Lieutenant Audebert, the conflicted French commander and his aide-de-camp Ponchel sung by Andrew Wikowske; baritone Gabriel Preisser as Lieutenant Gordon; and, Troy Cook as Father Palmer.

Troy Cook, Gabriel Preisser, Ben Wager, Michael Nyby and Craig Irvin
Tenor William Burden stars as the drafted opera singer whose voice inspires peace among adversaries and soprano Kelly Kaduce as his love interest, Anna Sørenson. Kaduce also happens to be married to a barihunk in real life, Lee Gregory.

Liam Bonner sings Lieutenant Audebert's "J'ai perdu ta photo" 

Silent Night, which is based on the 2005 French film Joyeux Noel, recounts a miraculous moment of peace during one of the bloodiest wars in human history.   On World War I’s western front, weapons are laid down when Scottish, French and German officers defy their superiors and negotiate a Christmas Eve truce. Enemies become brothers as they come together to share Christmas and bury their dead.

Gabriel Preisser
Tickets and additional information is available online.

Also in 2014, the Fort Worth Opera Festival will give the regional premiere of the opera.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Seattle Opera announces new season with barihunk-laden Consul, Rigoletto

Donovan Singletary and Steven LaBrie
The Seattle Opera announced its 2013-14 season which includes two operas not generally thought of as barihunk operas, Menotti's The Consul and Verdi's Rigoletto.

The Consul includes three of the hottest singers on the scene, led by Seattle resident Michael Todd Simpson in the major role of John Sorel. Also in the cast are Steven LaBrie as the Police Agent and Joseph Lattanzi as Assan. LaBrie is making his Seattle Opera debut. Performances run from February 22nd to March 7, 2014. The Consul won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

Marco Vratogna
This year is the big 200th anniversary of Verdi's birth, so we're getting an ample supply of the Italian's operas. Usually it's Attila that features two barihunks and rarely is it Rigoletto. Seattle has cast the amazing Marco Vratogna as the hunchbacked jester and this is a portrayal that is not to be missed. We caught him at the San Francisco Opera and it was one nothing short of a masterful performance both vocally and dramatically. In the smaller, but important role of the Count Monterone is fitness guru Donovan Singletary. Gilda and the Duke will be performed by Davinia Rodríguez and Francesco Demuro respectively. The opera is being transported to 1930s Italy and performances run from January 11-25, 2014.

Michael Todd Simpson and Joseph Lattanzi
Speaking of anniversary seasons, the Seattle Opera seems to be marking a bunch of them this season, including their 50th anniversary, their 10th year at McCaw Hall and general director Speight Jenkins'  30th year leading the company.

Other operas for the upcoming season include Donizetti's Daughter of the Regiment from October 19-November 2, 2013 with tenor Lawrence Brownlee and Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffman from May 3-17, 2014 with tenor William Burden and the brilliant mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey. Visit the Seattle Opera website for additional information and don't miss their upcoming Ring Cycle featuring Greer Grimsley as Wotan.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Paul Thompson in West Edge Opera's L'incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi

Paul Thompson
West Edge Opera (formerly Berkeley Opera) is performing Claudio Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea in a new edition created by Mark Streshinsky and Gilbert Martinez. Performances will be on February 1, 2 and 3 and tickets are available online.

Seneca, a philosopher and Nero's tutor, will be played by Paul Thompson. The young bass studied with the Bay Area Summer Opera Theatre Institute and the American Institute of Musical Studies. He has performed a number of roles on the West Coast, including Dr. Grenvil in Verdi's La Traviata with Opera San Jose, the title character in Donizetti's Don Pasquale with Nevada Opera Theater and Sarastro in Mozart's Magic Flute at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Michael Schopper sings "Solitudine amata" from L'Incoronazione di Poppea:

Poppea is one of the earliest operas ever written. But even in 1642 when it was written, sensuality ruled the day. Emperor Nero can’t get his mind off the beautiful Poppea. He thinks about her more than he thinks about his country. He certainly thinks about her more than he thinks about the Empress.

Nero is Christine Brandes, Poppea is Emma McNairy and Ottone is the rising countertenor sensation Ryan Belongie.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Nicholas Nelson performs and explains Tosca

Nicholas Nelson
Barihunk Nicholas Nelson explains the plot of Tosca in one minute with one beer.  He'll be performing in the opera as Angelotti from February 1-9 at the Portland Opera with Kara Shay Thomson as Tosca, Roger Honeywell as Cavaradossi and Mark Schnaible as Scarpia. Tickets are available online.

Nelson is a returning Resident Artist with the Portland Opera. He previously performed roles with the Portland Opera in Bernstein's Candide, Philip Glass' Galileo Galilei, Puccini's Madame Butterfly, Ravel's L’Heure Espagnole and L’Enfant et les Sortilèges, and Puccini's Turandot. Nelson made his debut with Tacoma Opera last season as Selim in Turk In Italy.

Originally from Winthrop, Minnesota, Nelson attended the University of Minnesota. In 2007, Nelson won First Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the Minnesota District.

Canadian Opera's sexy Collines open new season

Hot Collines: Tom Corbeil and Christian Van Horn
The Canadian Opera Company in Toronto has announced their 2013-14 season, which is leading the way with a barihunk filled production of Puccini's La boheme. We often get asked if we post basses and bass-baritones, as well. We post all of the low male voices and actually love when we see roles like Colline filled with sexy bass-baritones. After all, the guys in La boheme are bunch of young, Parisian artists, so we expect them to look the part.

Phillip Addis
The Canadian Opera Company hasn't disappointed us in this regard, rotating Christian Van Horn and Tom Corbeil as Colline. Both singers have been regulars on this site. They've also cast Phillip Addis and Joshua Hopkins as the Marcellos, so barihunk fans should get their tickets now. Performances will run from October 3-30, 2012. Tickets are available online.

Tom Corbeil, who recently wrapped up a tour of the Addams Family: The Broadway Musical, returns to his operatic roots in a big way, as he'll also be singing Swallow in Benjamin Britten's masterpiece Peter Grimes. Tenor Ben Heppner will sing the title role and soprano Ileana Montalbetti will take on Ellen Orford. Peformances run from October 5-26, 2013.

Robert Gleadow
Other operas this season include Robert Gleadow as Guglielmo in Mozarts Cosi fan tutte (Jan 18-Feb 21), Verdi's Un ballo in maschera (Feb 2-22), Handel's Hercules (April 5-30), Donizetti's Roberto Deveraux (April 25- May 21) and Massenet's Don Quichotte (May 9-24).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Matthew Worth to premiere "Doubt" as Father Flynn

Matthew Worth strikes his Father Flynn pose
2012 (c) Aleutian Calabay for Minnesota Opera
The Minnesota Opera is presenting the world premiere of Douglas J. Cuomo’s opera Doubt, which opens on January 26th and runs through February 3rd. The libretto was written by playwright John Patrick Shanley, who based it on his Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The opera was commissioned by Minnesota Opera in collaboration with the Cincinnati Opera and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. The opera is part of the opera company’s New Works Initiative, a landmark program designed to invigorate the operatic repertoire with an infusion of contemporary works.

Matthew Worth on playing Father Flynn in Doubt:

The premiere of Doubt will feature Matthew Worth as Father Flynn, who is accused of inappropriate behavior with a young African-American student. Soprano Christine Brewer will sing the role of the school principal Sister Aloysius, who makes the accusations and sets the drama in motion at the Bronx-based Roman Catholic in 1964. The young, idealistic Sister James will be played by Adriana Zabala and the boy's mother by mezzo Denyce Graves. Other than a chorus and a children's chorus, these are the only vocal roles. The opera will be conducted by Christopher Franklin and directed by Kevin Newbury. Tickets are available online.

Matthew Worth on Mozart and modern American opera:

Matthew Worth returns to the Minnesota Opera after a successful run as Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte in the 2011-12 season. After Doubt he'll return to the role of Guglielmo on March 15th with the Boston Lyric Opera. On April 4th and 6th, he returns to Opera Memphis to partake in the Midtown Opera Festival in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. This is his third world premiere, as he created the role of William Shrike in Lowell Liebermann's Miss Lonelyhearts with the Juilliard Opera and the Coachman in Stephen Hartke's The Greater Good at Glimmerglass Opera, which was recorded for Naxos.

Matthew Worth talks about the music of Doubt:

The play Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley, won both the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2005 Tony Award for Best Play. In 2008, Shanley wrote and directed the motion picture adaptation of Doubt, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including a Best Adapted Screenplay nod for Shanley. 

Matthew Worth talks about some other projects:

Cast Change: Jeremy Carpenter replaces Peter Coleman-Wright in ROH's Gloriana

Jeremy Carpenter
Australian baritone Peter Coleman-Wright has withdrawn from singing the role of Sir Robert Cecil for all performances of Britten's Gloriana. The role will now be sung by British baritone Jeremy Carpenter, marking his debut with The Royal Opera.

Jeremy Carpenter studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under the tutelage of Ellis Keeler, Rudolf Piernay and David Pollard. He began the 2010/2011 season singing the role of Gérard in Andrea Chénier at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm with tremendous critical acclaim, followed by Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with the Angers Nantes Opéra. The last season included Escamillo in Carmen at the Royal Swedish Opera, followed by the same role at the Malmö Opera. During the current season he has returned to the Royal Swedish Opera for Carmen and sang Talpa in concert performances of Puccini's Il tabarro with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Harding. During the current spring he appears as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Grand Théâtre de Genève followed by Sir Robert Cecil in Britten's Gloriana at the ROH Covent Garden.

Tickets for Richard Jones’s new production of Gloriana went on sale last week and are available online. The production stars soprano Susan Bullock and tenor Toby Spence. Performances run from June 20th– July 6th.

Commemorating Samuel Barber (March 9, 1910-January 23, 1981)

Samuel Barber and Thomas Hampson
The great composer Samuel Barber died on this day in 1981 and we figured it was appropriate to commemorate him. After all, he gave us some of the most beautiful music ever written for baritone (as well as other voices).

Samuel Barber's music, masterfully crafted and built on romantic structures and sensibilities, is at once lyrical, rhythmically complex, and harmonically rich. He was born on March 9, 1910 in West Chester, Pennsylvania and died on January 23, 1981. Barber wrote his first piece at age 7 and attempted his first opera at age 10. At the age of 14 he entered the Curtis Institute, where he studied voice, piano, and composition. Later, he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner.

Giorgio Tozzi sings "For ev'ry love there is a last farewell" from Vanessa:

Samuel Barber wrote numerous songs set to some of the world's greatest poets, including James Joyce, Matthew Arnold, Rainer Maria Rilke, A.E. Housman, James Agee and James Stephens. Some of Barber’s greatest music stemmed from these poetic inspirations, including the Hermit Songs, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, the three powerful James Joyce settings and Rilke's texts for Mélodies passagères. His writing is lyrical with expressive and nuanced shadings and a keen connection to the text. Songs like "Sure on this shining night" have become standards on song recital programs.

Thomas Hampson sings "Un cygne" from Mélodies passagères: 

At Curtis, Barber met Gian Carlo Menotti with whom he would form a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Menotti supplied libretti for Barber's operas Vanessa (for which Barber won the Pulitzer) and A Hand of Bridge. Barber's music was championed by a remarkable range of renowned artists, musicians, and conductors including Vladimir Horowitz, John Browning, Martha Graham, Arturo Toscanini, Dmitri Mitropoulos, Jennie Tourel, Thomas Hampson, Gerald Finley and Eleanor Steber. His Antony and Cleopatra was commissioned to open the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 1966.

Gerald Finley sings "St. Ida's Vision":

Barber was the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including the American Prix de Rome, two Pulitzers, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His intensely lyrical Adagio for Strings has become one of the most recognizable and beloved compositions, both in concerts and films ("Platoon," "The Elephant Man," "El Norte," "Lorenzo's Oil").

 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sing "Dover Beach":

For more information about Samuel Barber's songs, visit Thomas Hampson's Hampsong site dedicated to promoting the art of the American song.

Perhaps his greatest piece is Knoxville: Summer of 1915, which was written for Eleanor Steber and performed here by Leontyne Price.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ben Connor in skivvies for updated La boheme

Andrew Owens (left) and Ben Connor (right)
Australian baritone Ben Connor stripped down to his skivvies for the Kammeroper of Vienna's production of La boheme. This isn't the usual La boheme, as it's the chamber version of the opera by composer Jonathan Dove, with electronic interludes by Sinem Altan. Dove's version reduces the the big Puccini orchestra to just fourteen musicians.

The characters are a cast of bored pseudo-artists set in a penthouse, department store and hospital death chamber. Purists may be shocked by Mimi dying bald behind the glass wall of a hospital. Critics have praised the work for its originality and humor.

Remaining performances are on January 23, 26. and 30, as well as February 1, 10, 15, 17, 21. and 24.

The Australian baritone Ben Connor graduated with a Masters of Music in voice from the Australian National University where he was the recipient of the Harmony Endowment scholarship. After furthering his studies at the Universität für Musik und darstellende kunst in Vienna, he is now a member of the inaugural “Junges Ensemble” at the Theater an der Wien. Ben won the 2010 Aria Competition at the “National Eisteddfod”(Canberra, Australia) and in 2011 was the recipient of the Richard Wagner Stipendium Bayreuth prize from “Klassik Mania”(Vienna).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rhys Lloyd Talbot advances in Met Auditions

Rhys Lloyd Talbot

We suspect that barihunk Rhys Lloyd Talbot is at the top of the world after advancing from the Iowa District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions to the Upper Midwest Regional competition in St. Paul on Saturday, February 2nd. Talbot was joined by soprano Aviva Fortunata in advancing to the next round.

Talbot, a native of Cedar Falls, Iowa received $1,250 for winning the Joan Bunke Memorial Award. He is a student of John Hines at the University of Northern Iowa.

CLOSEOUT SALE ON 2013 BARIHUNKS CALENDAR: 15% off until January 31
Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Luis Alejandro Orozco in Piazzolla's "Maria de Buenos Aires" in Lexington and Miami

Luis Alejandro Orozco
Barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco will be performing Astor Piazzolla's tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires in both Lexington and Miami. We introduced him to readers last summer after a reader tip.

His first performances will be February 1-3 at the Black Box Theater in Lexington, Kentucky. The performance features the Lexington Philharmonic with mezzo-soprano Solange Merdinian and narrator Enrique Andrade. We're particularly excited because John De Los Santos, our "Best Director" from our "Best of Barihunks 2011" list will be directing. De Los Santos will also be directing the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's "Green Sneakers," which we recently posted about.

Luis Alejandro Orozco sings "Deh, vieni alla finestra" from Don Giovanni:

Piazzolla’s style, now known as nuevo tango, was initially rebuffed, but later caused a resurgence of popularity in Argentinean tango and Piazzolla’s music. Using two singers and a narrator, the audience is lead through the story, as characters shift and Maria dies and her spirit confronts her life in the streets of Buenos Aires. It is an allegorical tale of Maria and her life, which is the spirit of tango, death and resurrection.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the Lexington Philharmonic box office at 859-233-4226 or visiting their website.

Hot directorial talents: John De Los Santos and José Maria Condemi
Orozco will reprise his performance from March 21-24 at the Florida Grand Opera. Maria will be performed by Catalina Cuervo and the piece will be directed by José Maria Condemi, another director whose work has been impressing us. He's currently directing Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas at the Utah Opera with barihunk Nmon Ford.

Tickets for Maria de Buenos Aires are available online.

Luis Alejandro Orozco was born in El Paso Texas, but raised in Juarez, Mexico for most of his life. Orozco is currently an artist diploma candidate at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. He has performed with such companies as Lake George Opera (Saratoga Opera), Des Moines Metro Opera, El Paso Opera and Cincinnati Opera.

Teatro di Capua's trailer of Maria de Buenos Aires:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Introducing Verdi Baritone Alberto Gazale

Alberto Gazale
Italian barihunk Alberto Gazale is new to us and we spotted him in the cast of Verdi's Il Corsaro at the Teatro Verdi in Trieste. Since we're celebrating the 200th anniversary of Verdi's death, we were hoping to discover some new Verdi baritones this year. The final performance of Il Corsaro is on Saturday, January 19th.

Gazale graduated at the Conservatory of Verona and the Accademia Lirica in Mantua, where he specialized in singing Verdi. In 1998, he made his operatic debut in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera in Parma. He has performed at most of the major opera houses in Italy, as well as the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Teatro Real in Madrid and the Opernhaus in Zürich. His Verdi repertory includes Attila, La traviata, Il trovatore, Don Carlo, I masnadieri, Luisa Miller, Un ballo in maschera, Aida, Rigoletto, Il Corsaro, Macbeth and Otello.

Alberto Gazale sings Rigoletto's "Cortigiani vil razza dannata":  

  Alberto Gazale sings "Per me giunto è il dì supremo" from Don Carlo:

Alberto Gazale sings Iago:

BREAKING NEWS: Brandon Cedel wins Middle Atlantic Met Regional Auditions

Brandon Cedel
Eleven months after winning the 2012 George London Foundation Competition, Brandon Cedel has won the Middle Atlantic Metropolitan Opera Regional Council Auditions at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.. Cedel sang Henry Purcell's "Arise ye subterranean winds" from the Tempest and Aleko's Cavatina by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Also competing in tonight's competition was barihunk Matthew Morris. Both Morris and Cedel appeared in our 2012 calendar. 

Brandon Cedel can next be seen performing the role of William Dale in the Opera Company of Philadelphia's production of Kevin Puts' "Silent Night." Performances run from February 8-17 and the cast includes barihunks Liam Bonner, Craig Irvin, Gabriel Preisser and Troy Cook. Tickets are available online.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cast Change: Michael Kelly steps into Winterreise

Michael Kelly
One of our favorite young baritones (and former tenor) Michael Kelly will replace Sanford Sylvan in "Winterreise" for Schubert & Co. next weekend. Kelly will be accompanied by Jonathan Ware at the piano.  The performance will be on Saturday, January 26 at the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City. We'd pay anything to hear Michael Kelly in this music, so the best thing about this concert is that it's free. 

If you can't wait until next weekend, Kelly will join fellow barihunk Jesse Blumberg this Sunday, January 20 in Schubert songs by Goethe. The duo will be joined by soprano Simone Easthope, soprano Raquel Gonzalez, mezzo Jazmina MacNeil and tenor Spencer Lang. The concert is also at the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City. Pianists Jonathan Ware and Malcolm Martineau will perform.

Schubert & Co. is a group of artists committed to furthering the art of song. Theyare  presenting the complete solo lieder of Franz Schubert in New York City in a series of recitals spanning from September 2012 to May 2013.

Jesse Blumberg
Fans of Jesse Blumberg on the opposite coast can see him on Tuesday, February 19th in San Francisco, where he'll perform in the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's "Green Sneakers." Tickets are available online.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Peter Brathwaite's "Amore" named Ambassadors for Kids

Peter Brathwaite
Peter Brathwaithe, a featured artist in our 2012 calendar and a member of the vocal quartet Amore, recently received some big news. His group was just named as one of the Ambassadors for ‘The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.’ The Foundation works with over a hundred organizations across the United Kingdon and has introduced over 100,000 children to the arts.

In an interview Peter said, “The arts for me are about possibilities and provide the space to unlock the imagination, something which every child is entitled to experience. I passionately believe that engaging with the arts at an early age sows the seeds for independent thought and ultimately provides the key to seeing the ‘bigger picture.”

Visit Amore's website HERE.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

David Adam Moore featured in The Examiner

David Adam Moore from the 2012 Barihunks calendar (photo Moses Jones)
Barihunk David Adam Moore received an extensive feature in the Southeast Texas issue of The Examiner, which you can read below.

Moore can next be heard on January 15th with the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Prior Walter in Eötvös' "Angels in America."The all-star cast also includes Brian Asawa, Measha Brueggergosman and Julia Migenes. Tickets are available online. In February and March, he'll be featured as Stanley Kowalski in Andre Previn's Streetcar Named Desire with Virginia Opera. On April 5th, he'll be featured in the same role with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The musical journey of Southeast Texas native  
David Adam Moore

From youth, people struggle to find their place in the world. They long to find their path, the road that leads them to the future. Students strive to decide what direction they want their lives to take. Once decided, obstacles in the path can cause people to choose to fork and leave completely the path they thought they wanted to follow, changing the course of their futures. Vidor native David Adam Moore faced obstacles and veered onto a path that would ultimately lead him to be a highly sought after operatic baritone.

The life of a performer, a life spent traveling, city to city, country to country, across continents, is a difficult yet rewarding one, according to Moore. He was raised in Vidor, born into a family with a musical background.

“I started making music from childhood because my family are all country and western musicians going back like five or six generations,” Moore said. “I think my grandfather, John Shirley Moore, actually had his own radio show as a teenager and started playing professionally locally in the nightclub scene from the time he was a teenager. My dad, John ‘Bubba’ Moore started working the nightclub scene in Southeast Texas when he was 13. Most of my aunts and uncles and my cousins play music…Most of them are nightclub musicians but some have played on the national level. My dad toured with Tracy Byrd for 15 years or so. So, I was around people making music.”

David Adam Moore pays homage to Leonard Bernstein
Moore said his interest was in electronic music, which had gained popularity at the time. He listened to bands like The Cure, The Smiths and Depeche Mode. He worked with synthesizers and learned about the technical side of music. He also started listening to classical music on KVLU while in high school. Moore said, at that time, he planned to go to college to study theology and possibly linguistics. A talent show at Vidor High School lead him to become a member of the choir, altering his course though he did not know it at the time. [Continue reading HERE]

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Britain Begins Celebrating Britten on BBC

Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Billy Budd at Opera Australia
BBC Radio 3 will begin a yearlong celebration of the life of Benjamin Britten on January 26th with a broadcast of the English National Opera’s 2012 production of Billy Budd starring Benedict Nelson. That broadcast will be followed on June 7th with Peter Grimes, live from the Aldeburgh Festival, and Gloriana, live from the Royal Opera House, on June 29th. The Aldeburgh Festival was founded by Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears in 1948.

Each opera broadcast will be introduced by a BBC Radio 3 Opera Guide, which will be available to download for free from the station’s website after the performance. 

Todd Boyce debuts Germont père in La traviata

Todd Boyce in Britten's Albert Herring (left)
We featured Todd Boyce in our sidebar yesterday as our daily video clip singing "Di Provenza" from Verdi's La traviata. We're big fans of his and loved hearing him debut this role. We've always been partial to younger Germont père's, as Violetta is a young courtesan and it fits the story more accurately.

Boyce is part of the Luzerner Theater ensemble where he'll also be singing Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola, Eumete in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno D'Ulisse in Patria and Niceros in Bruno Maderna's Satyricon.

His Germont père debuts tonight, so we thought we'd feature his sound clip of Di Provenza one more time. Tickets are available online.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Seph Stanek puts on some clothes for Yeoman

Seph Stanek in Naked Boys Singing
Seph Stanek, who has been appearing in Naked Boys Singing at the Kirk Theater, is going to put on some clothes and join the cast of the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players. He'll be performing the Headsman in The Yeomen of the Guard, which runs from January 18-20. Tickets are available online.

The buff singer, actually trained to sing opera but has done virtually everything in his young career, including appearing on HBO's Boardwalk Empire, performing with the all-male classical-crossover quartet Figaro, and performing with Josh Groban, Kristin Chenoweth, Trisha Yearwood, Carol Channing, Debbie Reynolds, Brooke Shields, and Sandi Patty.

His opera credits include Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte with Spartanburg Opera, the Baron in Verdi's La traviata with Lyrique-en-mer, the Notary in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Furman Opera and a soldier in the Met's Aida. He also was a lead singer during the American and International tour of "Twelve Irish Tenors."

Enjoy Seph Stanek singing Rubber Ducky in his rub a dub dub tub:

Cast Change: Alex Lawrence to close Pagliacci in Zurich

Alex Lawrence
Barihunk Alex Lawrence, who also happens to the be the son-in-law of barihunk Rod Gilfry, is stepping in as Silvio in the closing night performance of Pagliacci at the Opernhaus Zürich. The performance will be on Saturday, January 12 at 7 PM and also features Elena Moșuc as Nedda, Zoran Todorovich as Canio and Lucio Gallo as Tonio.

Tickets are available online

Lawrence scored a huge success as Sam in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti in Zurich last November. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Marty in the Morning" has some fun with barihunks

Richard Suart
Gilbert and Sullivan specialists Richard Suart and Steven Page appeared on the popular Irish radio show "Marty in the Morning" this morning. Although "The Gondoliers" was the topic, it eventually turned into a fun discussion about barihunks.  A phenomenon that they described as a bunch of "well-endowed baritones who attend gymnasiums...who are almost exclusively Americans."
The topic apparently didn't come up by accident, as Marty said his notes stated "ask about barihunks" highlighted in yellow marker. We felt bad that the two "avid watchers" of the site have never appeared on it, so we thought a post was only appropriate.
Steven Page
The segment includes some fun clips from Gilbert & Sullivan, including "From the sunny Spanish shore."
The two men are performing "The Gondoliers" at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Thursday, January 10th. Tickets are available online
You can listen to the show online. The conversation starts around the 2:39 mark with the two comic performers. Welcome to Barihunks, lads.

"The flowers that bloom in the Spring" sung by Marie McLaughlin as Yum Yum, Richard Suart as Ko-Ko, Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Nanki-Poo, Anne Howells as Pitti-Sing, 
and Richard van Allan as Pooh-Bah

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hot New Photo of Markus Werba and Dichterliebe

Markus Werba from his website
 We're looking forward to Markus Werba's appearance as the title character in Mozart's Don Giovanni in Torino opening on February 15th. In the meantime, we'd thought we'd share his performance of Schubert's Dichterliebe with pianist Gary Matthewman. We also thought it was a good excuse to share one of hot new pictures from his website.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christopher Burchett in skivvies for Soldier Songs

Christopher Burchett rehearsing Soldier Songs
Christopher Burchett begins the 2013 season in New York City with the one-man opera Soldier Songs by David T. Little as part of the PROTOTYPE New Music Festival produced by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE. Burchett has been running 30 miles a week to get into shape for the role. Of course, he's taking over the role from barihunk favorite David Adam Moore, who wowed readers with his photos from Soldier Songs.

Performances begin this Friday and run through January 18th at the Pace Schimmel Center for the Arts in New York City. Tickets are available online.

David Adam Moore in Soldier Songs
Burchett will also take Soldier Songs to Rotterdam in the Netherlands as part of the Operadagen Festival in 2015.

Soldier Songs combines elements of theater, opera, rock-infused-concert music, and animation. The  opera explores the perceptions versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war.

Christopher Burchett discusses his preparations to play the leading role in Soldier Songs.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

NEWS FLASH: Andre Courville is runner up in Met Auditions

Andre Courville
Andre Courville, a 26-year-old bass-baritone, took second-place in today's Metropolitan Opera National Council’s Gulf Coast regional auditions. Courville is the Director of Music and organist at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Lafayette, Louisiana and an aspiring opera singer.

He wowed judges by singing “Sorge infausta,” the magician Zoroastro’s aria from Handel’s “Orlando.” Then the church musician ironically turned himself into Mephistopheles with an aria from Gounod’s “Faust.”

The judges for the Gulf Coast regional finals were Gayletha Nichols, the executive director of the Metropolitan Opera National Council; Kim Witman, general director of the Wolf Trap Opera Company; Christopher McBeth, artistic director of the Utah Symphony and Opera; and Steven White, principal guest conductor of Opera Roanoke.

First place went to Korean soprano Hye Jung Le, who sang Amina’s aria from Bellini’s “La Sonnambula" and “I am the wife of Mao Tse-tung,” from John Adams' “Nixon in China.”

Andre Courville playing the organ in Lafayette
The budding star and former valedictorian of Cecilia High School has shown amazing musical talent since he was a kid, conducting his church choir in Henderson, Louisiana. 

Courville recently made his operatic debut in New York City as Hermann, Schlémil, and Crespel in The Tales of Hoffmann with the Martina Arroyo Foundation.  Other operatic roles include Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, and Marquis d’Obigny in La Traviata at Opera in the Ozarks.  He performed roles in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers and Delibe’s Lakmé with the Loyola Opera Theatre, and has performed with the New Orleans Opera Association.  In 2005, he had the honor of performing the bass solo in Dave Brubeck’s Pange Lingua Variations with members of the Buffalo Philharmonic and the composer at the piano.

Courville will be a member of the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers this year, where he'll be singing Marquis d’Obigny in Verdi's La Traviata.

Dan Kempson to Premiere Staged Version of Mohammed Fairouz’s Sumeida’s Song

Dan Kempson
Dan Kempson, who was the shirtless smash hit of our calendar this year and who made our Top 25 list of 2012, will perform in the staged World Premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s opera Sumeida’s Song. The one-hour opera will run from January 9-15.
The opera will be the first Arab-American opera to be fully produced on an American stage and comes on the heals of the controversy over al-Jazeera buying Current Media.  

Based on the classic Tawfiq El-Hakim play, Song of Death, the opera follows the return of a young man, Alwan, from Cairo to his Upper Egyptian peasant village. He defies his family’s expectations to fulfill an age-old blood feud, instead revealing the true purpose of his return: to end the cycle of violence. For his attempts to bring light and modernity to his village, and for challenging the structure of his society, he pays the ultimate price.

Hear the mezzo aria "The Saddle Bag" and the baritone aria "I Shall Tell Them" from the concert version premiere at the New York Society for Ethical Culture:

Tawfiq El-Hakim's story is well known in the Arab World, and Fairouz’s operatic adaptation captures the underlying aspirations of young people, like Alwan, who stand up for their ideals and for aspirations of a better life. Alwan's resonant proclamation — "I won’t kill" — embodies the noble mission of justice and progress in this timeless, timely, and universal story.

This staged world-premiere production will feature a chamber orchestration with Arabic and western instruments.  The cast also features Rachel Calloway, Edwin Vega and Amelia Watkins. Tickets are available online.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Alex Esposito in London recital & Berlin "Don Giovanni"

Alex Esposito as Leporello in Berlin
We're unabashedly huge fans of Italian barihunk Alex Esposito, especially when singing Mozart. His calendar is full of Mozart again this year with his definitive Leporello in Don Giovanni up next at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Also in the cast is Seth Carico, one of our favorite American singers, who will be taking on Masetto. Performances are on January 17, 19, 24 and 30 and tickets are available online.

Other upcoming performances as Leporello include one at the Théâtre du capitole in Toulouse (with barihunks Christopher Maltman and Kostas Smoriginas alternating as Don Giovanni) opening on March 15. On May 3rd he'll reprise his Leporello at the Bayersche Staatsoper in Munich with Gerald Finley as Don Giovanni and Tareq Nazmi as Masetto. 

Seth Carico from our 2012 Barihunks calendar
Carico, who is now part of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper, can be seen this year as Biterolf in Wagner's Tannhäuser, the Sacristan in Puccini's Tosca, Count Ribbing in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera, Panthée in Berlioz' Les Troyens, Count Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto, Astolfo in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia and Scriften in Dietsch's Das Geisterschiff.

Alex Esposito sings the catalogue aria from Don Giovanni:

Esposito will also be making his Rosenblatt Recitals debut at Wigmore Hall in London on February 5th. His program will include Leporello's catalogue aria, as well as "Vieni la mia vendetta" from Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, "Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni" from Bellini's La Sonnambula, "Cade dal ciglio il velo" from Rossini's Mosè in Egitto. He will also sing songs by Beethoven, Cesti, Carissimi and Tosti. Tickets are available on the Wigmore Hall website.

New York Post's Barihunk Spotting on New Year's Eve

Chris Herbert (photo by Geoff Silver)

In an item titled "Sweet celebration," the New York Post's Page Six gossip column features this about Martha Stewart and her barihunk nephew Chris Herbert. 

Martha Stewart certainly didn’t spend much time in the kitchen on New Year’s Eve. The domestic doyenne rang in the New Year with her nephew Chris Herbert, part of the acclaimed male singing quartet the New York Polyphony, Herbert’s partner Tim Long, and Stewart’s longtime friend Memrie Lewis. The group popped into Le Cirque in Midtown just before midnight for champagne and a crème brulée. Director Woody Allen and his wife, Soon-Yi, were also spotted at the restaurant. 

Herbert's aforementioned group New York Polyphony will next appear on January 26 with the Miller Theatre's Early Music Series at New York City's Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. They then head off on tour to Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Alberta, Virginia, Louisiana and Texas. Check out their full schedule at their website

Chris Herbert and his Aunt Martha (taken from her wonderful blog)

Also, check out their amazing new album endBeginning, which was was recorded in the superb acoustics of the 14th century church of Länna, Sweden, and features rare and never-before recorded works from the Franco-Flemish Renaissance by composers Crecquillon, Brumel and Clemens non Papa.

 New York Polyphony performs William Byrd's "Agnus Dei" on WQXR in New York:


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reader Submission: Pavol Kubán

Pavol Kubán
Last year we got some amazing reader submissions and it remains the #1 way that new talent finds its way onto Barihunks. It only took one day into the new year for us to receive our first reader submission of 2013.

A fan in Germany spotted Slovakian barihunk Pavol Kubán making his debut at the Semperoper in Dresden playing Nibbio in Domenico Sarro’s 1724 two-part intermezzo "Dorina e Nibbio." The original story by Pietro Metastasio tells of the impresario Nibbio who wishes to make the vocally talented village girl Dorina the star of his latest production. During the rehearsals Dorina increasingly feels herself exploited and humiliated. The end result is a public scandal at the premiere.

Pavol Kubán (Nibbio) and Gala El Hadidi (Dorina)
Pavol Kubán won the 2009 second Price at the Ferruccio Tagliavini Singing Competition in Austria and the Special Prize of the Opera Studio at the Scuola Italiana dell'Opera in Bologna. In the same year he appeared as a soloist with the baritone Johann Nepomuk Hummel's Oratorium in Slovakia, Austria, Hungary and was on two U.S. tours. In 2010, he was a finalist at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna.  

Since 2010 Pavol Kuban studied at the Scuola Italiana dell'Opera in Bologna. In 2011, he joined the Opera Festival Itria in Martina Franca, Italy in two productions, "Il novello di Giasone" and "IIl convitato di pietra."

Additional performances of "Dorina e Nibbio" are on March 24, May 9, May 19 and June 30. Tickets are available online.  

Tango with Erwin Schrott at 54 Below

Erwin Schrott
If you're going to be in New York on Sunday, February 3rd, you might want to head over to 54 Below where will be performing an intimate night of tango. Readers will recall that his photo with fellow barihunks Dmitri Hvorstovsky and Ildar Abdrazakov at tenor Charles Castronovo's event at 54 Below made our Top 25 of 2012 list under "Barihunk Feast." If you missed him that night, here's your chance to get up close and personal.

Schrott will fore-go the cavernous Metropolitan Opera for one night only and share his artistry in the 150-seat nightclub. The show will be centered around his award-winning CD Rojotango, which recently won the Echo Award, the European equivalent of the Grammy.

Barihunk Feast: Schrott, Hvorostovsky, Castronovo and Abdrazakov (Photo Credit: Charles Martin)
After winning Placido Domingo's international voice competition Operalia in 1998, Erwin Schrott has been an operatic superstar, burning up the stages of all the important opera houses of the world in Milan, London, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris with his acclaimed portrayals of all the great Mozart roles such as Don Giovanni, Leporello, and Figaro.

He's also become one of the most popular singers on this site.

Cover charges range from $30 to $40 and doors open at 8:45 PM for the 9:30 PM performance. Tickets are available online.