Friday, April 17, 2015

Barihunks featured in new Kurt Weill adaptation

Philip Cutlip and Justin Hopkins

The Collegiate Chorale concludes its 2014-15 season with the U.S. Premiere of Kurt Weill’s The Road of Promise featuring barihunks Philip Cutlip and Justin Hopkins. Performances are on May 6 and 7 at the Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.  The May 7 performance will feature a special pre-concert talk about the background, historical context, and musical content of the piece.

The Road of Promise is a new concert adaptation of Kurt Weill and Franz Werfel’s epic 1937 stage spectacle, The Eternal Road, led by Tony Award-winning conductor/director Ted Sperling and a 200-voice chorus and symphony orchestra. Like the original stage work, The Road of Promise combines a story about a synagogue under threat of persecution with defining stories from the Old Testament. As the congregation awaits their fate, a 13-year old boy appears who knows nothing of his Jewish heritage or faith. The Rabbi enlightens him and gives the community strength by recounting the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Miriam, Moses, Ruth, Isaiah, and more, all of which come alive through Weill’s magnificent musical score. The young boy listens to the stories unfold and emerges as the new hope for his people.

Also featured in the cast are Anthony Dean Griffey, Mark Delavan, AJ Glueckert, Lauren Michelle, Megan Marino, Ron Rifkin, and Eli Tokash. You can watch a trailer about the piece HERE.

Philippe Sly in documentary about Jonathan Dove composition

Philippe Sly
Barihunk Philippe Sly is prominently featured in a one hour documentary filmed during the rehearsal period and performance of the world premiere of British composer Jonathan Dove's "Who Wrote the Book of Love." The piece was written for bass-baritone and string quartet with Phillippe Sly in mind as the soloist. 

Who Wrote the Book of Love? is a 45-minute cycle with words by British playwright and librettist Alasdair Middleton. The text explores the path of love and passion.


The first performance of the piece took place in March 2014 in a London gallery and Philippe's brother Mathieu Sly camera filmed the whole creative process, including some private moments.
Sly calls the piece the most beautiful composition that the composer has written for him. Dove also wrote Three Tennyson Songs for the singer.


Sly will perform Figaro in the San Francisco Opera's Summer Season production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, which runs from June 14-July 5. He'll be joined by the Count of Luca Pisaroni.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Johan Reuter celebrates Nielsen anniversary as Saul

Morten Staugaard (left) and Johan Reuter (right)(Photo: Signe Roderik)
The Royal Opera in Copenhagen is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Danish composer Carl Nielsen with a new production of the composer’s first opera, Saul and David. Barihunk Johan Reuter will be singing the role of Saul opposite the David of tenor Niels Jørgen Riis.

Saul and David, which is is the first of the two operas by Nielsen, tells the story of King Saul who is fiercely jealous of the young David, who has won the favor of the people by defeating the giant, Goliath. The story comes from the Book of Samuel in the Bible.

Watch Saul & David in its entirety from the Royal Opera's 1986 production:


The first performance was at Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen in 1902.  The opera is one of Denmark's most important musical works and dates from the period preceding his Second Symphony. The dramatic and lyrical score is perhaps best remembered for its choral scenes.

The Royal Opera production will be conducted by Michael Schønwandt, one of the world’s greatest Carl Nielsen interpreters. Performance run from April 17-June 9 and tickets are available online.

Luis Alejandro Orozco takes on Figaro in Syracuse

Luis Alejandro Orozco (photo on left by EMMA)
Barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco returns to the Syracuse Opera to sing the title role Rossini's The Barber of Seville, which closes their 40th anniversary season. He sang the role of El Payador in their 2014 production of Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires, a signature role that he was highly acclaimed for in Lexington, Naples, Florida and Miami.

He'll be joined in Syracuse by the amazing Almaviva of Javier Abreu, Lindsay Russell as Rosina, Marc Webster as Don Basilio, Steven Condy as Dr. Bartolo, Kathleen Roland-Silverstein as Berta and Angky Budiardjono as Fiorello.

Performances are on Friday, April 17 and Sunday, April 19 at the Crouse Hinds Theater at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center. Next season, he'll perform Riolobo in Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas with the Arizona Opera. 

What? Duncan Rock's U.S. debut part of "A Season of Unforgettable Leading Ladies"

Duncan Rock
A season that was dubbed "A Season of Unforgettable Leading Ladies" by the Boston Lyric Opera, ironically included one of the most anticipated US debuts of a male singer - in an opera named for a male singer. Fans of Aussie barihunk Duncan Rock have been watching his meteoric rise across the pond since 2012 when he generated international buzz appearing in the gender bending "Don Giovanni: The Opera" at London's Heaven. Those clamoring for his US debut were thrilled when the BLO announced a year ago that they were casting him as Don Giovanni. However, there were a few chuckles in the industry when the beefcake singer was lumped together in a marketing campaign with three leading ladies.

We have requested rehearsal photos from the company, but while we're waiting we have the above photos which were recently taken in New York and Boston.

U.K. fans have been enjoying The Rock at Glynebourne and English National Opera in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and Billy Budd, Puccini's La boheme, Bizet's Carmen and Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. He also appeared as Billy Bigelow in Carousel at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Marcello in Leed's Rigoletto, Empleado inglés in Britten's Death in Venice in Madrid and Marullo in Rigoletto at the Royal Opera in London. In January, he sang Don Giovanni with the HET Sinfonieorkest in The Netherlands in an intimate production that placed the audience on the stage and around the orchestra.

Performances at the BLO will run from May 1-10, 2015 and tickets are on sale at the BLO website. The remainder of the cast includes the always entertaining Kevin Burdette as Leporello, David Cushing as Masetto, Jennifer Johnson Cano as Donna Elvira, Meredith Hanson as Donna Anna, Steven Humes as the Commendatore, John Bellemer as Don Ottavio and Chelsea Basler as Zerlina.


We recently shared a little bit of trivia about Duncan Rock, which was that he started his musical career playing the bagpipes. The HET Sinfonieorkest added that he played basketball and the bass. Let's see what we learn about him during his U.S. run.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Grab a beer with barihunk Benoit Pitre

Benoit Pitre
Canadian barihunk will be part of this month's Opera on Tap Berlin. The April theme is  "Frühlings Gefühle/Spring Fever, " The event will be at the popular cafe and concert venue Prachtwerk Berlin.

Joining Pitre for an evening of arias, duets, art song and operetta will be some of Berlin's best young talent including countertenor Leo Zappitelli, Anne Byrne, Anastasia Nikolova, Sarah Ring, Claudia Roick, Atalya Tirosh and accompanist Manuel Arellano.

The festivities start at 7:30 PM with some good German beer and the singing kicks of at 8:00 PM.  Rumor has it that another popular barihunk based in Berlin will be at the event.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Introducing Hungarian barihunk Marcell Bakonyi

Marcell Bakonyi
Hungarian barihunk Marcell Bakonyi, who is new to this site, will be starring in the world premiere of composer Zsófia Tallér's opera Leander és Lenszirom (Leander and Linseed). The fairy tale opera is the story of Leander the goblin and Princess Linseed. Librettist Barnabás Szöllősi based the story on Andor Szilágyi's fable with the intent to appeal to children. It will be performed at the Erkel Theater under the auspices of the Hungarian State Opera. Performances are on April 18 and 19.

Marcell Bakonyi was born in 1980 in Győr, Hungary and studied voice at the Leo-Weiner Conservatory of Music in Budapest, and later at the Hochschule für Musik in Stuttgart, Germany. He appeared in the Stuttgart Opera School’s productions of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Bastien und Bastienne, as well as in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For the Young Opera series at the Staatsoper Stuttgart he took part in the world premiere of Matthias Heep’s Träumer. He also sang the role of Lord Sidney in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims at the Pesaro International Rossini Festival. From 2007-2008 he was a member of the ensemble at Theater Heidelberg. From 2008 to 2009 he was a member of the Zürich International Opera Studio, where he sang the role of the Steersman in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. In 2009 he appeared at the Schwetzinger Festival in Handel’s Ezio.

Marcell Bakonyi sings "Tardi s'avvede" from Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.

Since 2009, he has been a member of the ensemble of the Landestheater Salzburg where he sang the roles of Bartolo and Figaro in Mozart`s Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Kaspar in Weber`s Der Freischütz, Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca, Dulcamara in Donizetti`s L'elisir d`amore and Leporello Mozart`s Don Giovanni.

In April 2011, he won the International Competition Rolando Nicolosi in Rome and received a Special Price at Marcello Giordani Competition in Catania, resulting in an invitation to make a major North-American debut. In the same year he has made his debut as Pietro in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at the Budapest State Opera House. In the Summer of 2012, he made his U.S. debut as the Speaker in Mozart`s Die Zauberflöte at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.

At the Budapest Opera House he has performed Colline in Puccini's La bohéme, Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore and Masetto in Mozart`s Don Giovanni. In 2013, he made his debut at the Innsbruck Festival für Alte Musik as Publio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito.

In 2014, he performed Colline in a revival of the famous Stefan Herheim production of La bohéme in Oslo, as well as Leporello. On May 2, he'll sing Bach's Mass in B Minor in Turin, Italy.