Saturday, January 21, 2017

Stéphane Degout and Cédric Tiberghien join forces at Wigmore Hall

Stéphane Degout and Cédric Tiberghien
Barihunk Stéphane Degout will join forces with equally sexy accompanist Cédric Tiberghien at Wigmore Hall on January 29th. The two will perform two of Ravel's epic song cycles, Chansons madécasses and the Histoires naturelles. They will also perform some of Poulenc's most notable songs, Le bestiaire, Montparnasse, Hyde Park, Calligrammes, Quatre poèmes de Guillaume, Apollinaire and Banalités.

The duo will be joined by Matteo Cesari on flute and Alexis Descharmes on cello for Chansons madécasses, a collection of three chansons written in 1925 and 1926 for voice, flute, cello and piano. They chansons were originally dedicated to the American musician and philanthropist Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. The composer combined twentieth-century musical experimentation and exoticism with the late nineteenth-century style characteristics present in the vocal elements and instrumentation.

Stéphane Degout performs Chansons madécasses with Alexis Descharmes on cello:

The 1906 song cycle Histoires naturelles is set to five poems by Jules Renard for voice and piano. The cycle was originally dedicated to the mezzo-soprano Jane Bathori, who gave the first performance, accompanied by Ravel at the piano, on January 12, 1907. The chansons are about a peacock, a cricket, a swan, a kingfisher and a guinea fowl. The unusual text of the pieces created a bit of a controversy at the opening performance.

Both song cycles are generally performed by either baritone or mezzo-soprano.

The French composer Francis Poulenc composed songs throughout his career, with his most prolific output in the 1930s and 1940s. He took most of his texts from his favorite poets, who included Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Éluard, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, and Louise de Vilmorin. His songs have been praised for how the melodic line perfectly matches the text.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Introducing Michael Honeyman in Opera Australia's sexy King Roger

Michael Honeyman and dancers in King Roger at Opera Australia
Opera Australia isn't exactly known for their sexy performances, so we were thrilled to see their stunning performance of Karol Szymanowski's King Roger starring Michael Honeyman in the title role and tenor Saimir Pirgu as the Shephard. Pirgu has sung the role with the most famous King Roger of all time, Mariusz Kwiecien. This is a co-production with the Royal Opera House directed by Kasper Holten.

The opera is about struggle between conservatism and sensuality, between Christian orthodoxy and pagan abandon, portrayed onstage by the church and the sexually tempting shepherd.

Honeyman worked in banking at the Commonwealth Bank before joining the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir and eventually deciding on taking formal training as a singer. He began his vocal training at the Australian National University, graduating with First Class Honours and was immediately accepted on scholarship to 2 years full-time practical performance training at the Australian Opera Studio, Perth. He has performed Amonasro in Verdi's Aida, for which he received a nomination for a Green Room Award for Best Male in a Supporting Role, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Ford in Verdi's Falstaff, Di Luna in Verdi's Il Trovatore and a New Year’s Eve Gala for Opera Australia. He has also worked with West Australian Opera and State Opera of South Australia.

Szymanowski is best known for his wonderful piano music, which includes the famous Étude, Opus 4, No. 3, his four symphonies, two violin concertos, the ballets Harnasie and Mandragora, two string quartets, a sonata for violin and piano, his famous Stabat Mater and a number of orchestral songs.

The production opened tonight at the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House where it will run through February 15, when it moves to Melbourne, where it will run from May 19 – 27,.

Counter-Inaugural "Hillary Speeches" LIVE online now

Kyle Ketelsen performing The Hillary Speeches by Glen Roven
Barihunks steers clear of politics and sticks to opera, but we had to share this amazing collection of barihunks performing composer Glen Roven's The Hillary Speeches.

Some of operas greatest deep-voiced men will be performing, including David Adam Moore, Kyle Ketelsen, Nathan Gunn, Sidney Outlaw, Daniel Sumegi, Lester Lynch, Andrew Garland and Michael Kelly. They will be joined by Isabel Leonard, Patricia Racette, Lawrence Brownlee, Matthew Polenzani, Carin Gilfy, Laquita Mitchell, Glenn Seven Allen, Dominic Armstrong, Jonathan Blalock and others.

Trailer for "The Hillary Speeches":

The concert film will be streamed from National Sawdust today (January 20, 2017) in conjunction with the presidential inauguration ceremony.  The two speeches that have been set to music are Mrs. Clinton's first announcement of her candidacy on January 7, 2007, and her presidential concession speech on November 9, 2017. 

Glen Roven has some history with the Clintons, having conducted the concerts at the Lincoln Memorial at both of Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration ceremonies. He was slated to conduct had Hillary Clinton won.

You can watch the concert online at noon EST/9 AM PST by clicking HERE. The concert film is directed by James Gray, Warren Elgort, and Larry Robbins. 

Barihunk Gerd Grochowski dies day after singing Wotan

Death notice from Gerd Grochowski's website
German barihunk Gerd Grochowski died of a heart attack 17 hours after performing Wotan at the Wiebaden Opera. He had received a rousing ovation from the audience and no one noticed anything unusual with his health.

Gerd Grochowski sings "Wo du bist?" from Tristan und Isolde:

Grochowski was a Wagner specialist who had performed Telramund and Heerrufer in Lohengrin, the title role in The Flying Dutchman, Wotan in The Ring, the Wanderer in Siegfried, Gunther in Götterdämmerung, Kurwenal in Tristan and Isolde and Amfortas and Klingsor in Parsifal. His breakthrough came with his debut at New York’s Metropolitain Opera as Kurwenal in Tristan and Isolde led by Daniel Barenboim. He performed at many of the world's greatest opera houses and festivals including the San Francisco Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, La Scala, Festival Aix-en-Provence, Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Salzburg Festival.

After Sunday's performance, he told his daughter "Nur eines will ich noch, das Ende," which translates to: "There is but one thing left I desire, the end."

Monday, January 16, 2017

Update on Dmitri Hvorostovsky's health

Dmitri Hvorostovsky
We continually get asked if we have any update on the health of über-barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who was one of the original inspirations for this site.

The little news that we have comes from Russian media, who report that he continues to be hospitalized with pneumonia. In mid-December, he announced to his fans that he was withdrawing from all staged performances for the "foreseeable future" due to balance issues caused by a brain tumor.

Russian media claims that he still plans on resuming his concert schedule. His schedule shows recitals in Kaliningrad on February 26, Vienna on March 7 and a concert with Anna Netrebko in Toronto on April 25.

A message on his website states, "I will continue to give concerts and recitals as well as make recordings. Singing is my life, and I want to continue bringing joy to people worldwide.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bari-hunky Bizet in Met's Carmen

Kyle Ketelsen and Michael Todd Simpson as Escamillo
Bizet’s Carmen opens at the Met on January 19 with mezzo Sophie Koch making her role debut as the title character. But the big news for barihunk lovers is that both Escamillos, Moralès and Dancäire are all singers who have been featured on this site.

Barihunks Kyle Ketelsen and Michael Todd Simpson will take on the role Escamillo, while John Moore will sing Moralès and Malcolm MacKenzie will perform Dancäire. John Moore just set the opera world abuzz with his stunning (and nude) performance as Jan Nyman in Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's Breaking the Waves in both Philadelphia and New York.

Performances will run on January 19, 23, 27, 31 and February 3, 7, 11, 15 and 18. Tickets are available online.

Kyle Ketelsen sings the Torreador's Song from Carmen:

Michael Todd Simpson stepped in on Christmas Eve at The Met as Jaufré Rudel for Eric Owens in Kaija Saariaho’s critically acclaimed L’Amour de Loin. He is becoming a regular with the company, performing in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell, Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Lescaut in Massenet’s Manon and Demetrius in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From April 7-9, he'll perform the Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance in a cast that includes Stephanie Blythe as Ruth, Andrew Stenson as Frederic and barihunk Tobias Greenhalgh as Samuel.

This Fall, Ketelsen will return to the role of Escamillo at the Teatro Real in Madrid. In between New York and Madrid, he'll sing Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris and Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress in Aix-en-Provence, France

Watch Johan Reuter as The Flying Dutchman

Johan Reuter as the Flying Dutchman and buffing up at the gym
You can currently watch barihunk (bear-a-hunk) Johan Reuter in Wagner's The Flying Dutchman from the Finnish National Opera on the OperaPlatform. We recently featured the Danish singer buffing up in preparation for this role. The video will be available until February 12, 2017.

In this production, director Kasper Holten interprets the opera without four-masters, hawsers and nautical romanticism. Instead, the errant sailor becomes an artist, trapped in the world of international jet set. A man, driven by his inspiration and forced to live without ever finding a place called home. Holten draws attention to Senta as well, wondering who is this girl that is willing to sacrifice herself through devotion and is it really selflessness that drives her?

In 2017, Reuter will make two role debuts. On January 21, he debuts in a new production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Royal Danish Opera. In May, he'll make his role debut in Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers at the Theater an den Wien.