Friday, February 27, 2015

Christiaan Smith-Kotarek making NYC solo debut

Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek from his new video "Unusual Way"
Barihunk Chritiaan Smith-Kotlarek will be making his New York City solo recital debut at SubCulture on March 31st.  Accompanied by a jazz combo or with him at the guitar, the repertoire will steer away from opera. Music director Ben Rauhala has arranged a night of Broadway showstoppers to current chart-toppers, with songs by Josh Groban, Aloe Blacc, John Mayer, Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and the original rock star, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

You can sample Smith-Kotlarek's sexy new video "Unusual Way" here, which will give you a flavor of the evening. Tickets are only $25 and the $40 VIP ticket includes a meet an greet with the singer after the show. Tickets are available online.


In June, Smith-Kotlarek returns to the stage as Billy Bigelow in Carousel at Opera on the Avalon.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aaron Sørensen in 2 world premieres; Reprising Osmin in Baltimore

Aaron Sørensen's barihunk photo shoot
Bass-barihunk Aaron Sørensen has had an interesting beginning to the new year, performing two world premieres and his second Osmin.

He just released a song cycle by four-time Emmy Award-winning composer Glen Roven that was written with his voice in mind. The original song cycle is based on wine tasting notes from Obsidian Ridge Winery in Sonoma, California that were penned by winemaker Alex Beloz. The text screams for music with phraes like "dancing on the palate" and "a full crescendo of stony tannins." Only Sørensen's rich, deep base could do justice words like "dark hibiscus" which almost demands to be written for the lowest reaches of the human voice.

The song cycle will be premiered at the winery on June 20th and we'll have more details in a future post. There was also a video of the songs taped at Henry's Restaurant in New York City, which you can watch below. The video was directed by the gifted opera director John De Los Santos.


The former Barihunks calendar model also just sang in the world premiere of  Gregory Vajda’s comic opera Georgia Bottoms with fellow barihunk Mike Nyby and the Huntsville Symphony. The opera about the modern South, is based on the national best-seller by Alabama author Mark Childress.

On March 7th he'll sing his second performance of Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Peabody Opera Theatre in Baltimore. Osmin was Sørensen's dream role and he just debuted it with the Houston Symphony last month. The Peabody performance will be directed by Garnett Bruce, who directed their successful Rake's Progress in 2011.

The opera will be performed at the Modell Performing Arts Center in Baltimore and tickets are available online.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Günter Papendell in Calixto Bieto's Gianni Schicchi


Günter Papendell as Achille (left) and
We wouldn't normally think of pairing sexy German barihunk Günter Papendell with provocative director Calixto Bieto in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, but neither would we think of pairing the Puccini comedy with Bartok's bleak Bluebeard's Castle. Leave it to the Komische Oper in Berlin and Bieto to do just that.

Papendell, who've we've seen in various states of undress at the Komische, will play the role of the Schicchi.

The two operatic masterpieces both premiered in 1918, the same year that the Germans surrendered and ended WWI. The works could hardly be more different, and yet they are combined to form an operatic double bill - black Italian comedy meets Hungarian psycho-drama.

The Komische website states, "Little would appear to link Gianni Schicchi and Bluebeard’s Castle - except for their unadorned depiction of the human abyss. That master of melody Giacomo Puccini spices up his story of the family arguing about their inheritance at the deathbed of the patriarch with tearjerkers such as "O mio babbino caro". Béla Bartók penetrates into the depths in the complex landscape of the soul with his dense score. A grim mystery is hidden behind the seven forbidden doors in Count Bluebeard's Castle, and exposing this mystery will prove the downfall of one young woman."
Bluebeard's Castle and Gianni Schicchi at the Komische Oper
Gidon Saks will sing the role of Bluebeard in the Bartok opera. The operas are being performed without intermission, running approximately 2 1/2 hours. Performances run from March 1 through July 8.

This season Papendell can also be seen at the Komische as Don Giovanni, Escamillo, Achille in Handel's Giulio Cesare and Odysseus. In May, Gidon Saks heads across town to portray Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Deutsche Oper.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reader Submission: Nicholas Aguirre

Nicholas Aguirre
Our latest reader submission is Nicholas Aguirre, a first-year graduate student at University of Alabama. He'll be performing the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni at the University of Alabama Opera Theater on Wednesday, March 4th.

The Alabama native earned his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Vanderbilt University this past spring. He made his debut with the University of Alabama Opera Theater as Archibald Grosvenor in Gilbert & Sullivan's Patience.

He has also performed the role of Ronaldo Cabral in John Musto's Later the Same Evening, scenes from Don Giovanni and Kurt Weill's Street Scene as a participant in the Druid City Opera Workshop. He also performed works by Brahms in the Lieder studio at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

He enjoys songwriting and exercising and is the second oldest of eight children.

Benoit Pitre buffs up for Don Giovanni debut

Benoit Pitre in the Hauptstadtoper's Don Giovanni
Canadian barihunk Benoit Pitre, who we introduced to readers back in July 2014, is currently singing his dream role of Don Giovanni in his home base of Berlin, Germany. The German adaptation of the piece is being performed at the Hauptstadtoper, with upcoming performances on March 6, April 26, May 28, June 11 and June 20.

Pitre informed us that he's been working out since Christmas to ensure that he did justice to the shirtless direction. Additional information is available online. He made his European debut as Don Giovanni's sidekick Leporello with the Komischen Kammeroper in Munich.

On March 20th, he'll perform Siméon in Debussy's L'enfant prodigue with Sakrale Oper in Berlin.

Twitter Submission Phil Gault

Barihunk Phil Gault came to us via this Twitter message
Twitter is becoming an increasingly popular way for us to discover new barihunks. The latest was the message from "Mike D" that read, "Hey @Barihunks check out my buddy @PhilGault: RT "Oh - have some @ClubNoir pictures!"

So, we checked him out. Lo and behold, here he is on Barihunks.

The pictures were part of a Valentine's Day concert put on by the Scottish Opera at the burlesque Club Noir in Glasgow. Other singers included bass Jonathan Sedgwick and tenor Adam Magee.

Beach Barihunk Phil Gault
The Welsh baritone has performed internationally in roles ranging from the eponymous Macbeth and Barber of Seville, to the Count, Dandini, King Roger, Escamillo, and indeed Carmen in the critically acclaimed all-male CarMen.

He has performed with Scottish Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Northampton Festival Opera, and Secret Opera, is principal baritone for Opera on a Shoestring, co-founded Black Sheep Opera, and is a Samling and Crear artist. Other roles include Nabucco, Tarquinius, Junius, Nick Shadow, Angelotti, Morales, El Dancaïro, and Chao Lin (A Night at the Chinese Opera).

Gault has performed recitals in the Usher Hall, the Wales Millennium Centre, the Riverfront Centre and Paxton House, and is an aLuMNus of Yehudi Menuhin’s Live Music Now! scheme. His song repertory includes Dichterliebe, Chansons Gaillardes, Songs of Travel, Italienisches Liederbuch, and A Shropshire Lad, and his oratorio repertoire ranges from Carmina Burana and A Sea Symphony to the Bach Passions and cantatas, in venues from the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and the Usher Hall, to the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.

TV includes live broadcast recordings of the award nominated Macbeth and Barbwr Sefil with Opra Cymru, and audio includes Breathe Freely (Wagstaff), A Brontë Mass (Wilby), and A Breathless Alleluia (Wilby), both with the Black Dyke Band.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hadleigh Adams to peform biographical recital in San Francisco

Hadleigh Adams at Pinchgut Opera in Castor & Pollux and Bajazet
Kiwi barihunk Hadleigh Adams has written a 90-minute show that combines songs and arias he has sung throughout his life, along with anecdotes (both PG and R rated) to illustrate why he chose this most absurd of careers and why he knows he'll never leave. Adams traces his journey from small town New Zealand to the San Francisco Opera, the oh-so-garish lights of San Francisco's Castro District, and the thrilling and frightening experience of starting a major international career.  

We saw a private performance of the program and it's an absolute "must see" for any fan of opera.

Adams is going to perform the show publicly at San Francisco's Martuni's bar on Wednesday, March 4th at 7 pm.

Tickets are $10 each and support the Merola Opera Program, from which he graduated before becoming a San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and beginning his international career. Seating is very limited. To order tickets, call Merola at (415) 565-6427, visit Merola.org or click here for tickets.

Adams has become a fan favorite in the Bay Area, where he has been acclaimed for his roles in San Francisco Opera's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Dolores Claiborne, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Madama Butterfly, and Schaunard in last winter's La Bohème. He will perform in Vivaldi's Bajazet this summer with Pinchgut Opera in Australia.