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The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera
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Guto Bittencourt (left) and Matthew Morris (right)
The Fire Island Opera Company is presenting the East Coast Premiere of Kurt Weill's first opera, The Protagonist. The piece stars a few singers familiar to this site, Liam Bonner, who sings the role of the Young Man; Matthew Morris, a former barihunks calendar model who sings one of the Schauspielers; and, Jeremy Galyon, who sings the innkeeper. Someone to keep an eye on in the production is model and singer-songwriter Guto Bittencourt, who is also one of the Schauspielers. 

The remainder of the cast includes tenor Samuel Levine in the title role, Maeve Höglund as the sister, tenor John Easterlin, as the Chief of Staff, as well as Jeremy Hirsch, Katrina Yaukey and Megan Marino as the remaining Schauspielers.

Liam Bonner
The opera is bases on a lurid subject drawn from a play by Georg Kaiser an is an example of the sensationalistic, psychologically oriented operas popular during the Weimar Republic. The story is about a theatrical troupe run by the Protagonist, an actor who is overly protective of his Sister. Unable to distinguish between illusion and reality, he kills her after she tells him she has a fiancé; at the close, he calls the murder his greatest theatrical performance. 

The Pines Pavilion on Fire Island has been transformed into a wild, dream world by Marfa-based installation artist, Charles Mary Kubricht, and project runway finalist and former Mark Morris dancer, choreographer/costume designer, Bradon McDonald.

The evening will culminate in a Kurt Weill inspired Haus music dance party!  [Hey, it's Fire Island].

The Sunday matinee production is preceded by a performance of Un Amour de Proust on The Pavilion's Lower Deck and followed by an Opera Pool Party on the Pool Deck! 

Performances are on August 23 and 24 and tickets are available online

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Jarrett Ott (Photo Steve Riskind) & Joseph Beutel (Photo Kelly Kruse)
Gotham Chamber Opera has announced their new season, which includes the 2014/2015 season, which includes the Bohuslav Martinu double-bill Alexandre bis/Comedy on the Bridge, as well as a revival of their popular El gato con botas (Puss in Boots) by Xavier Montsalvatge.

The Martinu pieces are short comic operas that will star barihunks Jarrett Ott as Alexandre/Sykos and Joseph Beutel as Portrait/Bedron. 

Alexandre bis (Alexander Twice) is a surrealist comic opera in one act composed in 1937 to an original libretto written in French by André Wurmser.  The opera was intended for performance at the Paris World Exhibition of 1937. However, various delays, including World War II, prevented its performance during the composer's lifetime. The opera is subtitled 'The Tragedy of a Man who Had His Beard Cut', and the surrealist libretto is set in Paris about 1900. Although Martinu had asked Wurmser for a libretto including a singing cat, he compromised on Wurmser's suggestion of a singing portrait, which acts as narrator to a tale of bourgeois infidelity.

Comedy on the Bridge tells the story of two rival principalities separated by a river. A woman returning from one side gets caught in the middle by a bureaucratic snafu; soon she's joined in this absurdist limbo by a letch, a fiancé, a vengeful wife, and a schoolmaster with a riddle. Everyone has a secret, but no one has a clue - except the composer, who gets them all happily sorted by the end.

Also in the cast are Jenna Siladie, Abigail Fischer, Cassandra Velasco and Jason Slayden. Performances run from October 14 - 18, 2014 and tickets are available online or by calling 212-279-4200.


Craig Verm
Check out our previous post about Xavier Montsalvatge's El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), which was a huge success for Gotham Opera. They are bringing back barihunk Craig Verm for the revival, in a cast that includes Andrea Carroll, Ginger Costa-Jackson, Karin Mushegain, Craig Verm, and Kevin Burdette.

The work is an operatic version of the classic children’s tale in which a charismatic and cunning cat promises a poor miller everlasting love and fortune. All he needs to pull off his ruse are a hat, a cape, a pair of boots, and his wits.

Performances are from December 6 - 14. For more information, visit www.gothamchamberopera.org.

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Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke
The world permiere of Laura Kaminsky's opera "As One," which explores the revelatory and redemptive journey of a transgender individual, is opening on September 4th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Kaminsky was inspired to write the opera after reading an article in the New York Times in 2008 about a New Jersey marriage in which one of the parties transitioned from male to female, transforming the couple from heterosexual to homosexual. The opera has been cast with the real-life married couple of mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and barihunk Kelly Markgraf, as well as string quartet.

You can listen to three soundclips from the opera below. 


As One provides insights into both the personal and philosophical questions at the core of how personhood is defined, as well as into the compromised civil and humans rights of transgender individuals in the broader societal framework.

Performances at BAM run from September 4-7 and tickets are available online

People on the other side of the country can check out the opera in April 2015 at the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University.  Cooke's role will be sung by mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert, but Kelly Markgraf will remain in the cast. The Fry Street Quartet will perform at both venues.

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Opera Philadelphia is opening its 40th Anniversary season on September 26th with a new production of Rossini's Barber of Seville starring Jonathan Beyer in the title role and Kevin Burdette as Dr. Bartolo. Performances will run through October 5th, with a free HD broadcast on a giant screen at Independence National Historical Park on Saturday, September 27.

Beyer, made his Opera Philadelphia debut as Escamillo in a 2011 production of Bizet’s Carmen. He has performed Figaro with the Boston Lyric Opera, the Castleton Festival, the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari and at the Lyrique-en-Mer. A little trivia about Jonathan Beyer that you may not know is that he's obsessed with figure skating and knows as much about the sport as most professional commentators. 


Kevin Burdette was last seen as the Prophet/King in the 2012 East Coast Premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. He just wrapped up a run at the Santa Fe Opera as Herr Buff/Chamberlain in the double-bill of Mozart's The Impresario and Stravinsky's Le Rossignol. He returns to Santa Fe next season as Sergeant Supice in Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment and as Stobrod/Blind Man in the world premier of Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain.

They'll be joined in the cast by Jennifer Holloway as Rosina, which is her role debut and company debut. Count Almaviva will be sung by the wonderful young tenor Taylor Stayton.

Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 215.893.1018. The free tickets to Opera on the Mall broadcast are available beginning Wednesday, September 3rd at operaonthemall.org.

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Gregory Gerbrandt
August 19th is barihunk Gregory Gerbrandt's birthday, so it seems like a good time to check on his upscoming schedule, which runs from Broadway musical to opera. 

From October 2-26, he'll be performing in Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones' Broadway musical The Fantasticks at the Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee. He'll be performing the role of El Gallo who sings the hit tune, "Try to Remember." The role El Gallo was originally played by Jerry Orbach (of TV's Law & Order), who asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. A boy and the girl fall in love, grow apart, and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo's words that "without a hurt, the heart is hollow."
Jerry Orback sings Try to Remember from The Fantasticks:

Gerbrandt will then return to his native state of Colorado when he appears at the Arvada Center. He'll be playing the lead role of Stephen Kodaly in Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick's Broadway musical She Loves Me. The musical was written by the same team that created Fiddler on the Roof. Performances run from November 25 - December 21 and tickets are available online.

Next year, Gerbrandt returns to opera as Stanley Kowalski in André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire joined by one of the most exciting tenor voices in opera, Casey Candebot, who is singing Mitch.  Performances are on April 24 and 26 and tickets are available online. We have a feeling that he's going to be one of the sexiest Stanley's to hit the stage in the history of the opera.

Before he dons his white tank top in Streetcar, he can be seen in the title role of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin at Opera Idaho on February 13 and 15, followed by Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro on March 20 and 22 at Opera on the James in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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Christopher Bolduc and Keith Miller
Nonesuch is releasing Nico Muhly's Two Boys, which was recorded live during the Metropolitan Opera’s 2013 production with barihunks Christopher Bolduc as Jake and Keith Miller as Peter. It's currently available for pre-orders at the Nonesuch Store with an instant download of the opera’s Act I, Scene 6.

The two-act opera, which features a libretto by award-winning playwright Craig Lucas, is loosely based on true events and follows a lonely detective whose investigation of a seemingly simple crime draws her into a complex web of online intrigue. Alice Coote sings the role of Detective Inspector Anne Strawson and Paul Appleby sings Brian, the 16-year-old boy at the center of her investigations.


The 32-year old Muhly, 32 is the youngest composer ever commissioned by the Met, and Two Boys was his first large-scale opera. Two Boys, set in an English industrial city in 2001, combines two story elements rarely seen on the operatic stage: a police procedural and a dramatization of the mysterious and lonely lives of those who inhabit the dark corners of the Internet.

Muhly’s other recent projects include music for the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie and the score to the film Kill Your Darlings. His other film credits include scores for Joshua (2007), Margaret (2009), and the Academy Award–nominated The Reader (2008).

The cast also features Jennifer Zetlan as Rebecca, Caitlin Lynch as Cynthia, Sandra Piques Eddy as Fiona, Judith Forst as Anne’s Mum

Christopher Bolduc is currently a resident artist at the  Hessisches Staatstheater in Wiesbaden, Germany. He'll be performing Der Einäugige in Richard Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten from September 12-October 11. In October, he'll be Marcello in Puccini's La Bohème, followed by Figaro in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia in December.

Make sure to check out our recent post about Keith Miller's upcoming appearance in Daniel Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas at the Nashville Opera.

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Dan Kempson from the 2013 Barihunks Calendar
Eleven of the 40 singers in next week's Operalia Competition in Los Angeles are barihunk. Competing are Igor Bakan, Aleksey Bogdanov, Alexandre Duhamel, Dan Kempson, Alexey Lavrov, Alex Lawrence, Shea Owens, Damien Pass, Pavel Shmulevich, Anatoli Sivko and Ivan Thirion. Dan Kempson, Alex Lawrence and Damian Pass have been featured regularly on barihunks over the years

Daniel Kempson sings Pierrot's Tanzlied:
Operalia, was created by the legendary tenor Plácido Domingo and is in its third season and has instantly become one of the premiere vocal competitions in the world. The singers will compete over the course of one week, with the ten finalists performing on a concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion on August 30th. If you can't make the concert, it will broadcast live on Medici.tv beginning at 7 PM PST.

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Edwin Crossley-Mercer as Don Giovanni
We've been following the creation and performance of composer Michael Linton's 17 movement song cycle Carmina Catulli with barihunk Edwin Crossley-Mercer since its nascent days. The performance of the work at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall and was taped for future release, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Auguest 19th. We recommend checking out iTunes or refinersfire.us.

You can watch a trailer below the includes interviews with the performers and production team, as well as discussions of the difficulty of the pieces, the genesis of the project, and the graphic nature of Catullus' poetry.

The Making of CARMINA CATULLI from Refinersfire LLC on Vimeo.
If you want to catch Crossley-Mercey live, on August 10th, he'll be performing a song recital with accompanist Fernando Pérez at the Sala Verdi in Montevideo, Uruguay. From October 13-21 he reprises his huge success as Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées in Paris. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

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Kris Belligh's photo that we cropped off and the always stunning Justin Hopkins
We couldn't help but notice that amongst the four shepherds in Richard Strauss' Daphne at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels are a bass who has appeared on this site in his boxers (Matt Boehler), a Barihunks calendar model who has also appeared on this site in his boxers (Justin Hopkins), and a singer who we inadvertently cropped off of a photo featuring another barihunk (Kris Belligh).

The opera features an all-star cast led by the glorious Sally Matthews as Daphne, Eric Cutler as Apollo, Peter Lodahl and Leukippos and Iain Paterson as Peneios. The opera will run from September 9-30 and tickets are available online.

Kris Belligh
We're a little embarrassed that we cropped off Kris Belligh in a photo introducing Toby Girling to the site during his run in Zatopek! That's an oversight that we rarely make!

The Belgian barihunk studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before continuing his studies at the Opera Course at the Royal Scottish Academy. He was part of the barihunk trio in Zatopek! that included both Toby Girling and Peter Brathwaite with the Liverpool Philharmonic, which was featured on the BBC 3 as part of the Olympic Games in London.

In addition to Daphne, he appeared in Verdi's La traviata at Monnaie in a production directed by Andrea Breth, who invited the singer to take part in the production of Prokofiev's The Gambler at the Netherlands Opera.

Upcoming roles for Justin Hopkins include the sold out world premiere of Repast: An Oratorio Homage to Booker Wright in Oxford, Mississippi, the role of Publio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito with Opera in the Heights, and Britten's War Requiem with the Dayton Philharmonic. (We also hope to get him back in the calendar this year!).

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Theo Hoffman
Barihunk Theo Hoffman will be one of four singers joining the talented accompanist Steven Blier in the New York Festival of Song's Emerging Artists series. The program is entitles "Craigslistlieder & Other Love Songs" and includes music by Granados, Grieg, Frank Bridge, Sondheim, Stenhammar, and Gabriel Kahane.  

Kahane's "Craigslistlieder," which is a song cycle based on actual Craigslist personal ads headlines the program. The cycle includes 1. You Looked Sexy 2. II. I'm Sorry 3. III. Half A Box of Condoms 4. IV. Neurotic and Lonely 5. Today I Met 6. For Trade 7. If Anyone Knows 8. Opera Scene. 

Theo Hoffman sings the Count's Aria from the Marriage of Figaro:
The Festival is taking their program out to Long Island for two performances on Long Island this month! There will be a preview concert on August 23 at Christ Episcopal Church in Bellport followed the next day by a performance at in Orient. Hoffman will be joined by soprano Chelsea Morris, mezzo-soprano Lauren Eberwein and tenor William Goforth. The singers will perform solos as well as vocal quartets.

In November, Hoffman will play Bob in Menotti's The Old Maid and the Thief at Juilliard in a triple-bill directed by Edward Berkeley, which also includes Samuel Barber's A Hand of Bridge and Kurt Weill's Down in the Valley.. On March 8, 2015, he debuts with the Portland Symphony Orchestra as The Jailer in Poulenc's The Dialogues of the Carmelites. Tickets are available online

Make sure to read our interview with Theo Hoffman that appeared on our site in February.

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