Saturday, February 18, 2017

Four barihunks take prizes at George London Competition

(Clockwise top left) Will Liverman, Brian Vu, Cody Quattlebaum and Shea Owens
Four barihunks walked away with awards at the 46th annual George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

After three days of preliminary auditions, 18 were selected as finalists and a total of $75,000 was given in awards. Five were selected as winners of George London Awards of $10,000, including Will Liverman. Three singers received $5,000 awards, including Cody Quattlebaum and the remainder received $1,000 each, including Shea Owens and Brian Vu.

Barihunk Richard Stilwell in his singing days
his year's panel of judges included soprano Harolyn Blackwell, mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias, former Metropolitan Opera administrator Alfred F. Hubay, George London Foundation President Nora London, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, tenor and voice professor George Shirley, and barihunk Richard Stilwell (who won a George London Award at the first competition in 1971). The competition pianist was renowned collaborative pianist Craig Rutenberg.

Other $10,000 prize winners included tenor Aaron Blake, soprano Michelle Bradley, tenor Errin Duane Brooks and soprano Lara Secord-Haid.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Opéra de Montréal's new season includes barihunk duo in JFK

Daniel Okulitch as LBJ and Matt Worth as JFK
Opéra de Montréal just announced their new season, which will included David T. Little and Royce Vavrek's JFK, which premiered last Spring at the Fort Worth Opera. Much of the cast will remain the same, with barihunks Matthew Worth and Daniel Okulitch reprising their roles as JFK and LBJ. Worth shares both the good looks and New England charm of our 35th President, while Okulitch matches the Vice President's 6' 4" frame. Daniela Mack will return as Jacqueline Kennedy and John Mac Master will take on the role of Nikita Khruschev.

The opera delves into the final hours that President John F. Kennedy spent in Fort Worth, Texas immediately before his assassination in Dallas. The piece explores the inner life of the President and Mrs. Kennedy during their final moments together. The opera uses dreams to create an imaginary time and space, allowing the couple to revisit those who helped to shape their personal and political lives. Jack travels to the moon with his sister Rosemary, where he spars with political rivals, and relives his courtship of the demure Jacqueline. Jackie sings a duet with her future self, Jacqueline Onassis, who dresses her in her iconic pink Chanel suit, assuring her that she has a part to play in the day’s proceedings.

Performance will run from January 27-February 2, 2018. Other operas for their new season includ Puccini's Tosca, Gounod's Romeo & Juliette, Rossini's La Cenerentola and Sokolovic's Svadba.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

LA Opera's Ghosts of Versailles wins 2 GRAMMY® Awards

Christopher Maltman as Beaumarchais
The Los Angeles Opera's critically-acclaimed recording of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles walked away with both GRAMMY® Awards that it was nominated for: "Best Opera Recording" and "Best Engineered Recording, Classical."

The cast includes two barihunks, led by Christopher Maltman’s Beaumarchais and Lucas Meachem as Figaro. The cast also includes Patricia Racette as Marie Antoinette, Renée Rapier, Guanqun Yu, Joshua Guerrero, Lucy Schaufer and conductor James Conlon and the LA Opera Chorus & Orchestra.

Also winning was classical music producer David Frost, whose many recording included Ildar Abdrazakov's recording of Shostakovich's Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti.  

Seth Carico lastest barihunk to perform Dead Man Walking

Seth Carico
Add Seth Carico to the impressive list of barihunk who have sung Joseph de Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. The Berlin-based Tennessee native will take on the role in five performances with the Minnesota Opera between January 27 and February 3, 2018.

Other barihunks who have sung the role or are schedules to sing it include Michael Mayes, Philip Cutlip, Etienne Dupuis, David Adam Moore, Zachary Gordin, Morgan Smith, Johan Reuter, Daniel Okulitch, Jordan Shanahan, Thomas Gunther, John Arnold, John Packard and Marcus DeLoach.

Seth Carico sings the Torreador Aria from Bizet's Carmen:

The opera has become the most performed new opera of the 21st century and has upcoming productions in Copenhagen, Washington D.C., Kansas City, Vancouver and Kentucky.

Based on Sister Helen Prejean’s memoir that inspired the Oscar-winning movie of the same name, it recounts her courageous struggle to provide spiritual guidance to a condemned Louisiana murderer in the months leading up to his execution.

Carico's other big debut this season is as Gunther in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in April 2017 at his home base of the Deutsche Opera Berlin. Other operas that he's performing with the company include Verdi's Don Carlo, Britten's Billy Budd and Death in Venice, Giordano's Andrea Chenier, Wagner's Tannhäuser and Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Thomas Weinhappel nominated for Thalia Award (and sports Barihunk tee shirt)

Thomas Weinhappel in his Barihunk tee shirt
Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel was nominated for a Thalia Award for his portrayal of the title role in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at the National Opera of Ostrava. Weinhappel was nominated in the category "Best Opera Singer" for a performance at a Czech opera company in 2016.

The Thalia Awards are presented by the Czech Actors' Association and are named after the muse of comedy. Awards are given out for theater, opera, musicals and ballet. Past winners have inlcuded Eva Urbanová, Dagmar Pecková and Kate Aldrich.

The award ceremony will be broadcast on Czech television and radio from the Czech National State Opera on March 25.

Thomas Weinhappel as Joseph Calicot in Madame Pompadour
He also took some pictures for us in his Barihunk tee shirt during rehearsals for Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at the National Opera of Ostrava. He will be performing the role of Tarquinius with fellow barihunk Lukas Barak as Junius. Performances run from February 16-April 19. During March, he'll also be singing the role of Joseph Calicot in Leo Fall's Madame Pompadour in Baden.

First pictures from eagerly awaited Edward II in Berlin

Agneta Eichenholz, Jarrett Ott, Michael Nagy and Ladislav Elgr (© Monika Rittershaus)
Back in May, we posted about barihunk Michael Nagy would perform the title role in Swiss composer Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini  new opera about Edward II at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The production opens on February and we have some photos from the rehearsals, which are going on now.

The opera will have five performances between February 19-March 9, hunkentenor Ladislav Elgr singing the role of his alleged lover Piers de Gaveston and barihunk Jarrett Ott as the Angel.

Two scenes from Edward II (© Monika Rittershaus)
The libretto by Thomas Jonigk focuses entirely on the role of the outsider Edward II and looks at society’s attitude towards homosexuals both then and now. Whether the close bond between Edward and Gaveston in the early 14th century was sexual in nature remains a contested issue, but among art circles Edward II has long been an icon of the gay movement. Gaveston was decapitated for being gay and King Edward II was executed in 1327 by having a red hot roasting spit shoved into his anus.

Michael Nagy in Edward II (© Monika Rittershaus)
The subject matter inspired Christopher Marlowe’s bloody 1593 play about the self-assertive strivings of the hapless English king, the 1923 version by Bertolt Brecht of the same name and Derek Jarman’s 1992 famous film adaptation “Edward II.” 

Scartazzini most recent operatic work was The Sandman, which premiered in 2012 at the Theater Basel with Christof Loy directing. Tickets for Edward II are on sale now online.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Watch Attila with John Paul Huckle and Carlo Colombara

John Paul Huckle as Leone (far left) and backstage (right)
The Teatro Comunale di Modena is celebrating the anniversary of two major operatic baritones this season. The first is Leo Nucci, who made his company debut in 1967 in the title role of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. The second is Carlo Colombara, who is celebrating 30 years with the company.

Colombara just sang the title role in Verdi's Attila, which was live-streamed on YouTube and is still available for viewing HERE. The cast also includes John Paul Huckle as Leone, Vladimir Stoyanov as Ezio and Svetlana Kasyan as Odabella.

We've featured a number of barihunks on this site as Attila, including Ildar Abdrazakov, Erwin Schrott, John Relyea, Samuel Ramey, Homero Pėrez Miranda, Nmon Ford and Alberto Gazale.