Monday, March 27, 2017

Villainous drama at the Los Angeles Opera

Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2017/03/in-la-a-singing-couple-comes-unstuck/#sthash.3NcRpX1C.dpuf
Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2017/03/in-la-a-singing-couple-comes-unstuck/#sthash.3NcRpX1C.dpuf
Los Angeles Opera this weekend.
The French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and no instant sub was available. He had to mime the role on stage while an understudy sang from the pit.
Nicolas Testé’s wife, the German soprano Diana Damrau, was able only to sing one-third of her part.
- See more at: http://slippedisc.com/2017/03/in-la-a-singing-couple-comes-unstuck/#sthash.3NcRpX1C.dpuf
Barihunks Wayne Tigges and Steven Labrie
There was a bit of drama at the Los Angeles Opera this weekend when French bass-baritone Nicolas Testé lost his voice. He was scheduled to sing the Four Villains in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman along with his wife soprano Diana Damrau.

Unfortunately, no substitute was available, so the company called barihunk Wayne Tigges in Chicago and asked him to sing the role. Tigges would only agree if he could use a score, which was accommodated when Testé agreed to lip synch the role from the stage. Tigges hopped on a plane and from our accounts in Los Angeles, Tigges was a huge success with the audience.

The regular cast also includes barihunk Theo Hoffman as Hermann (no relation to the title character).

Additional performances are on April 2, 6, 9 and 15.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Barihunk Thomas Weinhappel first Austrian to win Thalia Award

Thomas Weinhappel in a Barihunk t-shirt and with his Thalia Award
Austrian barihunk Thomas Weinhappel became the first Austrian to win the Thalia Award for his portrayal of the title role in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at the National Opera of Ostrava. Weinhappel won in the category "Best Opera Singer" for a performance at a Czech opera company in 2016.

Judges praised him for "...finding the detailed meanings of words and music, and their allusions to express the complexity of the character the young man crushed by dark family relations."

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 included Eva Urbanová, Dagmar Pecková and Kate Aldrich.  The award ceremony was broadcast live on Czech television and radio from the Czech National State Opera.

Thomas Weinhappel and Lukáš Bařák in The Rape of Lucretia
He can be seen as Tarquinius with fellow barihunk Lukáš Bařák as Junius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia through April 19th in Ostrava. Tickets and additional performance information is available online.


Seth Carico in Berlin's first "Death in Venice" in 40 years

Seth Carico in Death in Venice at the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Death in Venice has returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin after an absence of forty years as part of conductor Donald Runnicles cycle of Benjamin Britten operas. Barihunk Seth Carico is featured in multiple roles, including the Traveller, Elderly Fop, Old Gondolier, Hotel Manager, Hotel Barber, Leader of the Players and the Voice of Dionysus. The rest of the principle cast features Paul Nilon as Gustav von Aschenbach, Tai Oney as Apollo and 25-year-old German actor Rauand Taleb in the critical role of Tadzio.

Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
Benjamin Britten’s last opera was also his most personal. The work is extraordinary not simply for the autobiographical threads that are reflected in Thomas Mann’s ageing writer Gustav von Aschenbach; the circumstances surrounding the creation of the work are also inextricably linked to the themes explored. Looking to thwart what he saw as his impending death, Britten took refuge in composition, citing his need to finish the work as a pretext for putting off an urgent heart operation.

Britten expanded the musical theater form into a work of self-reflection that accumulates traditions and former experiences. The use of male sopranos – here for the role of Apollo – dates back to baroque opera but was a common feature of Britten’s early work, with parts being written for the great British countertenors Alfred Deller and James Bowman. The role of Gustav von Aschenbach was the largest created by Britten for his partner Peter Pears, with Aschenbach always at the heart of the proceedings. His casting of a bass to play Aschenbach’s various opponents, all threatening him with death and destruction, is rooted in the narrative tradition of Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann.

Paul Nilon, Seth Carico and Rauand Taleb in Death in Venice
The German premiere of Death in Venice took place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1974.

There are two remaining performances left on April 23 and 28. On April 6th, you can hear Seth Carico as part of the company's Opera Lounge series. Tickets are available online

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Barihunk trio in Mohammed Fairouz's The New Prince

Joshua Hopkins in The New Prince
Last night, the Dutch National Opera premiered Mohammed Fairouz's The New Prince, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the book in 2032. The piece is set in both the past and in the future and features the barihunk trio of Joshua Hopkins as Niccolò Machiavelli, Paulo Szot as Alexander Hamilton, Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney (three very different characters!), and Dominic Kraemer as Prince Saud al-Faisal.

Paulo Szot as Bill Clinton
Besides Machiavelli, it features well-known people of our day, including Henry Kissinger, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Osama bin Laden, as well as a fantasy world ruler Wu Virtu. Machiavelli’s lover is Fortuna, who is also his publisher. There is even a scene where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fight over a blow-up globe of the world.

Niccoló Machiavelli’s famous book The Prince describes the means that can be used by a dictator in strengthening his position. He can even permit himself lies and deceit, providing he ensures that they do not come to light. The politician/diplomat/writer was way ahead of his time. 

Dominic Kraemer and a scene from The New Prince
The relevance of Machiavelli’s writing to today inspired composer Mohammed Fairouz to write his second opera. The opera's ultimate message of the piece is delivered by Wu Virtu, which is "the end of war is war" and that aggression met with aggression is a only zero-sum game.

There are three remaining performances on March 26, 28 and 29.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Teddy Tahu Rhodes returns as Scarpia; Paull-Anthony Keightley as Sciarrone

Teddy Tahu Rhodes & Paull-Anthony Keightley
Teddy Tahu Rhodes will return to the Western Australia Opera as Scarpia six years after making his role debut in Puccini's "shabby little shocker."  In 2011, conservative Aussie critics didn't respond warmly to Christopher Alden’s dark and modern production, so they've returned to their previous production with set designs by Jan Ubels and costumes by Elizabeth Whiting.

Joining Tahu Rhodes will be soloists soprano Antoinette Halloran as Tosca and tenor Paul O’Neill as Cavaradossi, as well as fellow barihunk Paull-Anthony Keightley as Sciarrone. 

Tosca is on at His Majesty’s Theatre on March 28, 30, April 1, 4, 6, 8. Tickets are available online.

In May, Tahu Rhodes will appear in the U.S. as Daland in Richard Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra along with Marjorie Owens as Senta and Alan Held in the title role. Performances are on May 4 and 6.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Before Night Falls" gets revival in Miami

Wes Mason as Reinaldo Arenas (left) and Elliot Madore (right)
Jorge Martín's opera Before Night Falls will get its first revival since the summer of 2010, when it premiered at the Fort Worth Opera. The Florida Grand Opera will perform the opera from March 18-25 at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House in Miami.

Barihunk Elliot Madore will take over the role of Reinaldo Arenas, which was sung by barihunk Wes Mason in Fort Worth. The only cast member returning from the original production is tenor Javier Abreu, who is reprising the role of Pepe.

Based on the famous memoir of Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls follows Arenas’ life from childhood poverty in the Cuban countryside to his emigration to the United States in the 1980 Mariel boatlift, and his last decade in New York City. Disillusioned by the Cuban Revolution and persecuted by the Castro regime as a dissident writer and gay man, the opera follows his trials and tribulations as a political prisoner forced to smuggle his manuscripts abroad for publication.

Wes Mason as Reinaldo Arenas at the Fort Worth Opera
In 2000, Before Night Falls was made into an award-winning feature film directed by Julian Schnabel and starring Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp.

Reinaldo Arenas led a life full of tragedy and didn't live to make any real money off his writing. While dying of AIDS in 1990, he committed suicide in his New York apartment because he did not want return to a hospital.

Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Tristan Hambleton in Haydn's Theresienmesse in London


Tristan Hambleton
Barihunk calendar model Tristan Hambleton will be performing Hayden's Theresienmesse at Cadogan Hall in London on March 23rd. He'll be joined by the City of London Choir, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and soprano Grace Davidson, mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby and tenor Nicholas Pritchard.

The concert is part of an ongoing series at Cadogan Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra pairing the great masses of Haydn with Mozart’s late concertos. The program will include Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24, K491 and Tantum Ergo in B flat, K142.

The Theresienmesse is named after Maria Theresa of the Two Sicilies, empress consort of Francis II. The empress herself was the soprano soloist at private performances of both The Creation and The Seasons in May 1801 at the Viennese Court.

The scoring of the mass is a little unusual. Due to a shortage of wind players at Einsenstadt, Austria in 1798 and 1799, the wind section comprises just two clarinets, a bassoon and two trumpets. Haydn skilfully uses this relatively small group to great effect. The mass is a work of marked musical contrasts. Slow, quiet passages, such as the very opening of the Kyrie, are set against vigorous, loud sections like the final pages of the Credo.

Tickets are available online.