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The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera
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Aaron Sørensen
We've just learned that Barihunks calendar model Aaron Sørensen will be joining the cast of  Monteverdi’s Ulysses at West Edge Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's replacing Christopher Filipowicz in the roles of Antinoo and Neptune.

The opera 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.

The company is also presenting Laura Kaminsky's As One with popular barihunk Dan Kempson opposite soprano Brenda Patterson, as well as Alban Berg’s Lulu with Zachary Altman. 

Tickets and additional cast information is available online

For those who missed it in Baltimore and Houston, Sørensen will reprise his acclaimed Osmin in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Huntsville Symphony on January 23rd.

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Marco Vassalli
The Eutiner Festspiele has been presenting outdoor concerts on the old ducal palace gardens of East Holstein town of Eutin since 1951.  Each year about 40,000 spectators come to listen to complete operas and concerts, which concludes with a gala concert that includes fireworks.

Eutin is the birthplace of composer Carl Maria von Weber. To honor him, the open-air theater (Freilichtbühne) was built in the park of Eutin Castle and operas are performed there. This year's operas are Verdi's Aida and Carl Zeller's Der Vogelhändler.

Included in this year's lineup is German barihunk Marco Vassalli, who just wrapped up his calendar photo shoot for us in France. We thought that we'd use this as an opportunity to share some of the pictures that won't be in the Barihunks calendar, but worthy of sharing. Despite his Italian surname, Vassalli was born and raised in Lake Constance (Bodensee) in Germany and studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne.

This year's Eutiner Festspiele gala will include music by Johann Strauß and Franz Léhar. Vassali will be joined mezzo Milana Butaeva, tenor Vincent Schirrmacher and fellow baritone Uwe Schenker-Primus. The concert is on August 21 and 22 and tickets are available online. This Fall, he heads to the Staatsoper Hannover to peform four roles in Bernstain's Candide.

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Gianluca Margheri
We recently posted a sexy photo of Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri and people were clammering for more photos. So in the Barihunks tradition, here are some additional pictures from the show. The performances were with the Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese in Sicily. We figure that these don't require much commentary...so enjoy.

Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri
Gianluca Margheri
Margheri now returns to Giulianova, Italy to perform with La Rocca Barocca, where he sang Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in 2014, Vivaldi's La Senna festeggiante in 2013 and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in 2012. This season he'll perform in Handel's Apollo e Dafne on August 13th.

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Oscar Hammerstein II in college
Oscar Hammerstein II was born in New York City on July 12, 1895, to a family who worked in theater. His father, William, managed a vaudeville theater, while his grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein I, was a famed opera impresario. 
In 1920, he collaborated with a Columbia undergrad named Richard Rodgers in writing a Varsity Show called Fly with Me. Not long after, Hammerstein dropped out of grad school at Columbia to concentrate his efforts entirely on musical theater. While writing Rose Marie with Otto Harbach, Hammerstein met Jerome Kern. In 1925 the duo teamed up to write Show Boat. The successful musical put Hammerstein on the map as a writer and lyricist. Kern and Hammerstein went on to write a total of eight musicals together.
Kelli O'Hara and Paulo Szot perform "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific:
He  eventually dissolved his partnership with Jerome Kern to partner up exclusively with that former Columbia undergrad, Richard Rodgers. The Rodgers and Hammerstein team quickly produced a smash hit: In 1943, their first Broadway musical together, Oklahoma!, won a Pulitzer Prize.
In 1950 the duo scored a second Pulitzer with the musical South Pacific. The 1950s and early 1960s produced a string of Tony-winning works for the team, including The King and I (1951) and The Sound of Music (1960).
Sir Thomas Allen sings Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Oh, what a beautiful morning!' from 'Oklahoma' at the Last Night of the Proms 2004.
Lucas Meachem sings "Soliloquy" from Carousel

A number of great songs that have been performed by baritones and bass-baritones were penned by Hammerstein including, A Fellow Needs A Girl (Allegro), Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (Cinderella), Edelweiss (The Sound Of Music), I Have Dreamed (The King And I), If I Loved You (Carousel), Lonely Room (Oklahoma!), Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin' (Oklahoma!), Soliloquy (Carousel), Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific), Ten Minutes Ago (Cinderella), The Highest Judge Of All (Carousel), The Surrey With The Fringe On Top (Oklahoma!), This Nearly Was Mine (South Pacific) and You Are Never Away (Allegro).

While still in his professional prime, Oscar Hammerstein II lost his battle with stomach cancer on August 23, 1960. He died at his house in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. In Hammerstein's memory the lights on Broadway were turned off at 9 pm that September 1. 


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Vox members Kevin Blickfeldt and David Castillo (left)
Two barihunks who have been featured on our site are now part of Vox, the newest "boy band" to hit the airwaves. The twist is that they're all classically-trained opera singers. Baritones David Castillo,  Kevin Blickfeldt and DeMar Neal, along with tenor Arnold Geis. Castillo and Blickeldt are the Barihunks almuni. They are competing on NBC's “America’s Got Talent” and advanced past the audition round with a rousing rendition of Puccini's Nessun Dorma. The winner of the competition gets a $1 million prize.


In the five years since graduation, Castillo has performed Los Angeles Opera, New Orleans Opera, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Aspen Opera Theatre, Le Salon de Musiques, The Industry, USC Thornton Opera, and other major opera companies and orchestras. This season he's performing in two world premieres: one with The Industry in HOPSCOTCH and another in a work by Jeffrey Parola. He makes his European debut performing Winterreise with Francois Chouchan at the Mairie du Troisieme Arrondissement in Paris an next year performs Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd with Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera directed by John De Los Santos.

America's Got Talent judge Howie Mandel comments on Vox
Kevin Blickfeldt is on the faculty of the 88 Keys Music Academy and performs in opera, musical theatre, oratorio, recital,  and concert works. Recent performance credits include El General in La Curandera, Maximilian in Candide with Opera Pasadena, and The Prodigal Son with LA Opera’s Britten 100/LA festival.  In 2011, Kevin won the Citadelle Aard at the 6th annual Alltech Voice Competition in Kentucky. For three seasons, Blickfeldt was an artist in residence at the Ohio Light Opera. Many of the productions he performed in were made into cast recordings on the Albany label, where he can be heard as a soloist. Kevin earned his doctorate degree from the University of Southern California.

DeMar Austin Neal IV is a graduate of Florida State University, the Boston Conservatory, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Neal has appeared as a soloist with symphonies and in festivals throughout North Carolina and abroad, including both the Raleigh and North Carolina symphonies and in the Tiber Sinfonia Festival in Monterchi, Italy. He was also seen as a featured soloist at the 2010 Robert Schumann Bicentennial Festival at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, as well as at their 2012 Debussy Sesquicentennial Festival.

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It's amazing to think that was in July 1946 that the Glyndebourne Festival first performed Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. The opera was not particularly well received by audiences or critics at the time, but the chamber opera has grown in popularity in recent years, with Glyndebourne bringing it back just two years after they performed it for the Benjamin Britten centenary.

With England all in a twist about a rape scene and some nudity at the Royal Opera House's production of Rossini's William Tell, it's probably good that they brought back director Fiona Shaw’s  non-sensational, straightforward production. Of course, we love the opera for it's trio of low voices and Glyndebourne has brought in three of the best. Barihunk Duncan Rock is back as Tarquinius with Matthew Rose as Collatinus and Michael Sumuel as Junius. Richard Fairman in the Financial Times described Duncan Rock's Tarquinius as "Schwarzenegger-like."

There are additional performances on July 17, 24 and 30, and August 4, 9, 14 and 19. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

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What better day to introduce Finnish barihunk Aarne Pelkonen than on his birthday (July 11th). The winner of the 2015 Sibelius Singing Competition studied at the Sibelius Academy. He also is a 1st Prize winner for male voice at the Lappeenranta National Singing Competition in 2013. Together with pianist Juho Alakärppä he was a prizewinner in Das Lied – International Song Competition in Berlin in 2011 and at the International Student Lied-Duo Competition in Enschede in the Netherlands.

Aarne Pelkonen sings Tule kanssani, Herra Jeesus:
Pelkonen is an avid lied and oratorio singer who has performed at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival, Helsinki Music Centre, Vienna Musikverein, International Kaija Saariaho Festival in Helsinki, Oulu Music Festival, and with the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, Finnish Baroque orchestra and Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Pelkonen’s recordings include Brahms’ songs for the Finnish Broadcast.

Aarne Pelkonen has joined the Oldenburg Opera in Germany through 2017, where he will perform Elviro in Handel's Serse, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and San in Trouble in Tahiti. In August he'll join Karita Mattila and Florian Boesch in the cast of Berg's Wozzeck at the Helsinki Music Center with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

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Jeff Williams (right & left center) and Spencer Adamson (far left & far right)

We finally got Jeff Williams to model his Barihunk t-shirt in anticipation of his upcoming performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at the Young Victorian Theatre Company in Baltimore.  Williams, who is singing the Pirate King grabbed some photos with castmate Spencer Adamson, who is singing Samuel.  The show opens Saturday July 11th and if you use the promo code July11 for opening night, you'll receive 30% off of your tickets.

You can watch Jeff Williams singing the Pirate King Song ("I am a pirate king") on Baltimore's CBS affiliate WJZ.
The Young Victorian Theatre Company has been producing shows in Baltimore for 45years and it's the city's longest-running summer musical theater. They are dedicated to performing the works of Gilbert & Sullivan and they attract some of best in young musical talent from across the country.

Jeff Williams is a former Nashville Opera Mary Ragland Young Artist and a Seagle Music Colony Young Artist. He has also been associated with the John Duffy Composers Institute and Virginia Arts Festival in Norfolk, Virginia for many years premiering operatic works of living operatic composers. Williams appears on Albany Records in Thomas Sleeper's series of operas, Einstein's Inconsistency, and Michael Dellaira's The Death of Webern to be released later this year. Upcoming engagements include the premiere of George Mabry's Voices, the Mandarin in Turandot with Nashville Opera, performances of Evan Mack's Angel of the Amazon and Roscoe, the premiere of Jeffrey Wood's Different Bodies with the Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and Brahms: Biography in Music with LyricFest.
Jeff Williams as the Pirate King (left) and in recital
Spencer Adamson hold a Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College, with graduate work at Indiana University, Bloomington. He has performed the roles of Tonio in Pagliacci and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with HUB Opera Ensemble in Hagerstown, Maryland. performs in outreach programs with Baltimore Lyric Opera bringing opera to Baltimore's elementary schools.

Additional performances are on July 12, 16, 18 and 19. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

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Gianluca Margheri in Luglio Musicale Trapanese's "Don Giovanni" and giving and interview
Italian barihunk Gianluca Margheri has quickly established himself as one of the most seductive and sexy Don Giovanni's on the operatic stage today.  Readers may recall his searingly hot Don at Zomeropera, which we covered, as well as his performances with the Hungarian State Opera. He just wrapped up two more performances with the Ente Luglio Musicale Trapanese that were met with great critical acclaim and audience enthusiasm. Once again, he was asked by the director to show off his amazing chest, which certainly makes one believe that he had 640 conquests in Italy, 231 in Germany, a 100 in France, 91 in Turkey, and 1,003 in Spain.

Gianluca Margheri sings "Deh vieni alla finestra" with Zomeropera:
He now returns to Giulianova, Italy to perform with La Rocca Barocca, where he sang Handel's Aci, Galatea e Polifemo in 2014, Vivaldi's La Senna festeggiante in 2013 and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in 2012. This season he'll perform in Handel's Apollo e Dafne on August 13th.

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Igor Durlovski
Macedonian bass-barihunk Igor Durlovski performed Ancieto in Niccolò Jommelli's rarely produced opera Il Vologeso, Queen of Armenia last year at Staatstheater Stuttgart. The performance marked the 300th anniversary of the Italian composer. The plot of the 1766 opera concerns King Vologeso, who is deposed by Lucio Vero  and restored by another Roman, Flavio.

Niccolò Jommelli composed religious works and operas. In 1753, at the height of his fame, he was choirmaster at the ducal court of Württemberg in Ludwigsburg and commissioned to compose two operas a year.

Durlovski graduated from the Faculty of Music at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje and  made his professional debut in 1999. From 2000 to 2002, he sang with the Macedonian Opera in numerous productions, including Lucia di Lammermoor, Il trovatore, Don Giovanni, Turandot, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La forza del destino, Rigoletto, and Aida. He made his international debut at the Wiener Kammeroper in 2001 as Nonacourt in Nino Rota's Il cappello di paglia di Firenze. Since the 2009-10 he has appeared regularly at the Staatstheater Kassel.  

You can watch HERE

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