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The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera
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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.

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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.

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Jonathan McGovern
Barihunk Jonathan McGovern is making a major role and house debut this season, beginning with his first performance of the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Teatro Arriaga in Bilbao.

The opera tells the story of Orfeo's descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. It was written in 1607 for a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua and is considered the earliest opera that is still regularly performed. Performances are on May 5th and 6th and tickets are available online.

This summer, he will make his company debut with the Garsington Opera in the title role of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Andrea Carroll will sing the role of Mélisande and Paul Gay is Golaud. The British singer performed the role last season with English Touring Opera. Performances run from June 16th through July 7th and tickets and additional cast information is available online.

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The following notice appeared on the website of the National Concert Hall where barihunk Dmitri Hvorostovsky was scheduled to perform on April 29th.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky deeply regrets that he must cancel his recital due to a change in the schedule for his cancer treatments.
Information about the concert has been removed from the Hvorostovsky’s official website, but his manager says that the Russian singer still plans on performing in a gala concert in Toronto on April 25th along with soprano Anna Netrebko and her husband tenor Yusif Eyvazov.

Hvorostovsky was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2015 and subsequently cancelled concerts in Kaliningrad, Minsk and Vienna, as well as performances in the Met's current production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. He was replaced by fellow barihunks Peter Mattei and Mariusz Kwiecien.

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John Chest
Barihunk John Chest is on a roll, having recently been named as the U.S. representative at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in June 2017 and closing the Opera Philadelphia season opposite his wife Layla Claire in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. To top that off, he was just awarded a $10,000 2017 Richard Tucker Career Grant along with bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee and baritone Anthony Clark Evans.

The top prize of $50,000 went to soprano Nadine Sierra. Winners of the $5,000 Sara Tucker Award went to countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, tenor Alexander McKissick, bass-baritone Christian Pursell, bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum, mezzo-soprano Taylor Raven, tenor Jack Swanson, and soprano Vanessa Vasquez.

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Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Marco Vratogna and Douglas Williams
Puccini operas aren't known for great baritone roles, like Verdi or Wagner, and certainly not a lot of great barihunk roles. Gianni Schicchi is a dying old man, Michele is an old barge operator, Jack Rance is the law and order town sheriff with his eye on the girl, Scarpia is usually played as a lecherous old police chief and The Bonze is usually a despicable old relative.

The only Puccini opera where we regularly get one and sometimes two barihunks is La bohème where the young Parisians often include a sexy Marcello and lower-voice Colline. So imagine our delight when we learned that the online broadcast of the composer's Tosca would include the barihunk trio of Marco Vratogna as Scarpia, Alexander Tsymbalyuk as Cesare Angelotti and Douglas Williams as Sciarrone. We've always liked the idea of a younger Scarpia, as it adds some sexual tension to the Act II "seduction" scene with Tosca.

The trio will join Kristine Opolais as Tosca and Marcelo Alvarez as Mario Cavaradossi for the Berlin Philharmonic's fifth visit to the Easter Festival of the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

The performance will be on Arte TV for free starting on April 17th.

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Jake Stamatis in Trouble in Tahiti (left)
A reader alerted us to the fact that we've never posted bass-barihunk Jake Stamatis, who is opening next week in Philip Glass' Hydrogen Jukebox with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, New York. He'll be joined in the cast by Stacey Geyer, Abigail Smith, Mary Beth Nelson, Jordan Schreiner and Scott Purcell.

Stamatis is a native of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania and received his Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance at Susquehanna University and his Masters Degree in Opera at Binghamton University. He is currently an artist-in-residence at Tri-Cities Opera where he's also sining the Marquese d’Obingy in Verdi's La traviata and Don Iñigo Gomez in Ravel's L’Heure Espagnol. He recently appeared with Opera Ithaca as Abdul in Kamala Sankaram's Thumbprint.

Other roles in his repertory include Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Frosch in Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, Taddeo in Rossini's L’Italiana in Algeri, Sam in Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti and and Anthony in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd.

Performances of Hydrogen Jukebox are on April 21, 23, 28 and 30 with performances at Savoca Hibbitt Hall in Binghamton. Tickets and additional information is available online.

This is also our first post highlighting Tri-Cities Opera, with our only mention of the company being Brandon Coleman singing Mephistopheles in their production of Gounod's Faust.

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Michael Travis Risner working out and backstage for Marriage of Figaro
Michael Travis Risner, who has appeared on our site in Boulder Opera's productions of Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Mozart's Don Giovanni, will be performing Figaro in the University of Northern Colorado Opera Theatre production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro on April 15th in Greeley.

The company will be performing on both April 14 and April 15 with separate casts. He'll be joined by Alberto Beltran as the Count, Meggie Moyer as the Countess, Katie Warner as Susanna, Zecheriah Oswald as Bartolo, April Phillips as Marcellina, Margaret Siegrist as Cherubino and Sean Stephenson as Basilio.

Risner received his Masters in Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from Colorado State University. He has been appearing on the stages of Colorado's Front Range for the past 20 years as a singer, actor, director, and stage combat instructor and choreographer (his resume even lists "fitness model").  He has performed the title role in Monostatos in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Dancaire in Bizet's Carmen, Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Eddie/Dr. Scott in Rocky Horror Live!, Lancelot in Camelot, Anatoly in Chess and the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance, Footloose (Chuck).

A bit of trivia about Greeley, which was was named after Horace Greeley, editor of the New-York Tribune, who came to Colorado in the 1859 Pike's Peak Gold Rush. His trip popularized the phrase "Go West, young man"

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Luke Scott (left) and David Castillo (right) (Photo Maria Baranova)
After sold-out performances on both coasts, ¡Figaro! (90210) is back at The Duke on 42nd Street in New York's Times Square until April 23rd.

The opera is an updated and rewritten version of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro about class and power. The piece is set in present-day Los Angeles (with a Trump Tower gag thrown in for New York audiences) and filled with pop references,  contemporary slang and includes current topics like immigration reform and income inequality. 

David Castillo, who we recently featured in his successful run as Anthony Hope in Townsend Opera's Sweeney Todd, will reprise the role of the stoner Atzuko. (Don't miss our interview with him). He's joined by barihunk Luke Scott as Paul Conti, hunkentenor Michael Kuhn as Basel, Jose Adan Perez as Figaro, actor Christin Byrdsong as Lil B-Man, Ethan Herschenfeld as Babayan, Lori Mirabal as Donna, Sahoko Sato Timpone as Ms. Soon-Yi Nam, Emma Grimsley as Barbara Conti, Raquel Suarez-Groen  as Roxanne Conti and Samarie Alicia as Susana.
 
Actor Christin Byrdsong (Photo Maria Baranova)

The libretto is in English and "Spanglish" and is about the undocumented workers Figaro and Susana who can't wait to get married. On their way to the altar they have to navigate a world of lecherous bosses, Botoxed starlets, bumbling human traffickers, ambitious hip-hoppers, and pothead gardeners in a wild adventure that recasts the classic opera as a madcap comedy about citizenship in today's America. 

Tickets are available at Figaro90210.com where you can use the discount code "GOGOFIGARO."  

Castillo next appears as the Doctor and Shepherd in Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande with the Cleveland Orchestra from May 2-6 under the baton of Franz Welser-Most. Fellow barihunks Elliot Madore and Hanno Müller-Brachmann will sing the roles of Pelleas and Golaud respectively. Tickets are available online.

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Ildebrando d’Arcangelo and AT&T Park
Ildebrando d’Arcangelo will appear on the Jumbotron as Don Giovanni at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. The live telecast is part of the San Francisco Opera's successful Opera at the Ballpark series.

Up to 30,000 are expected to attend the June 30th live broadcast from the War Memorial Opera House. Audience members can picnic on the field while watching the opera or watch from the stands. The event is free, but attendees will have to register online.

Ildebrando d’Arcangelo sings Deh vieni alla finestra from Don Giovanni:

The Opera in the Ballpark experience is one of the many ways the San Francisco Opera has used to broaden the reach of opera. Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, will be joined in the cast by Erin Wall, Ana María Martinez, Stanislas de Barbeyrac and Marco Vinco. The opera will be conducted by Marc Minkowski in his San Francisco Opera debut and will be directed Jacopo Spirei in his San Francisco debut.

The San Francisco Opera summer season will also include Puccini’s La Bohème and Verdi’s Rigoletto with Quinn Kelsey in the title role.

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