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The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera
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Marian Anderson & Soloman Howard
Bass-barihunk Soloman Howard will join soprano Alyson Cambridge in a televised tribute to the trail-breaking singer Marian Anderson tonight on Centric (a BET network).  The show,  Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson Story,  pays homage to the singer and civil rights icon through performances, stories and archival footage. 

Marian Anderson was the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. She made history on Easter Sunday in 1939 when she sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The half  hour concert, which was made possible due to the intervention of Eleanor Roosevelt, made headlines across the country and was attended by more than 75,000 people. She had been denied the right to perform at two indoor venues because of her African-American heritage. It was the first time the Lincoln Memorial steps had been used as a place of peaceful protest.

The BET documentary tells the story of Marian Anderson’s indomitable spirit and explores her role in American History.

Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson Story, is based on Washington Performing Arts tribute concert held at the DAR Constitution Hall on April 12, 2014. Also featured are soprano Jessye Norman, pop icon Dionne Warwick, the vocal group 3WB (brothers Marvin, Carvin, and BeBe Winans), actor Malcolm-Jamal Warner, journalist Wolf Blitzer, American Idol winner Candice Glover and vocalist Annisse Murillo accompanied by a 250-voice choir.

Check your local listings for times.

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Martin Achrainer receiving the first Richard Tauber Award
The Friends of the Linz State Theatre has awarded the first "Richard Tauber Medal" to barihunk Martin Achrainer. Achrainer has been a regular member of the theater since the 2006/2007 season and has been a favorite of both audiences and management for his beautiful singing and incredible acting skills.

Regular readers of this site know that we are unabashed and enthusiastic fans of the Tyrolian singer who premiered Philip Glass's Kepler at the theatre and then reprised it in New York. He has also performed Glass' Orphée and Spuren der Verirrten.

In addition to Glass, he has been a passionate exponent of new music, including Henze, Ligeti, Kelterborn and Schwertsik. In addition to contemporary music, he has excelled in musical theater, baroque music, church music, as well as the Weill, Bernstein, Puccini, Wagner, Donizetti and especially Mozart.

Achrainer, who studied at the Max Reinhardt Seminar was heavily influenced by two of the greatest singers of the recent past, Brigitte Fassbaender and Robert Holl.

Martin Achrainer
He can currently be seen in Linz performing the roles of Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen and Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In July, he'll don Papageno's feathers again at Opern Klosterneuburg.

The award in named after the popular Linz-born tenor Richard Tauber (1891-1948), who many regard as one of the greatest exponents of operetta and opera in the 20th century. Tauber often wore a monocle and black top hat and came to epitomize Viennese charm.

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Michael Leibengut
The upcoming performances of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at Teatro La Fenice will feature barihunks Alex Esposito as Nick Shadow and Michael Leibundgut as Father Truelove.

The versatile Swiss singer Michael Leibundgut last appeared at the venerable opera house in a very different 20th century piece, when he performed in Luigi Nono's Intolleranza in 2011. Leibundgut has established himself as an artist who is willing to push boundaries, singing everything from early music to techno mixes. Earlier this year, he made his US debut in  the world premiere of Enjott Schneider’s Robert Schumann's Traumreise at Symphony Space in New York.

Alex Esposito
Esposito has established himself as a favorite of the Venetian opera crowd, performing in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, a New Year's Day concert in 2012 that was released on DVD, Wolf-Ferraris' La Vedova Scaltra, Mozart's Don Giovanni and Mozart's La finta semplice.

Performances of The Rake's Progress are on June 27 and 29, July 1, 3 and 5 and 16. Visit the Teatro La Fenice website for tickets and additional information.

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Wes Mason (photo: Michael Cinquino)
Kentucky is playing a major role in the two upcoming performances of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire. We realized the popularity of the piece when we posted pictures of the LA Opera's production featuring Ryan McKinny as Stanley Kowalski and Renee Fleming as Blanche DuBois. Of course, the shirtless pictures of Ryan McKinny probably helped drive the spike in views that we saw to the site.

Wes Mason (Photos: DonSoo Choi and Doug Wonder)
The first Blue Grass State connection is obvious, as the Kentucky Opera has announced two performances of the popular American opera on February 13 and 15 of next year. Stanley will be played by one of the most compelling young artists to hit the scene in recent years, Wes Mason. Mason, who is familiar to readers of this site (yes, that's him in the sidebar modeling for our official photographer), can command a stage like few others in the business. People are still talking about his tour de force performance as Reinaldo Arenas in the 2010 world premiere of Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls with the Fort Worth Opera.

This will be his debut in the role and we suspect that he'll give past Stanley's a run for their money in the beefcake department. In addition to before night falls, we've seen the pulchritudinous singer show some skin in Handels' Giulio Cesare at the Roanoke Opera and Bizet's La Tragédie de Carmen at the Syracuse Opera.

We'll have more news about the Kentucky Opera's upcoming season, which also includes Beethoven's Fidelio, Daron Hagen's Postcard from Morocco and Puccini's La fanciulla del West. Visit their website for additional information.

Thomas Gunther in Dead Man Walking
The other connection to Kentucky is Thomas Gunther, who studied at the University of Kentucky and lives in Lexington. He's no stranger to barihunk roles, having performed Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen, Le mari in Poulenc's Le Mamelles de Tirésias and Joseph DeRocher in Heggie's Dead Man Walking.

Gunther is part of the prestigious Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, where the original work was premiered on September 19, 1998 with Renée Fleming and barihunk Rod Gilfry as Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. Remarkably, this is the first revival of the opera in San Francisco since its premiere.

The Merola production will use a version for reduced orchestra prepared by Peter Grunberg and conducted by Mark Morash. The staging will be by director José Maria Condemi. The opera will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 10, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 12.

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Peter Brathwaite (far left) and Nick Garrett (right) with Susannah Glanville
Back in March we posted about the production of Puccini's La fanciulla del West at Opera Holland Park featuring two barihunks who have been featured on this site, Peter Brathwaite as Sid and Nick Garrett as Sonora. The opera opened on June 3rd to great acclaim and runs through June 21. The company has updated the production from the California Gold Rush to the atomic testing grounds of 1950s Nevada.

Brathwaites's most recent engagements have included numerous world premieres. He made his Dutch mainstage debut last season at Amsterdam's Stadsschouwburg as Luis in Randal Corsen's KATIBU DI SHON, a role which he will reprise in the Netherlands and on tour to Curaçao. He began the 2013-14 season singing the role of Emanuel in the award-winning operatic adaptation of Marina Lewycka's novel Two Caravans, a portrayal which earned him critical acclaim.

On November 27th, Brathwaite will join accompanist Nigel Foster at the London Song Festival performing "Entartete Musik/Degenerate Music,"  a one-man show about music decried as "degenerate" by the Nazis. The performance will be at the Rosslyn Hill Chapel.

Peter Brathwaite and the Fanciulla ensemble
Nick Garrett is an English bass-baritone. He was a member of the vocal ensemble, The Swingle Singers and the opera band Amici Forever. Garrett was born in London and taught himself to play the piano at age seven. He studied singing, composition, piano and conducting at Trinity College of Music, with further study in singing supported by a grant from the Wolfson Foundation. He then joined The Swingle Singers and toured with them internationally.

After leaving The Swingle Singers, he performed in some of the world's leading opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, the English National Opera, the Scottish Opera and the Opéra National de Paris. He has performed over forty major roles, including the Don Giovanni, Figaro, Colline and Scarpia.

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We're giving away 10 sets of tickets to our New York City-area readers. The winner will send us either A) A singer that we haven't featured on the site that is worthy of Barihunk status, or B) A top for a story or feature on the site.

The winners will receive 2 tickets to see "Met Duet: Anna Bolena and Maria Stuarda" on Sunday, June 22. It is a double encore Met: Live in HD screening that features Anna Netrebko (in Anna Bolena) and Joyce DiDonato (in Maria Stuarda) with in-person introductions to each opera by Deborah Voigt and a CD signing with Voigt.

Send your suggestions to Barihunks@gmail.com

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Ian Beadle (right)
Kevin Puts' Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night is getting its long-awaited European debut at the Wexford Opera Festival from October 24-November 2. The cast is a mix of Europeans and Americans, with two singers who have been featured on this site, Matthew Worth as Lieutenant Audebart and Quirijn de Lang as the lovable Poncel. There are also a few singers in the cast new to this site. 

Ian Beadle, a graduate from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, performs William Dale on the Scottish side of the war. He recently finished a year in the English National Opera’s Opera Works program and performed as part of The Big Barber Bash at the London Coliseum.

His operatic roles have includes Belcore in Donizetti's Elisir d’amore at the Wexford Festival Opera, the Imperial Commissioner in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at Opera Holland Park, Crébillon in Puccini's La Rondine at Go Opera, Leporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni with Sinfonia D’amici, Guccio in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at Opera Holland Park and Morales in Bizet's Carmen with Co-Opera Co.

Jamie Rock
Irish baritone Jamie Rock sings the role of Gueusselin on the French side of the war. He has performed the roles of Figaro in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, Sid in Britten's Albert Herring, Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Schaunard in Puccini's La Boheme, Dancaire in Bizet's Carmen, Tarquinius in Britten's Rape of Lucretia and General Belliard in the world premiere of the original version of Prokofiev's epic masterpiece War and Peace. He has performed with the Wexford Festival Opera, Opera Theatre Company, Opera Ireland, Opera North, Grange Park Opera, Opera de Bauge and British Youth Opera.

He is also a member of the vocal ensemble Quartet. The group, under the patronage of Malcolm Martineau, is made up of graduates from the Alexander Gibson Opera School who draw on years of conservatoire training to explore a range of music and look for new ways of presenting the vocal repertoire.

Jamie began his studies at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and continued his studies at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama . He is an alumnus of the OTC Young Artist Programme (Dublin), Wexford Festival Opera Young Artist Programme, Leeds Lieder+ Young Artists, Oxford Lieder Young Artists and Josephine Baker Trust. 

Tickets are available online.

Daniel Okulitch (left) and Joseph Lattanzi (right)
Silent Night, which has been performed to great acclaim in Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Fort Worth, now heads to the Cincinnati Opera and north of the border for its Canadian debut.

The Cincinnati cast includes many singers familiar to the piece, including the powerful voice of Craig Irvin as Lt. Horstmayer, Gabriel Preisser as Lt. Gordon and Andrew Wilkowske as Ponchel. New to the cast are Joseph Lattanzi as Gueusselin and Phillip Addis as Lt. Audebert. There are only two performances of the opera on July 10 and July 12. Tickets are available online.

Addis also will be performing Lt. Audebert in the Canadian premiere from May 16-23 at the Opéra de Montréal. The cast includes a barihunk favorite in the Lieutenant Horstmayer of Canadian Daniel Okulitch. Tickets go on sale in August 2014, so mark your calendars.
GueusselinGueusselin and Phil

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Sasha Waltz's Dido & Aeneas (left) & Douglas Williams
Choreographer Sasha Waltz is bringing her provocative and entertaining work back to opera when she takes on Monteverdi's Orfeo with the Dutch National Opera. Waltz had great success with Purcell's Dido & Aeneas in 2005 and 2011 with her brilliant combination of dancers and opera singers.

Orfeo promises to have a lot of singing and dancing and the cast is lead by one of the most popular barihunks on our site, Douglas Williams. Williams has made a specialty of baroque music, singing   Orcone in Alessandro Scarlatti’s Tigrane, Purcell's Apollo e Dafne, Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Polyphemus in Handel’s Acis and Galatea and  Purcell’s King Arthur.

We can't imagine a singer better suited to a Sasha Waltz production. Performances are on September 3, 5 and 6 and tickets are available online.

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Elliot Mador, Brandon Cedel and Edwin Crossley-Mercer
If you followed any of the press around Tara Eraught's treatment by British reviewers concerning her appearance as the Octavian in Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier at Glyndebourne, you can rest assured that no such criticism will be hurled at director Jonathan Kent’s updated production of Mozart's Don Giovanni. The company has assembled an ensemble of great singers who also look like they were cast for a Baz Luhrmann blockbuster Hollywood film.


Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Elliot Madore (photo: Robert Workman)
In the title role is the rising Canadian star barihunk Elliot Madore, who is joined by Edwin Crossley-Mercer as Leporello and Brandon Cedel as Masetto. Madore returns to Glyndebourne after his successful 2012 Festival debut in Ravel's L’heure espagnole. Madore joins a distinguished roster of Don's that dates back to the legendary performances of John Brownlee in the 1930s and includes Giuseppe Valdengo, Kim Borg, Enest Blanc, Ruggero Raimondi, Benjamin Luxon, Brent Ellis, Sir Thomas Allen, Richard Stilwell, Olaf Bar and Gerald Finley.

The current cast also includes the sensational young British tenor Ben Johnson as Don Ottavio,  Canadian soprano Layla Claire reprising her 2012 appearance as Donna Anna, Italian soprano Serena Farnocchia as Donna Elvira, Lenka Máciková as Zerlina and Andrés Orozco-Estrada making his Glyndebourne debut conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lenka Máciková, Elliot Madore and Brandon Cedel
If you can't make the performance, you can watch their 2010 production featuring Gerald Finley as Don Giovanni, Luca Pisaroni as Leporello and Guido Loconsolo as Masetto on July 6th. Later today, you can watch the aforementioned production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier live from Glyndebourne, starring Kate Royal, Teodora Gheorghiu and Tara Erraught, and conducted by Robin Ticciati. The broadcast begins on Sunday June 8 at 4.30pm GST/11:30am EST/8:30am PST. Click HERE to watch.

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James McOran-Campbell and Nicolas Dwyer
Barihunks James McOran-Campbell and Nicolas Dwyer will be part of the first cast to ever perform a professional opera at the 12th century Great Barn at Manor Farm in the U.K. A touring company from Opera Vera will perform Mozart's Don Giovanni on June 28 and 29

The production comes from the Actor's Church at Covent Garden where it was performed to great acclaim in November 2013. McOran-Campbell will take on the title role and Dwyer will play Masetto. 


Manor Farm has been described as a mini-Glyndebourne and patrons are encouraged to pack a picnic and enjoy refreshments on the grounds before the opera. The bar will open an hour before the 7 PM performance.
The remainder of the cast includes Susan Jiwey, Stefanie Kemball-Read, Peter Brooke, Rebecca Dale, Alexander Anderson-Hall and Will Kwiatkowski, Further information about the production or to purchase tickets, visit the Compass Theatre online.  

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