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The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera
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Dan Kempson, Nikolas Nackley & Zach Altman
The ever innovative West Edge Opera in Berkeley, California is about to launch their summer season and all three operas feature barihunks. The season will also be performed in three unique settings around the East Bay.

Laura Kaminsky's As One will feature popular barihunk Dan Kempson opposite soprano Brenda Patterson. The piece be performed at The Oakland Metro, a punk rock venue reflective of Oakland’s gritty art scene and the ideal space for such a provocative piece. 

As One premiered at The Brooklyn Academy of Music just this past September with the husband and wife team of Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke. 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 straight to gay.
The opera is based on the life experience of noted filmmaker Kimberly Reed.

Two singers, a baritone and a mezzo-soprano, together portray the character Hannah.  The two singers embody a young boy who knows he is different but can't understand how or why. The 70-minute opera traces the life of young Hannah through her eventual gender reassignment.  Performances are on July 26 and 31, and August 8th.


Alban Berg’s Lulu will be performed in the abandoned and decaying 1912 Beaux-Arts train station at 16th Street in Oakland where the movies Funny Lady and RENT were filmed. The Oakland 16th Street Station (also known as the Oakland Central Station) was for decades Oakland's main train station. It is now being revived as a space for arts and events. In a bit of luxury casting, barihunk Zachary Altman, who is making a name for himself in Basel, will perform the role of the Athlete. He also happens to be Dan Kempson's husband. Performances are on July 25, and August 2 and 8.

The final opera is Monteverdi’s, Ulysses, which will be staged at the American Steel Studios, a former pipe factory turned six acre art studio that’s now home to steel fabricators, sculptors, vertical aerial and trapeze performers, glass artists, and more. The opera stars Nikolas Nackley in the title role and performances are on August 1, 7 and 9.

Tickets and additional cast information is available online

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Benjamin Appl and Edward Grint
An all-star cast of singers has been assembled for Bach's St Matthew Passion at St. John's Smith Square in London tonight at 7 PM. This is a rare opportunity to hear Bach's St Matthew Passion performed with just eight singers, allowing one to hear the work with the sonorities that the composer had in mind. It is believed that Bach wrote the SMP using one voice per part, or eight voices total, rather than the two conventional choirs which is common for performances and recordings.

The cast includes rising star and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Benjamin Appl as Christus and Edward Grint in the bass section, along with Charles Daniels as the Evangelist, Daniel Taylor and Robin Blaze in the countertenor section, sopranos Joanne Lunn and Elizabeth Cragg and tenor Mark Wilde. The London Handel Orchestra will be conducted by Adrian Butterfield.

Tickets are available online.

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Adrian Eröd as Prospero
Austrian barihunk Adrian Eröd returns to the role of Prospero in Thomas Adés' The Tempest, which he performed at the Frankfurt Opera in 2009/10. Prospero is the banished Duke of Milan who practices his otherworldly arts.The current production is at his home base of the Vienna State Opera and will be conducted by the composer with a cast that includes countertenor superstar David Daniels, Audrey Luna and Stephanie Houtzeel. Performances run from June 14-27.

Eröd has been one of the most popular baritones in Vienna since his debut in 2001 as Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. He's gone on to sing a number of roles to great acclaim including Guglielmo, Conte Almaviva, Eisenstein, Albert in Werther and Olivier in Capriccio.

Adrian Eröd backstage as Prospero
You can watch the performance live on Wednesday June 24, 2015, 7 PM at the Vienna State Opera's live streaming site. The live stream costs € 14.00 (approximately15.71 USD - 10.14 GBP.

Shakespeare's story has inspired 50 operas including Fromental Halévy's La Tempesta, Zdenek Fibich's Boure, Frank Martin's Der Sturm and Michael Tippett's The Knot Garden. Incidental music based on The Tempest has been written by Arthur Sullivan, Ernest Chausson, Jean Sibelius, Malcolm Arnold, Lennox Berkeley, Arthur Bliss, Engelbert Humperdinck, Hector Berlioz, Willem Pijper and Henry Purcell

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Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Bryn Terfel
There is no shortage of great low male voices in this year's Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, as six baritones and basses are competing. The include Jongmin Park, Blaise Malaba, Sebastian Pilgrim, Amartuvshin Enkhbat, Ryan Speedo Green and Insu Hwang. 

A number of operas most famous low voices were winners at Cardiff, most famously Dmitri Hvorostovsky who won the main prize in 1989 and Bryn Terfel who won the Song Prize that same year. Other winners have included Tommi Hakala who won the main prize in 2003, Christopher Maltman who won the Song Prize in 1997, Paul Whelan who won the Song Prize in 1993 and Jacques Imbrailo who won the coveted Audience Prize in 2007.
 
This year, fans around the world will have two ways to enjoy the competition, either on BBC radio or for a fee on Sonostream.tv, which will be the first international broadcast outside the U.K. The broadcasts of the first rounds on Sonostream are on 24-delay and are simultaneous with the BBC transmissions. The main competition final on Sunday, June 21 is LIVE. Broadcasts of the initial rounds begin on June 16 at 8:30PM CEST/3:30 PM EST/12:30 PM PST.
 
Over 300 young singers from around the world applied to participate in the current competition, but only twenty artists were selected to perform with the orchestra at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Wales.

Parallel to the main competition, there is also the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize, in which singers perform art songs to piano accompaniment at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and St. David's Hall.  

Purchased programs  on Sonostream. tv will be available for 30 days on demand after the first broadcast date.

Jongmin Park
Jongmin Park studied at the Korea National University of Arts and at the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where he worked with Mirella Freni and Renato Bruson. His roles at La Scala included Bartolo in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and the Doctor in Verdi's Macbeth.

Jongmin Park sings Rossini's La calunnia:
From 2010-13, he was a member of Hamburg State Opera where he performed Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Sparafucile  in Verdi's Rigoletto, the King of Egypt in Aida, and Truffaldino in Richard Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. He joined Vienna State Opera at the start of the 2013/14 season.  He won the Birgit Nilsson Prize at Operalia, first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and second and Audience Prizes at the Neue Stimmen international singing competition.

Blaise Malaba
Blaise Malaba was born in Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is studying at the Faculty of International Relations and the Faculty of Culture and Arts at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. 

Blaise Malaba sings "Let my people go"
He started singing in the church choir as a soloist, then the student choir at my university and with the male choir of Lviv. Since January 2014,  he as been studying with Professor Bogdan Bazylykut. He enjoys singing Verdi and sacred songs.  

Sebastian Pilgrim
Sebastian Pilgrim was born in Herford in North Germany and studied in Detmold and Hannover with Sabine Ritterbusch and Alessandra Althoff-Pugliese. He won the Wolfgang Wagner Award for performances as Daland and Hagen at the 2012 International Competition for Wagner Voices. While still a student, he became a member of the Theater Erfurt, performing such repertoire as Tierbändiger and Athlet Lulu and Kaspar and Eremit Der Freischütz.  

He subsequently joined the ensemble at Nationaltheater Mannheim in 2013, singing leading roles such as Sarastro Die Zauberflöte, Fiesco Simone Boccanegra, King and Cook Love for Three Oranges and King Philip Don Carlo. He also composes and conducts and has given several premieres of new music.
You can listen to Sebastian Pilgrim's clarinet sonata HERE

Amartuvshin Enkhbat
Amartuvshin Enkhbat was born in Sukhbaatar and studied at the State University of Arts and Culture, Ulan Bator. He won second prize and the audience prize at the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition; shared first prize in Operalia 2012 and second prize and two special prizes at the International Singing Contest Francisco Viñas in 2013. He is a principal Soloist of the State Academic Opera House of Mongolia where he has performed Escamillo and Morales in Carmen, Tonio in Pagliacci, Amonasro in Aida, Count di Luna in Il trovatore, Iago in Otello, Renato in Un ballo in maschera; and numerous other roles.

Ryan Speedo Green


Virginia native Ryan Speedo Green studied at Florida State University and the Hartt School of Music. He made his Metropolitan Opera stage debut in the 2012/13 season as the Mandarin in Puccini's Turandot, and the Second Knight in Wagner's Parsifal  He was a National Grand Finals winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Ryan Speedo Green sings This Nearly Was Mine from South Pacific:
In 2014, he received a George London Foundation Award, first prize in the Opera Index Competition, an Annenberg grant, first prize in the Gerda Lissner Foundation competition and both the Richard and Sara Tucker Grants from the Richard Tucker Foundation.  Operatic highlights include the Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni with The Juilliard School, Colline in Puccini's La bohème with Central City Opera and Don Magnifico in Rossini's La Cenerentola with Opera Colorado.  In 2014, he joined the Wiener Staatsoper ensemble, where he has performed Sparafucile, Basilio, and the King in Aida. 

Insu Hwang
Insu Hwang was born in Seoul, South Korea and studied at Yonsei University, then in Germany at the Hochschule für Musik, Karlsruhe. He reached the finals of the 2011 Queen Elizabeth competition and in 2013 won third prize and the Mozart special prize at the Veronica Dunne International singing competition, and 2nd prize at the Gut Immling international singing competition.  He is currently a member of the Young Artist program at the Landestheater Detmold, where he has performed the roles of Montano Otello, First Nazarene Salome and Sarastro Die Zauberflöte.  

Other competitors in this year's BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition include soprano Nadine Koutcher, mezzo Marina Pinchuk, soprano Aviva Fortunata, soprano Anaïs Constans, tenor Nico Darmanin, mezzo Ingeborg Gillebo, soprano Kelebogile Besong, tenor Jaeyoon Jung, soprano Regula Mühlemann, tenor Ilker Arcayurek, tenor Oleksiy Palchykov, soprano Lauren Michelle and soprano Céline Forrest. 
 

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Tom Colwell
We getting introduced to an increasing number of barihunks, including our latest submission Tom Colwell. The British singer makes his role debut tonight as the Helmsman in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at the Longborough Festival Opera in the heart of the Cotswolds. Additional performances are on June 16th, 18th and 20th.

Colwell started singing as a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral Choir School in London, performing on tours throughout France, Spain and Japan. He has been a soloist on numerous recordings and sang the title theme to the Channel 4 drama The Big Battalions.

He studied at Junior Royal Academy in London and the Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester. During his time in Manchester, he performed in Verdi’s Falstaf  and Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades.

He has added a number of new roles to his repertory in the last season, including Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen at Opera’r Ddraig, Capulet in Gounod's Romeo and Juliet at Riverside Opera, Marcello in Puccini's La Boheme with Opera up Close at the Ravenna International Festival, and Dr Bartolo in Rossini's Barber of Seville at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

In August, he will be singing the role of the Inn Keeper in the premiere of Louis Mander's Oh whistle and I will come to you my lad, a ghost story opera set in Sussex. This will be performed as part of the Tete-a-Tete opera festival.

Colwell is also the co-founder and artistic director of Island Opera, a classical vocal ensemble providing entertainment across South Wales and the U.K.

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Vartan Gabrielian

Armenian-Canadian bass-barihunk Vartan Gabrielian served as an alter boy at St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic church in Toronto and began voice lessons at age fourteen. He went on to study at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and has been studying at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia since 2012. He is currently part of the Russian Opera Workshop where he performed a concert of Rachmaninoff songs and arias earlier this year. In March, he performed Tchaikovsky's Don Juan Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart, along with O du mein holder Abendstern from Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser.

In July, he'll perform the King in Handel's Ariodante at the Chautauqua Music Festival's Fletcher Music Hall, followed by Colline in Puccini's La behème in August at the Chautauqua Amphitheater with the Music School Festival Orchestra.

Roles at Curtis have included Prince Gudal in Anton Rubinstein's The Demon, the Loudspeaker in Ullmann's Emperor of Atlantis, Mago and Eustazio in Handel's Rinaldo, Masetto  in Mozart's Don Giovanni, M. Javelinot in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and the title role in Le nozze di Figaro.

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Elliot Madore and Markus Eiche
The Bavarian State Opera's free live streams at STAATSOPER.TV continue from Munich on July 4th at 7 PM CET/2 PM EST/11 AM PST with Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

The cast includes barihunks Elliot Madore as Pelleas and Markus Eiche as Goulaud, as well as soprano Elena Tsallagova as Melisande. Later this year the duo appear together again in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, with Madore as Harlekin and Eiche as the Music Instructor.

Madore has become a regular on live streaming opera, having been featured recently in Don Giovanni, Chabrier's L'étoile Rameau's Les Sauvages.

Markus Eiche studied at the Music Academy of Stuttgart and went on to win the 1998 the International Singing Competition ”Francesco Viñas” in Barcelona. He has become a regular at both the Vienna State Opera and the Bavarian State Opera. Upcoming roles in Munich include Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, Gunther in Gotterdammerung, Marcello in La boheme and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro.



Elliot Madore, a native of Canada, has been singing primarily in Europe since becoming part of the ensemble at the Zurich Opera. However, he'll be appearing on both US coasts this year, starting on September 12 when he sings Antony Hope in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the San Francisco Opera with Gerald Finley and Stephanie Blythe. In December, he'll head east to appear at the Metropolitan Opera opposite Isabel Leonard and David Portillo in Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia .

Barihunk lovers should be alerted that from May 8-29, 2016 at the Opernhaus Zürich, Pelléas et Mélisande will be performed with the barihunk trio of Jacques Imbrailo as Pelléas, Kyle Ketelsen as Goulaud and Eric Anttine as the Doctor.

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René Pape as King Mark and Ryan McKinny as Kurnewal
Today we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Richard Wagner's masterpiece Tristan und Isolde. The opera premiered on June 10, 1865  at the Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater in Munich.  

We were planning on doing a more comprehensive post, but due to time restraints, recommend that you listen to today's feature on WQXR

One of our favorite performances in recent years was Ryan McKinny role debut as Kurwenal in Christof Loy’s production at the Houston Grand Opera in the 2012-13 season featuring Ben Heppner and Nina Stemme as the lovers.
 
A couple performances featuring barihunks that we're looking forward to include René Pape singing König Marke in Munich from July 8-12, Kay Stiefermann as Ein Steuermann in Bayreuth from July 25-Aug 23 and Tommi Hakala as Kurnewal in Helsinki from May 14-28, 2016.


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César San Martín
Spanish barihunk César San Martín is performing Ozias in Enrique Granados' rarely performed Goyescas under the baton of Placido Domingo. The opera is being performed as part of a double-bill with Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.

The opera premiered on January 28, 1916 at the Metropolitan Opera after its scheduled debut at the Paris Opéra was prevented by World War I. Goyescas was the first opera to be performed at the Met in Spanish and was paired with Leoncavallo's Pagliacci.Goyescas is based on a series of six paintings from Francisco Goya’s early career, inspired by the stereotypical young men and women of the majismo movement. These majos and majas are known for their bohemian attitude and soft spot for finery. The opening scene is directly based on his 1791 painting "El Pelele," painted for Charles IV of Spain to hang in his textile mill, although the painting implies a satire of the monarch’s popularity.
César San Martín made his professional debut in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Real in 2008. He has performed numerous zarzuela roles with the company, as well as Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, the title role of Mozart's Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale.Performances run from June 30-July 12 and tickets and additional cast information are available online.  Listen to César San Martín sing Masino's aria from La Vera Costanza HERE

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Kostas Smoriginas
La Monnaie is offering a rare chance to see Rachmaninov's three one-act operas performed in the same evening. One can occassionally encounter two of them performed together, so this is a unique opportunity that will be available for viewing online from July 7-27.

Barihunk Kostas Smoriginas will be featured in the most famous of the three operas, Aleko. The piece was written in 1893 while Rachmaninov was still a student at the Moscow Conservatory and it became his first great success. Based on Pushkin's poem "The Gypsies" it tells the story of an outsider who has joined a band of gypsies who turns to murder when he discovers that his wife has betrayed him. The piece was greatly influenced by the music of Tchaikovsky and Borodin, as well as the operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Carmen

Kostas Smoriginas sings the cavatina from Aleko:
Performances will run from June 16-30 at the Art Deco Marivaux cinema while the main opera house is under renovation. The other two operas are Skupoj rytsar (The covetous knight) and Francesca da Rimini. The three operas are linked in that they tell the story of fate following in the footsteps of sin, whether it be a matter of jealous murder, greed or illicit passion. Tickets and additional cast information are available online.

Smoringinas will next appear on July 19th at the Royal Albert Hall in London as one of the soloists in Beethoven's Symphony No.9  with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons.


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