Thursday, May 24, 2018

Devon Tines and Rod Gilfry reprise "Crossing" at L.A. Opera

Devon Tines and Rod Gilfry
The Los Angeles Opera will be presenting to concert-version performance of composer-in-residence Matthew Aucoin's opera Crossing at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts  in Beverly Hills. There will be performances on May 25 and 26, featuring barihunks Rod Gilfry as Walt Whitman and Devon Tines as the escaped slave Freddie Stowers.

The opera had its world premiere in May 25 at the Shubert Theatre in Boston with Gilfry and Tines in the cast. It has subsequently been performed at the National Opera Center in New York City and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music


The opera was inspired by the diary that poet Walt Whitman kept as a nurse during the Civil War. Crossing explores how the individual experiences of soldiers are remembered and told. As Whitman listens to wounded veterans share their memories and messages, he forges a bond with a soldier who forces him to examine his own role as writer and poet.

Tickets are available online.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Watch sexy Evan Hughes in Komische's "Semele"

Evan Hughes and Nicole Chevalier (left) and Nora Friedrichs (right)
American bass-barihunk had a breakout performance as the somnolent god Somnus in Handel's Semele at the Komische Oper in Berlin. He also elevated his status as an operatic sex symbol showing off both his luscious physique and resonant voice in his scene-stealing small role.

Fortunately, the opera is available online at OperaVision and is available for viewing HERE until November 11th. There are remaining live performances on May 26, June 3 and 15, and July 10. Tickets are available online.

Nora Friedrichs and Evan Hughes
The production got off to a rocky start when director Laura Scozzi fell ill shortly after rehearsals began, forcing the Komische Oper's intendant Barrie Kosky to take over the production. Kosky is one of opera's most original and entertaining directors, so the show went on, with the story being told in a flashback set in a burnt-out Baroque hall.

Evan Hughes and Nicole Chevalier (left) and Nora Friedrichs (right)

Semele was written in 1743 and tells the story of clashing gods and mortals, the folly of vanity, and the fatal consequences of forbidden passion.

The plot centers around the cautionary tale of the delectable Semele and the god Jupiter, who tempt fate with a dangerously imprudent love affair. The ambitious Semele craves immortality, but also holds a secret, while Juno, plots a fiery finish to the affair.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Barihunks take top honors at Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition

Emmett O'Hanlon and Brent Michael Smith
Two American barihunks took away three of the top four prizes at the 40th Opera Birmingham Vocal Competition yesterday.

Emmett O'Hanlon took the top prize, as well as the Audience favorite prize. He performed the Tower Scene from Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande and "Largo al factotum" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville for the semi-finals, and Korngold's Tanzlied and the "Largo al factotum" for the final round.

Bass-barihunk Brent Michael Smith took 3rd Prize,  singing Purcell's "Arise, Ye Subterranean Winds" and "Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni" from Bellini's La sonnambula. Mezzo-soprano Lindsay Metzger taking 2nd Prize. The winner also gets a chance to star in an Opera Birmingham production. The company's upcoming season includes Puccini's Tosca and Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied.

The winners were chosen from a group of twenty singers from around the country, which was whittled down to five for the semi-finals.


Emmett O'Hanlon is currently a member of the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. where his roles include Wagner in Gounod's Faust (and covering Valentin),  Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte and Marullo in Verdi'ds Rigoletto.

Brent will become an Apprentice Artist at the Santa Fe Opera this season, where  he will also make his mainstage debut as Lakai in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. He recently completed a stint as a Resident Artist at the Michigan Opera Theatre.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Brokeback Mountain gets U.S. debut a decade late at NYCO

Tom Randle, Daniel Okulitch and Glenn Seven Allen (L to R)
Charles Wuorinen's operatic adaptation of Brokeback Mountain is finally getting its U.S. premiere ten years after it was commissioned by Gerard Mortier while he was heading the New York City Opera. The company has since gone through some major changes before emerging as a radically different company.

The production will be New York City Opera’s second production in their LGBT Pride series, which kicked off with the New York premiere of Eötvös’s Angels in America in June 2017. Performances will be on May 31 and June 2, 3 and 4 at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center and tickets are available online.


Barihunk Daniel Okulitch will return as Ennis Del Mar, the role he created a decade ago, and hunkentenor Glenn Seven Allen will take on the role of his love interest Jack Twist.

After Mortier left New York City Opera, Brokeback Mountain went on to have its premiere at Madrid’s Teatro Real in 2014 with Daniel Okulitch as Ennis Del Mar and tenor Tom Randle as Jack Twist. The opera was inspired by the 2005 film directed by Ang Lee and came to life after American composer Charles Wuorinen approached Annie Proulx to adapt  her story into the libretto for Brokeback Mountain. The book most notably was adapted into a 2005 Academy Award-nominated movie with Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal as Jack Twist.

The work has been highly successful in Europe, where it's been seen in Aachen and Salzburg, in addition to Madrid.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Seth Carico to debut as Nick Shadow in female-led Rake's Progress

Matthew Newlin and Seth Carico (Photo: Lucian Hunziker)
American barihunk Seth Carico will be making his role debut at the Theater Basil as Nick Shadow in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, which runs from May 18 through June 24. He'll be joined in the cast by Matthew Newlin as Tom Rakewell, Hailey Clark as Anne Trulove, Andrew Murphy as Trulove, Eve-Maud Hubeaux as Baba the Turk, Theophana Iliewa-Otto as Mother Goose, Karl-Heinz Brandt as Sellem and Flavio Mathias as the Keeper of the Madhouse. TIckets are available online.
 
Seth Carico (left) and Matthew Newlin (right)
Carico has not sung the complete role, but did perform selections in his 2012 Schwabacher Recital Concert in San Francisco.

The Theater Basel production is being led by an artistic team of women, including conductor Kristiina Poska, director Lydia Steier, costume designer Ursula Kudrna and stage designer Katharina Schlipf. Steier is has been heraled throughout Europe for her award-winning productions throughout Europe.



The Rake’s Progress was composed between 1948 and 1951 based on a series of eight engravings by the 18th century painter William Hogarth, entitled “A Rake’s Progress.” They illustrate the gradual decline of a lazy and profligate young heir who squanders his fortune on gambling and pleasure only to end up in the Bedlam insane asylum. Stravinsky immediately saw the possibility for a sequence of opera tableaux in this series, giving him an opportunity to bring back to life the atmosphere of the 18th century.
After the run of The Rake's Progress, Carico returns to his home base at the Deutsche Oper Berlin where he'll appear as the Steuerman in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, as well as the Sacristan in Puccini's Tosca.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Barihunk Samuel Hasselhorn wins Queen Elizabeth Competition

Samuel Hasselhorn at the Queen Elizabeth Competition
German barihunk Samuel Hasselhorn has won the 2018 International Queen Elisabeth Grand Prize. he will receive 25,000 EUR and guaranteed concerts in Belgium and abroad. In the last two rounds, he performed music by Schumann, Wolf, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, Mendelssohn as well as "Carlos écoute...Ah, je meurs" from Verdi's Don Carlos.

You can listen to Hasselhorn's final round performance HERE.

Second Prize went to French mezzo Eva Zaïcik and Third Prize went to Chinese bass Ao Li.

Hasselhorn is no stranger to walking away with top honors, as he has previously won the 2018 Emmerich Smola Prize, 2017 Das Lied International Song Competition in Heidelberg,  2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, 2013 International Schubert Competition and the “Prix de Lied“ at the 2013 Nadia and Lili Boulanger Competition in Paris.

He has upcoming recitals in Hannover, Germany on May 17th and June 11th. Fans in the U.K. can catch him at Wigmore Hall on June 24th in a program of Beethoven, Schubert, Wolf, Brahms, and Poulenc.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

RuPaul Drag Race Contestant Monet X Change has operatic past

Kevin Bertin aka Monet X Change
RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Monet X Change has a degree in opera performance and has appeared professionally as a bass. His real name is Kevin Bertin and he was born in Saint Lucia and raised in the Caribbean until the age of eleven. Since then, Bertin has lived in New York City. 

A graduate of the Westminster Choir College, he made his debut with the Westminster Opera Theater in Mozart's Cosí Fan Tutte and later performed Sarastro in the composer's Die Zauberflöte. He became a featured soloist with the Westminster Choir on their California and Florida tours, performing in Bach's Magnificat, Brahms' Requiem, and Bruckner's Te Deum.

He also appeared as Sarastro at the Portland Opera for the Education and Outreach Program, and also sang Colline in Puccini's La bohème

As a drag performer, he was mentored by Season 8 winner Bob the Drag Queen, who taught him how to sew, as well as some performance tips. Monet's drag mother is Honey Davenport, who appeared on Season 5 of the show.

So far on Season 10, Monet has won two mini-challenges and also landed in the bottom two twice, where she had to lip synch for her life. Her opening line on the show was, ""Oh, don't mind me girl. I just came here to sweep up the competition."