Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Luis Alejandro Orozco makes Florentine Opera debut as Barber

Luis Alejandro Orozco
Barihunk Luis Alejandro Orozco will make his Florentine Opera debut in Milwaukee as the title character in Rossini's The Barber of Seville on May 5th and 7th. He'll be joined in the cast by Taylor Stayton as Almaviva, Katrina Thurman as Berta, Peter Volpe as Basilio, Andrew Wilkowske as Bartolo and Spanish mezzo-soprano Carol Garcia making her U.S. debut as Rosina. The production will be conducted by Joseph Rescigno, who is now the longest-serving principal conductor in opera.

Tickets are available online

Orozco has racked up a number of other company debuts over the last two year, including with the Arizona Opera, Anchorage Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Michigan Opera Theater, Lyric Opera Baltimore, and Urban Arias. He previously sang the The Barber of Seville with Syracuse Opera.

He returns to his signature role of El Payador in Astor Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires at the Mill City Summer Opera from July 14-20. Tickets go on sale on May 8th.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Barihunks have good night at Lotte Lenya competition

Bradley Smoak, Michael Hewitt, Tony Potts & Philip Kalmanovitch
Bass-barihunk Bradley Smoak walked away with the $20,000 Grand Prize at this year's Lotte Lenya Competition. Smoak's winning set included Kurt Weill's  “This is the Life” from Love Life, “Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni” from Bellini's La sonnambula, “Higher Than a Hawk” from Calamity Jane, and “Me” from Beauty and the Beast.

It was a good year all around for barihunks, as Tony Potts and former barihunks calendar models Philip Kalmanovitch and Michael Hewitt also were awarded $3000 Special Prizes.

Bradley Smoak's winning set:

Contestants were required to prepare four selections: an aria from the opera or operetta repertoire; two songs from the American musical theater repertoire (one from the pre-1968 "Golden Age" and one from 1968 or later); and a theatrical selection by Kurt Weill.

Philip Kalmanovitch at the Lotte Lenya competition:

Michael Hewitt at the Lotte Lenya competition:

Tony Potts  at the Lotte Lenya competition:


Held annually by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, the Lotte Lenya Competition is an international theater singing contest that recognizes talented young singer-actors, ages 19-32, who are dramatically and musically convincing in a wide range of repertoire, and emphasizes the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.

Previous winners of the Lotte Lenya competition will be familiar to our readers, including barihunks Lucas Meachem, Liam Bonner and Jonathan Michie, Doug Carpenter, as well as tenor Noah Stewart.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Daniel Okulitch to reprise role in Dead Man Walking

Daniel Okulitch and J'Nai Bridges
Canadian bass-barihunk Daniel Okulitch is returning to both his native country and a familiar role this month. He'll be reprising his highly-acclaimed interpretation of accused killer Joseph De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Vancouver Opera from April 29-May 7.

He has performed the role with the Fort Worth Opera and in the Canadian premiere at the Calgary Opera. In this production, he'll be joined by J'Nai Bridges as Sister Helen Prejean, Karen Slack as Sister Rose, Judith Forst as Mrs. Patrick De Rocher and Thomas Goerz as Owen Hart. Tickets are available online.

The opera is based on the bestselling memoir by Sister Helen Prejean and chronicles the story of a convicted Louisiana murderer who is befriended by a Catholic nun seeking to understand the nature of divine forgiveness. Prejean's memoir was the basis for the award-winning 1995 film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn

You can listen to Daniel Okulitch on CBC radio talking about his career and favorite music.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Barihunk Edward Miskie pens humorous cancer survivor memoir

Edward Miskie
Barihunk calendar model Edward Miskie has authored "Cancer, Musical Theatre, & Other Chronic Illnesses,"  which he launched tonight in Chelsea.

Miskie is not only a singer, actor (and calendar model), but a survivor of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A course of treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provided the inspiration for the book, which was written four years after he was declared cancer free.

A chance encounter with a fellow survivor prompted him to begin writing his "as-funny-as-cancer-can-be memoir." The book touches on the farce that is cancer treatment, the circus that is the healthcare system we face, and the challenges that face you even after you are told you are cancer free all framed in the content of musicals.

It is currently published in hard copy and on Kindle and Amazon. Visit www.cancermusicaltheatrebook.com or follow @CMTBook.


Listen to Jarrett Ott sing from Pearl Fishers on WUNC

Jarrett Ott
WUNC host Frank Stasio previewed the North Carolina Opera's upcoming performance of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers with barihunk Jarrett Ott and tenor John Bellemer on his National Public Radio broadcast. The two singers joined company general director Eric Mitchko for a discussion of the production and they then joined accompanist Sahar Nouri for a live studio performance of the famous duet.

You can listen to the interview, Zurga's aria and the famous tenor/baritone duet on WUNC's website

The remainder of the cast includes soprano Talise Trevigne as Leïla and Jordan Bisch as Nourabad. There are performances on Friday, April 28 at 8 p.m. and Saturday April 30 at 3 p.m. at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are available online.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aaron Sørensen pitches Sparafucile on Midday Mississippi

Aaron Sørensen from the Barihunks calendar
Barihunk calendar model Aaron Sorensen appeared on Midday Mississippi on WLBT Channel 3 in Jackson along with soprano Rachel Arky. The duo were were pitching their "one night only" performance of Verdi's Rigoletto in which they perform the brother and sister duo of Sparafucile and Maddalena.

The rest of the cast includes barihunk Corey Crider, Hanna Brammer as Gilda, Cody Laun as the Duke of Mantua and Taylor Hightower as Monterone.


There is a single performance on April 22 at the Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson at 7:30 PM. You won't want to miss Sørensen's glorious Low F! Tickets are available online.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Gay-themed "Les Feluettes" gets two revivals

Étienne Dupuis and Jean-Michel Richer
Australian composer Kevin March and Quebec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard's opera Les Feluettes (Lilies), which had its world premiere last year at Opéra de Montréal, will now be presented at Pacific Opera Victoria and the Edmonton Opera.

The production opens at Pacific Opera Victoria on April 20 and runs through April 30.  Barihunk Étienne Dupuis will reprise the lead role of Young Simon Doucet and hunkentenor Jean-Michel Richer will return as the Count Vallier de Tilly, who is in love with Simon. Tickets are available online.

The opera is based on the play, which tells the story of the confession of an aging prisoner to a bishop. Through the confession we learn that the bishop and the prisoner were part of a gay love triangle and that the bishop was responsible for the death of a young man many years ago. The play was was made into a film called Lilies, which was directed by John Greyson. All of the roles in the opera, including the female roles of La Comtesse Marie-Laure de Tilly and Mademoiselle Lydie-Anne de Rozier, are sung by men as the story is told by actors in an all-male prison. 

Zachary Read (left) and Jean-Michel Richer and Etienne Dupuis (right)
The term Feluette is a Quebec expression with its root in the word fluet, (thin, frail in appearance) which, in common parlance of the time, referred to men who were weak, frail, or effeminate.

Edmonton Opera will present the piece from October 21-27 with barihunk Zachary Read as Young Simon and Jean-Michel Richer returning as the Count Vallier de Tilly.