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André Morsch in REIGEN
Oper Stuttgart is reviving Philippe Boesmans’ REIGEN in celebration of the Belgian composer's 80th birthday. In 1993, he paired up with director Luc Bondy and turned Arthur Schnitzler’s controversial drama into an opera.

The 1900 play La Ronde by Arthur Schnitzler's created a bit of a scandal when it was first published. The play depicts men and women of various social classes through ten sexual encounters that work their way like a relay back to the same prostitute who is seen in the first encounter. Although the play spoke about class and society in turn-of-the-century Vienna, it is also a universal story about the attitudes, tensions and relationships between the sexes. The circular narrative speaks first the prostitute and the soldier, then the soldier and the chambermaid, the chambermaid and a young man, until finally the Count meets up again with the prostitute.  

Oper Stuttgart's trailer for REIGEN:
The Count in this production is sung by André Morsch, who only appeared briefly on this site on a post about Don Giovanni. The German singer began his studies in Austria before moving on to the Amsterdam Conservatory and The New Opera Academy in The Hague. He was the winner of the prestigious 'Internationaler Wettbewerb für Liedkunst' in Stuttgart where he also received the Hermann- Reutter- Prize after previously winning the Prix Bernac at the Ravel Academie in Saint Jean de Luz.

André Morsch sings Schumann, Fauré and Ravel:
Since September 2011, he has been a member of the ensemble at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he has sung Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Harlekin in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola. In 2005 he was part of Le jardin des Voix, led by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. He appears on a number of CDs and DVDs, including a performance of title role in Lully?s Cadmus et Hermione at the Opera Comique in Paris, which won the 2009 Diapason d'Or as DVD of the year.

You can watch REIGEN online beginning on May 6 at The Opera Platform. Live performances run from April 24 through June 6 and tickets are available online.

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Aussie barihunk Christopher Tonkin
Australian barihunk Christopher Tonkin, who is new to this site, will be singing the role of Hans in Austrian composer Alexander Zemlinsky's rarely performed Der Traumgörge (Görge the Dreamer) at the Staatsoper Hannover. The 2-act opera was originally intended to be performed at the Vienna State Opera where Gustav Mahler, a mentor of Zemlinsky's, was Musical Director.

Mahler had encouraged Zemlinsky to compose the opera following the success of Es war einmal which Mahler had premiered in 1900. In 1907, the same year Der Traumgörge was scheduled for its premiere, Mahler hired Zemlinsky to be an assistant conductor. However, Mahler abruptly resigned and his successor, Felix Weingartner, dropped Der Traumgörge from the schedule as rehearsals were underway. Zemlinsky himself then resigned in protest.  Zemlinsky moved on to other compositional projects and made little effort to further promote it. 


The original performance materials were discovered in the archives of the Vienna State Opera in the 1970s, a period of renewed interest in Zemlinsky's music. This led to the opera's belated premiere in Nuremberg, Germany on October 11, 1980. The opera was performed at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2008 with Markus Brück as Hans and has been recorded twice.

Tickets for the Hannover performance, which runs from April 16-May 28, are available online

Tonkin is a resident principal baritone with Hannover Staatsoper, where he's performed Marcello in Puccini's La bohème, Ottokar in Weber's Der Freischütz, Maximilian in Berstein's Candide, Pollux in Rameau's Castor et Pollux, Albert in Massenet's Werther, the Count in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and other roles.

He grew up in Geelong, Australia, before moving to Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts. In his native country he performed the Count in Richard Strauss' Capriccio and the Novice’s Friend in Britten's Billy Budd for Opera Australia, the Black Minister in Ligetti's Le Grand Macabre at the Adelaide Festival, and the roles of Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Chou En-Lai in Adam's Nixon in China and Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore for the Victorian Opera, for which he received a Green Room Award nomination.

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Thomas Weinhappel as Hamlet
Thomas Weinhappel is back in Ostrava in the Czech Republic singing the title role in Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet on April 16, May 10 and 17, and June 2 and 15. Performances are at the Antonín Dvorák Theatre and tickets are available online.

In between performances of Hamlet, Weinhappel heads to the Opéra Massy in Paris to sing Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte on March 31, and April 1,2 and 3, which then plays at the Théâtre Montansier in Versailles on April 5, at the Théâtre Alain Joneman in Le Vésinet on April 6 and at the Théâtre Alexandre Dumas in Saint Germain on April 8. He'll return to Ostrava in the Fall for more performances of Hamlet.
Thomas Weinhappel as Hamlet
Thomas Oliemans as Hamlet
Barihunk Thomas Oliemans is also performing the role at the Göteborgs Opera through May 21 with fellow barihunk Paul Whelan as Claudius. In this production, on different nights they will present the two alternate endings that Ambroise Thomas wrote. At the very first performance in Paris the opera concluded with Hamlet being crowned King, and Queen Gertrud entering a nunnery. For the premiere at Covent Garden in England, Thomas composed a more Shakespearean ending in which Hamlet takes his own life. Tickets are available online.

Weinappel and Oliemans join an illustrious group of baritones who have sung the title role in recent years, including Sherrill Milnes, Thomas Allen, Thomas Hampson, Bo Skovhus, Simon Keenlyside, Liam Bonner, Wes Mason, Franco Pomponi and Stéphane Degout.

Thomas Weinhappel sings Hamlet's Drinking Song:
When Ambroise Thomas chose Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the subject of his new opera, France had been under the spell of the English bard for many years, and Ophelia had inspired romantic artists. The librettists Carré and Barbier distilled a straightforward story from Shakespeare’s abundant characters and situations. Many Anglo-Saxon critics have dismissed the opera because the libretto is so far removed from the original, despite Thomas having created a musical masterpiece.

The opera is played out between the opposite poles of real and feigned madness, love and avenge. After the murder of his father, Hamlet opposes the marriage of his mother and his uncle, at the expense of his beloved and himself.

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Evan Hughes as Leporello in Don Giovanni
Last night, bass-barihunk Evan Hughes made his Komische Oper debut as Leporello in Herbert Fritsch's colorful, whimsical and provocative production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. He'll be singing along side Günter Papendell, who is singing the title role. Performances with the barihunk duo run through June 4th when Philipp Meierhöfer takes over as Leporello.

Fritsch has drawn on the core of Don Juan story by bringing him to life as a malicious harlequin – a loser, audacious, side-splittingly funny and irresistible all at once.

Günter Papendell as Don Giovanni
Papendell, who has become a fan favorite at the Komische Oper, has been with the company since 2007 scored a huge success in this production last year. He can be see this season  as Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Pollux in Rameau's Castor and Pollux, Figaro in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, the title role in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Jason in Cherubini's Medea and Fritz in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. You can watch his Onegin performance online for free by clicking HERE

Hughes is currently a fest member at the Semperoper Dresden where he can be seen as the Marchese d'Obigny in Verdi's La Traviata, Masetto and Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème, Cesare Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca and Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte. 

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Gianluca Margheri as Don Giovanni & Apollo (photo right ©Giancarlo Malandra)
Gianluca Margheri will be singing Alidoro in Rossini's "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella) at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo on April 19, 22 and 24. He'll be joined by the amazing tenor René Barbera as Don Ramiro, Chiara Amarù as Angelina, Paolo Bordogna as Don Magnificio, Riccardo Novaro as Dandini, Marina Bucciarelli as Clorinda,  and Annunziata Vestri as Tisbe. The role of Alidoro replaces the Fairy Godmother from the original story of Cinderella. Tickets are available online.

In Act 1, Alidoro sings "Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo" in disguise as one of the King's officials. He is with Cenerentola who cannot attend the Prince's ball at her father's insistence. Alidoro realizes the goodness in Cenerentola and tells her that he will bring her to the ball himself. She believes that he is making fun of her. To show her that he means what he says, he throws off his cloak to reveal his noble clothes beneath and sings to her that God himself has looked down upon her and shows favor upon her and thus, she should not be afraid of going to the ball. He then goes on to say that his carriage is coming and, although she must be confused and upset, she will soon be in happier days.

Ildebrando D'Arcangelo sings "Là del ciel nell'arcano profondo":  
Rossini composed La Cenerentola when he was 25 years old, following the success of The Barber of Seville the year before. Throughout most of the 19th century, its popularity rivaled that of the Barber of Seville, but as the coloratura contralto, for which the title role was originally written, became rare it fell slowly out of the repertoire.

The opera contains some of his finest writing for solo voice and ensembles. Perhaps the most popular aria from the piece today is Cenerentola's "Nacqui all'affanno ... Non piu mesta," which is often used be singers to end recital programs or as an encore. Other popular pieces include Don Magnifico's "Miei rampolli femminini, Dandini's "Come un'ape ne' giorni d'aprile" (a popular audition piece for young baritones), Prince Ramiro's "Si, ritrovarla io giuro" and the ensemble "Questo è un nodo avviluppato."

After Rossini's La Cenerentola, Margheri will head to the Hungarian State Opera from June 17-23 to perform Purcell's The Fairy Queen and then he's off to St. Gallen to sing the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro running from September 17 through November 25.

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Ramin Karimloo (photos by Matthew Murphy)

Ramin Karimloo will be performing Che in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita from April 30-May 8th at the Vancouver Opera. He'll be joined by Caroline Bowman as Evita and John Cudia and Perón in a full-scale production of the musical.

Last Fall, Karimloo was performing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables eight times a week at the Imperial Theatre in New York City and was buffing up at the Columbus Circle Equinox. That's when these photos were taken by Matthew Murphy and his assistant Mitch Dean.

Ramin Karimloo sings Bring Him Home from Les Misérables:
Karimloo, who is classically trained, has spent most of his career singing Broadway musicals. He considers himself a "high baritone" and reviewers have commented that he's a lyric baritone with an easy reach into the tenor range. The closet Karimloo has gotten to an opera performance is a few gigs on stage singing Gilbert & Sullivan. He remains one of the most popular singers on our site based on reader views.

Tickets for Evita at the Vancouver Opera are available online.

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Brandon Cedel before Met's Manon Lescaust & stretching before Barber of Seville
Bass-baritone Brandon Cedel was one of nine early-career artists awarded a grant from the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts. The Fund  awards $50,000 a year for up to two years to help promising artists make a breakthrough in their careers, broaden their skills, and achieve professional success.

In addition to Cedel, fellowships totaling $450,000 were awarded to violinist Robyn Bollinger; actors Jeremie Harris, Miriam Hyman and David Pegram; cellist and conductor Nico Olarte-Hayes; visual artist Nyugen Smith; ballet dancer Devon Teuscher; and musician and musicologist Daniel Walden.
The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund has paid or pledged more than $5.5 million in career-development grants to artists, including the current group, over the last nine years. The funding has enabled promising artists with world-class talent to film a movie, record new music, experiment in performance, afford studio time or training, buy materials, pay for living expenses and pay down student debt. The fellows, selected in consultation with partners such as The Public Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and the Perlman Music Program, work with mentors chosen by the partners and the Leonore Annenberg Fund.

Cedel just appeared in the Pittsburgh Opera production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville with his husband, fellow barihunk Jonathan Beyer. Upcoming performances include Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro at Opera Philadelphia, Masetto in Don Giovanni at the Münchner Opernfestspiele, and Leporello at Glyndebourne.
Cedel will join Oper Frankfurt in 2016 when he completes his third year of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, which sponsored him. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, Cedel won a Grand Prize at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (2013) and a Richard Tucker Career Grant (2015). The New Yorker's music critic Alex Ross wrote of Cedel: "Capable of singing anything from Cavalli to Wagner, he may be destined for stardom."  

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Luca Pisaroni and Leah Crocetto in Rossini's Maometto II in Santa Fe (Photo: Ken Howard)
Italian bass-barihunk Luca Pisaroni will be making his debut with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto from April 29 to May 14 in the title role of Rossini's Maometto II.  He had a huge success in this David Alden-directed production at the Santa Fe Opera in 2012 with Leah Crocetto as Anna, who will be joining him in these performances. They will be joined by tenor Bruce Sledge as Erisso  and mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Calbo.

The Venetian love story contains some of the Italian composers greatest music, but has somehow never entered the standard repertory, even in its reworked version Le siège de Corinthe. The only U.S. performance in recent years in addition to Santa Fe was the 1988 production at the San Francisco Opera, which was produced as a showcase for Simone Alaimo and June Anderson. Other performances internationally have included a 2008 performance in Pesaro, Italy with Michele Pertusi and a 2014 production in Rome with bass-barihunk Mirco Palazzi.

Luca Pisaroni sings Maometto's aria "All'invito generoso" in Santa Fe:
The best known pieces of music from the opera are sung by the mezzo character Calbo "Non temer: d'un basso affetto," the soprano Anna's "Giusto Cielo, in tal periglio," the duet between Maometto and Anna "Anna... tu piangi" and Maometto's thrilling aria "All'invito generoso."

Pisaroni next heads to Los Angeles to perform the Mozart Requiem under LA Philharmonic Gusavo Dudamel's baton on May 19, 20, 21 and 22.  He'll be joined by soprano Lucy Crowe, tenor Paul Appleby and mezzo-soprano Roxana Constantinescu. Tickets are available online.

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Randall Scotting and Franco Pomponi
New York's operamission is continuing its ongoing series of presenting all 39 of Handel's complete  operas with Rinaldo on June 14 and 16 at Merkin Concert Hall. Conductor Jennifer Peterson will lead a full baroque orchestra from the harpsichord in a concert performance of the opera, which is based on Torquato Tasso's La Gerusalemme liberata

Barihunk Franco Pomponi will sing Argante and hunken-countertenor Randall Scotting will sing the title role of Rinaldo. They'll be joined by soprano Christine Arand as the Queen Armida, soprano Malia Bendi Merad as Almirena and countertenors Nicholas Tamagna as Goffredo and Andrew Rader as Eustazio.

Franco Pomponi sings Hamlet's drinking song (at the 2:00 mark):
Pomponi will be singing Prospero in Thomas Adès' The Tempest at the Hungarian State Opera from May 19-June 1. After he's done performing Rinaldo, Scotting will continue to work out at the gym in preparation for his first bodybuilding competition (and providing further proof that we need a Hunken-Countertenor site). 

Tickets for Rinaldo are $55 and $75 ($45 for students and seniors) and are available online

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John Paul Huckle poses in the beautiful Teatro di San Carlo
Umberto Giodano's Fedora is often dubbed his "other" opera  (referrring to hit Andrea Chenier) or it's remembered for the Loris's Act 2 aria Amor ti vieta, which has become a favorite of tenors worldwide.

The opera has hung around because the story, based a play by Victorien Sardou, packs some emotional punch. After all, he was the author of the play that became Tosca, which Puccini later made into his successful opera.

A number of great sopranos have taken on the title role, including Magda Olivero (who recently died at age 104) and Maria Callas, who performed it at La Scala (where is that recording?). More recently Mirella Freni Angela Gheorghiu, Renata Scotto, Daniela Dessì, Eva Marton, Virginia Zeani and Katia Ricciarelli have sung the role. You'd be hard pressed to find a tenor who hasn't performed Amor ti vieta at some point in his career, and great recordings (both live and studio) exist from Franco Corelli, Mario Del Monaco, Beniamino Gigli, Jussi Bjorling, Placido Domingo, Roberto Alagna, Giuseppe di Stefano, Nicolai Gedda, Tito Schipa, Jose Carreras, Roland Villazon, Jonas Kaufmann and Luciano Pavarotti.

Renata Scotto and Placido Domingo perform Fedora:
The Teatro di San Carlo in Naples will present the opera from May 3-11 with an all-star cast headed by Fiorenza Cedolins in the title role and Giuseppe Filianoti as Count Loris. Bass-barihunk John Paul Huckle will take on the dual assignment of Cirillo and the doctor Boroff. Tickets and cast information is available online.

The Teatro di San Carlo will also be presenting a double-bill of Granados' Goyescas and Puccini's Suor Angelica from May 28-June 28 with barihunk César San Martin as Paquiro in the first half of the program. Tickets and cast information is available online.

César San Martin appears in Goyescas
The story of the Giordano opera revolves around Fedora Romazoff, a Russian princess engaged to wed Count Vladimir, who is shot before the opera starts. Fedora sets out to avenge his death and she extracts a confession from Count Loris, who is enamored with her.  She denounces Loris in a letter before realizing that he shot Vladimir not for political reasons, but because Vladimir was having an affair with his lover Wanda. As could only happen in verismo opera, Fedora then tells Loris that she loves him and they run off to Switzerland together. While there, Loris finds out that his brother died in jail after being accused of complicity in Vladimir's death, which prompts his mother to drop dead. Loris realizes that the "mystery woman" who had denounced him and killed both his brother and his mother was Fedora. He then flies into a fit of rage. Overcome with guilt and grief, Fedora drinks poison from a hollow crucifix hanging around her neck. As she dies, Loris forgives her, but it is too late, and she dies in his arms as the song of a shepherd boy is heard from the Alpine foothills.

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