Tuesday, September 16, 2014

David Adam Moore in innovative Alcina in NYC


David Adam Moore as Melisso in Alcina (Photo: Philippe Tremblay-Berberi)

David Adam Moore, who is featured in October in our 2014 Barihunks Charity Calendar, is currently appearing in Handel's Alcina in director R. B. Schlather's innovative production at the Whitebox Art Center in New York City. There will be performances on September 20 and 21 at the Whitebox main exhibition space.

Handel’s 1735 opera Alcina is a story of love and illusion that includes some of the composer's most inventive and melodic music. Schlather is staging this work in an untraditional opera venue and is opening up all the musical and staging rehearsals up to September 17, as well as the General Rehearsal on September 19th at 7pm.  These rehearsals are free, except on Thursdays, thanks to an IndieGoGo campaign, which you can still donate to. For the final performances, the opera will be enacted live with an orchestra, in Italian, utilizing new technologies with projected English subtitles.

The opera is set on the island of the enchantress Alcina, and explores themes of identity, illusion, and transformation. This island exists as a beautiful landscape in the middle of the ocean, where Alcina culls her powers to create a paradise, only to lure and seduce the knights that wash up on her shore, one of whom is the heroic Ruggiero. Alcina’s magic causes Ruggiero to fall under her spell and, in doing so, he forsakes his duty as a knight and forgets his fiancée, Bradamante. The opera develops as Bradamante disguises herself as a male warrior her brother “Ricciardo” and sets out on a mission to recover her love.

Accompanied by Alcina’s guardian, Melisso (played by David Adam Moore), the two are shipwrecked on Alcina’s island by fate. Imminent danger awaits Ruggiero, as Alcina possesses the power to transform her foes and lovers of whom she tires into rocks, trees, and wild beasts. The already heavily dramatized plot is further complicated by the integration of different characters who all, in their own right, act on emotions of love and jealousy. In portraying Alcina’s thickened plot, Schlather’s production brings to life a story of enchantment, folding into it classic operatic moments of romance, betrayal, violence, unrequited love, and magic.

Click HERE for tickets.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pallesen and Abdrazakov performing in Richard Tucker Gala


Ildar Abdrazakov and Nicholas Pallesen

Barihunks Nicholas Pallesen and Ildar Abdrazakov will be part of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation's annual gala n Sunday, October 12 at Avery Fisher Hall. Other performers include Anna Netrebko, Joseph Calleja, Marcello Giordani, Zeljko Lucić, and previous Tucker Award laureates Angela Meade, Isabel Leonard, and Stephen Costello. The singers will perform arias and ensembles led by Emmanuel Villaume, Music Director of the Dallas Opera.


Founded in 1975, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is a non-profit cultural organization dedicated to perpetuating the artistic legacy of the great Brooklyn-born tenor by nurturing the careers of talented young American opera singers. It also offers free performances in the New York metropolitan area and supports music education enrichment programs. Each year, the Foundation confers its most prestigious prize, the Richard Tucker Award, on an artist poised at the edge of a major international career. The award comes with a $50,000 cash prize as well as the ongoing support of the Tucker family and Foundation.

Tickets for this year’s event range from $40 to $600 and are on sale to the public through the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s website. Reservations for the gala dinner can be arranged by contacting the Tucker Foundation offices at (212) 757-2218.

Further information about the 2014 gala and the work of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation is available at www.richardtucker.org.

Kristin Chenoweth & Paulo Szot in PBS broadcast



Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth will join barihunk Paulo Szot on the PBS broadcast of Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of Our National Anthem on Saturday, September 13 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. (Check local listings.) The concert is part of a weeklong celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.

The duo will perform Leonard Bernstein's Make Our Garden Grow. The gala concert will also include performances by Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves-Montgomery, country group Little Big Town, Pentatonix, R&B legend Smokey Robinson,  country crooner, Train, the U.S. Navy’s official chorus The Navy Band Sea Chanters and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director Marin Alsop.

Paulo Szot rehearsing for the Star-Spangled Spectacular
The program will also include ceremonial activities at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, historical highlights and an extraordinary fireworks crescendo.

Two hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was inspired to write the words to what would become the United States’ national anthem.  In 2012, Star-Spangled 200 and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission began a multi-year commemoration of this legacy which will culminate with Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong festival taking place on September 10–16, 2014. The festival will include tall ships, Navy gray hulls, a performance by the Blue Angels, landside festivities, and this special television program to honor the national anthem.

Daphne's three barihunks available for free viewing online



We recently posted about Richard Strauss' Daphne at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels featuring three singers who have appeared on this site: Matt Boehler, Justin Hopkins and Kris Belligh.  The opera, which is running through September 30th, features an all-star cast led by Sally Matthews as Daphne, Eric Cutler as Apollo, Peter Lodahl and Leukippos and Iain Paterson as Peneios.

La Monnaie will have the performance available on their website for free from October 1st through the 21st.

Matt Boehler in Don Giovanni
Upcoming roles for Justin Hopkins include the sold out world premiere of Repast: An Oratorio Homage to Booker Wright in Oxford, Mississippi, the role of Publio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito with Opera in the Heights, and Britten's War Requiem with the Dayton Philharmonic.

Upcoming performance for Matt Boehler include Rocco in Beethoven's Fidelio with the Madison Opera and Bertrand in Tchaikovsky's Iolanta at the Metropolitan Opera.

Pietro di Bianco stars in 20th Century opera buffa


Pietro di Bianco opens on Saturday, September 13th as Beaupertuis in Nino Rota's Il cappello di paglia di Firenze at beautiful Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari, Italy. This performance precedes his upcoming performance at the Paris Opera Competition on November 19tth, where he will be in the finals with fellow baritones Xiaohan Zhai of China and Sam Roberts-Smith of Australia.

Il cappello di paglia di Firenze (The Florentine Straw Hat) is based on the classic French farce The Italian Straw Hat by Eugène Labiche and Marc Michel, and the 1955 opera is considered one of the truest opera buffas since the death of Donizetti. 

Watch the opera complete in this 1999 production with Juan Diego Florez: 

The story is about Fadinard, a nervous bridegroom, who takes a ride in the park the morning of his wedding. His horse finds a straw hat and starts to eat it. It belongs to a young married woman named Anaide who is trysting in the park with her military officer lover, Emilio. Fadinard must find a match for the hat–else fight a duel with the officer–all the while fending off the suspicions of his bride’s father.

Di Bianco's character of Beaupertuis is the jealous husband of Anaide. 

(The Florentine Straw Hat) is based on the classic French farce The Italian Straw Hat by Labiche and Michel, and it may be the best pure opera buffa since the death of Donizetti. It has the sparkle of Rossini, the sassiness of Prokofiev, and the wit of Poulenc. (The plot: Fadinard, a nervous bridegroom, takes a ride in the park the morning of the nuptials. His horse finds a straw hat and starts to eat it. It belongs to a young married woman who is trysting in the park with her military officer lover. Fadinard must find a match for the hat–else fight a duel with the officer–all the while fending off the suspicions of his bride’s father.) - See more at: http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12670/#sthash.zmyZsG4c.dpuf
(The Florentine Straw Hat) is based on the classic French farce The Italian Straw Hat by Labiche and Michel, and it may be the best pure opera buffa since the death of Donizetti. It has the sparkle of Rossini, the sassiness of Prokofiev, and the wit of Poulenc. (The plot: Fadinard, a nervous bridegroom, takes a ride in the park the morning of the nuptials. His horse finds a straw hat and starts to eat it. It belongs to a young married woman who is trysting in the park with her military officer lover. Fadinard must find a match for the hat–else fight a duel with the officer–all the while fending off the suspicions of his bride’s father.) - See more at: http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-12670/#sthash.zmyZsG4c.
Performances run from September 13-18 and tickets are available online
 

Morgan Smith featured in Opera News

Morgan Smith (Photo © James Salzano 2014;Grooming Affan Malik)
Morgan Smith has rugged good looks, striking intelligence, charismatic stage presence and a powerful baritone of mingled velvet and steel — yet he considers himself a work in progress. “One of my biggest challenges has been thinking too much,” he says. “People say the best singers are those who are able to turn down the velocity of the wheels in their head — not to say I’m some brilliant mind, but I do have a very analytical, active mind, and I often feel I could be better at turning that off at the appropriate times.” But he notes that a singer has to earn the right to let go. “It’s so important for any artist — in order to be a vessel, in order to have the story speak through them, the technical ducks have to be in a row.”

Smith grew up in White Plains, playing cello, jazz bass and soccer (Columbia recruited him as a goalie), but a high-school production of Into the Woods opened the door to vocal studies, and by the time he had earned his Ivy League B.A., he was ready to pursue his master’s degree at Mannes. “And then what do you do after that?” he says. “You hurry up and wait for your pants to fit.” 

[CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING AT OPERA NEWS]

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Operas next great Cassandra may be Seth Carico

Seth Carico as Cassandra (photo by Bernd Uhlig)
When we think of Cassandra in opera, we immediately think of the great leading ladies of opera who have portrayed her on the stage, particularly in Berlioz's masterpiece Les Troyens. One thinks of Geraldine Ferrar, Jessye Norman, Deborah Voigt, Anna Caterina Antonacci and Janet Baker, all of whom had career defining moments in the role of King Priam's daughter and prophetess. Well, move over divas, there's a new girl in town...and it's a guy!

Barihunk Seth Carico is currently starring as Kassandra (Cassandra) in Iannis Xenkis' Oresteia at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The production has been mounted on the upper deck of its multi-story parking garage rather than on their mainstage. The premiere of the work was actually performed on a baseball field in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

The work is somewhat of a hybrid between dance and opera, with ancient Greek tradition being upheld as the chorus tells much of the story. As in other productions, the bass-baritone is expected to sing in both his natural voice and a falsettto making this an extremely difficult feat for Carico. In this production Cassandra is portrayed as one of two spirits trying to inhabit one body.

Michael Hofmeister as Athena photo by Bernd Uhlig)
The story begins at the close of the Trojan War and touches on Agamemnon’s return with Cassandra and the murder of them both by his wife, Clytemnestra. The core questions posed in the piece relate to guilt, ritual, religion and personal responsibility – or the agreeable system of social organization. The work ends with Athena’s establishment of mortal justice and her conversion of the Furies into the more benign Eumenides.

Seth Carico as Cassandra (photo by Bernd Uhlig)
The staging is by director David Hermann and set designer Christof Hetzer, who teamed up at the Deutsche Oper Berlin for Helmut Lachenmann’s The Little Match Girl. Performances continue from September 12-16 and tickets are available online.

This isn't Seth Carico's first appearance dealing with gender, regular readers will remember this post of him at the Fort Worth Opera in Mark Adamo's Lysistrata