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Cody Quattlebaum
Bass-barihunk Cody Quattlebaum was the only low male voice to advance in the Metropolitan Opera Audition semi-finals on Sunday.

Other singers who advances were tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven, soprano Vanessa Vasquez, mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, soprano Natalie Image, soprano Kirsten MacKinnon, soprano Gabriella Reyes de Ramirez, and tenor Richard Smagur.

On March 19th, the nine finalists will perform in a concert on the Met stage. Tickets are available online. The judges will choose five winners who are awarded a grand prize of $15,000 each, and the remaining finalists will each receive $5,000.

Past winners include Thomas Hampson, Jessye Norman, Grace Bumbry, Teresa Stratas, Shirley Verrett,  Richard Stilwell, Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Stanford Olsen, Susan Graham, Eric Owens, Sondra Radvanovsky, Brian Asawa, Stephanie Blythe, Keith Phares, Lawrence Brownlee, James Valenti, Donovan Singletary, Jamie Barton, Michael Fabiano, Angela Meade, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Elliot Madore, Philippe Sly, Brandon Cedel and Heidi Grant Murphy.    

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Andrew Bogard, Hunter Enoch, Timothy J Bruno & Michael Adams (clockwise top L)
Four barihunks, who are past or present members of the Domingo - Cafritz Young Artist Program, will be featured in a semi-staged concert performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni a the Kennedy Center on Friday,  March 17, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

The featured barihunks are Michael Adams as Don Giovanni, Andrew Bogard as Leporello, Hunter Enoch as Masetto and Timothy J. Bruno as the Commendatore. Also in the cast will be Raquel González as Donna Anna, Ariana Wehr as Zerlina, Rexford Tester as Don Ottavio and 
Kerriann Otaño as Donna Elvira. The production will be directed Francesca Zambello, who is generally credited with coining the term "barihunk".

Tickets are available online.


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Jesse Blumberg & David McFerrin
Barihunks Jesse Blumberg and David McFerrin will be featured in the world premiere of composer Julian Grant and librettist Mark Campbell’s The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare. The opera will be the first full-length piece in Boston Lyric Opera's New Works series.

Set in 1820s Scotland – when the city’s famed schools of anatomy faced a severe shortage of fresh cadavers for their lectures – the opera follows William Burke, William Hare and their accomplices who discover a money-making opportunity by murdering disenfranchised citizens and selling their corpses to Dr. Robert Knox at his renowned medical academy.

The opera will be staged at the Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama, an historic building whose neoclassical Victorian style reflects the story’s 19th century time period, and whose circular interior recalls early operating theaters where observers watched medical procedures.

The cast also includes tenor William Burden and soprano Marie McLaughlin. 

The upcoming season will also include Puccini's Tosca, Kurt Weill's Three Penny Opera and Leonard Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

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Marfa magazine feature on Barihunks
Barihunks is featured in the latest issue of Marfa magazine in an article entitled "Wahre Schönheit kommt von singen" (True beauty comes from singing). The article correctly spells out the mission on the site, which is to promote low-voiced talent and to find ways for opera to compete with TV and movies. 

Barihunk Zachary Gordin's pictures are featured from our 2016 calendar.

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John Chest
Barihunk John Chest, who is currently based at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, will represent the United States at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in June. Other barihunks in the competition include bass Dominic Barberi representing England, bass Roberto Lorenzi representing Italy and calendar model Iurii Samoilov reprenting the Ukraine.

Dominic Barberi
The winner of the main prize will receive £15,000 and the Cardiff Trophy, while the Song Prize, awarded to the best singer of Lieder and art song, carries a £7,000 prize and trophy. The judges for the main competition this year are Cardiff Chairman David Pountney, mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, soprano Sumi Jo, baritone Thomas Quasthoff and conductor Anu Tali.

Roberto Lorenzi
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.
Iurii Samoilov
The Song Prize rounds will be broadcast in the BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert (June13 -16) with the song prize final live on Radio 3 In Concert (Friday, June 16) and on BBC Four presented by Petroc Trelawny and American soprano Angel Blue (Saturday, June 17).The four concerts at St David’s Hall, Cardiff will be broadcast on BBC Four (June13 - 16). The Grand Final will be broadcast live on both BBC Four and BBC Radio 3 on Sunday, June 18.

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Alex Esposito and Joyce DiDonato
Rossini's Semiramide will be live streamed from the Bavarian State Opera on Sunday, February 26th at 5 p.m CET/11 AM EST/8 AM PST. The production stars Honorary Barihunk Joyce DiDonato and barihunk  Alex Esposito along Daniela Barcellona and Lawrence Brownlee. The broadcast will be available HERE.

The new production by David Alden sets the action in a modern, generic Middle Eastern dictatorship, rather than in ancient Babylon.  Both Alex Esposito and Joyce DiDonato are making their role debuts, as Semiramide and Assur respectively. The role of Semiramide was written for Rossini's mistress Isabella Colbran, an alto with great extension. In recent years the role has been sung primarily by sopranos including Joan Sutherland, Angela Meade, Laura Aikin, Elena Mosuc. Leah Crocetto, Montserrat Caballé, June Anderson and Edita Gruberová, Perhaps the most famous Assur of our generation was Sam Ramey, who recorded the role and performed it on stage.


The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's tragedy Semiramis, which in turn was based on the legend of Semiramis of Assyria.

In the opera, Queen Semiramide is haunted by the ghosts of her past. Together with her lover Assur, she once murdered her husband King Nino; a deed which ever since has weighed heavily upon her. With her marriage to Arsace, she hopes her soul will at last find solace. Her love, however, is misplaced. Arsace not only loves another, he is also, as is later revealed, the son Semiramide and Nino believed to be dead. He is faced with a decision: should he avenge the death of his father – and thus become his mother's killer?

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Robin Adams and Allison Cook in Quartett
Barihunk Robin Adams is singing Luca Francesconi's two-person opera Quartett along with soprano Allison Cook a the Liceu Opera Barcelona. The opera is a re-reading of Heiner Müller's play based on Les liaisons dangereuses and reflects on the decadence of certain classes of society.

The libretto revolves around two ex-lovers who get caught up in a game of seduction that can only end in death. The Marquise de Merteuil challenges the Viscomte de Valmont to seduce her niece Cécile, who is a virgin, but he opts instead to lead Madame de Tourvel, a faithful wife, astray.

Francesconi’s score calls for a massive sound design, and demands two distinct orchestras – one of which is pre-recorded and electronically treated, the sound sent flying over the heads of the audiences.

The composer once said of this piece, "Don’t dare to come if you can't accept that you need to analyse what you do and who you are. This piece is violent, it’s sex, it’s blasphemy, it’s the absence of mercy. The only two characters in the opera are the definition of cynical, they have made a pact that they don’t have to love any more. Love and sentiment are banned, the only thing that’s left and that matters is a kind of chess game with people's souls and bodies. So don’t come if you have problems in your relationship, you might discover something you might not want to! But do dare to come if you can face the reality of how dried up your heart is, how little space there is in your feelings for anything that doesn’t come from being self-defensive, from being totally scared by the world. We are prisoners of our fears. That’s the real last message of this piece, that we can no longer hide our problems – and that we shouldn’t."

The opera runs through March 3rd and tickets are available online.

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Michael Kelly, who appeared in our very first Barihunks calendar, had to do a little grooming for his latest performance as an actor known for playing female characters in the 17th century. 

Set in Restoration England during the time of King Charles II,  composer Carlisle Floyd's Prince of Players follows the story of Edward Kynaston, a Shakespearean actor famous for his performances of the female roles in the Bard's plays. Samuel Pepys once called Kynaston "the loveliest lady that ever I saw in my life" and a performance of his was once delayed when he was playing the Queen, as he "was not shav'd."

In the opera, when the King grants permission for women to appear onstage, and forbids male actors from continuing to appear in female roles, Kynaston must relearn his entire craft or face the end of his career. 

Adapted from Jeffrey Hatcher’s play A Compleat Female Stage Beauty and the subsequent 2004 film Stage Beauty, the opera was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera. It received its world premiere this past March 2016 at the HGO Studio. Since the performances in Houston the composer made a few small revisions, which will be heard for the first time in this production by the little OPERA theatre of ny at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. Kelly will perform on February 23 and 25, alternating the role with Shea Owens, who performs on February 24 and 26.

On March 17th you can catch Kelly as Count Gil in Wolf-Ferrari’s one-act comic intermezzo Il segreto di Susanna with The Orchestra Now at Carnegie Hall.

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Michael Mayes as Joseph de Rocher in Dead Man Walking
We generally credit director Francesca Zambello with coining the term "barihunk," so it should come as no surprise that she's directing five of them in a new production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at the Washington National Opera from February 25-March 11.

The cast will be led by Michael Mayes, who the composer dubbed the definitive Joseph de Rocher, the accused killer at the center of the story. Mayes is making his company debut with this performance, although he's performed the role with the New Orleans Opera, Central City Opera, Tulsa Opera, San Francisco's Opera Parallèle, Madison Opera and Eugene Opera. He'll be joined by barihunks Wayne Tigges as Owen Hart, Timonty J. Bruno as George Benton, Michael Adams as the Motorcycle Cop/Prison Guard and Andrew Bogard as the other Prison Guard. Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham will sing Mrs. de Rocher and Kate Lindsay will sing Sister Helen.

Barihunks Andrew Bogard, Michael Adams and Timothy J. Bruno

Wayne Tigges
The opera is based on Sister Helen Prejean’s acclaimed 1993 memoir, which tells of her time working with death row inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary and of a particular relationship she developed with one of the inmates. The opera explores the human conflicts posed by society’s demands for vengeance and the Christian imperative for forgiveness and love.

Dead Man Walking is one of the most performed of new American operas. Since its world premiere at San Francisco Opera in 2000, it has been staged internationally in more than 40 productions on five continents; it has also received two live recordings. 

The company will also present Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s Champion starring barihunk Audrey Allicock from March 4– 18.

Both operas explore the theme of social justice which is often associated with John F. Kennedy and are presented as part of JFKC, the Kennedy Center’s season-long celebration of President Kennedy’s centennial. Using many of the same designers and scenic elements, the directors of each opera have worked collaboratively to create two distinct worlds in each new production to showcase the issues of Justice, Courage, and Freedom at the heart of these two compelling stories.

Terence Blanchard uses jazz as the basis for a cinematic and groundbreaking operatic score filled with bluesy harmonies and Afro-Caribbean beats; Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer’s libretto tells the true story of Emile Griffith, a professional boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands who threw a fatal punch in the boxing ring in 1962 after being taunted for his sexuality by his rival.

Aubrey Allicock, who created the role of the Young Emile at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in 2010, will be making his Washington National Opera debut with this performance. Singing the role of Emile’s mother, Emelda Griffith, is mezzo- soprano Denyce Graves, while tenor Victor Ryan Robertson is Emile’s rival Benny Paret, baritone Wayne Tigges is Howie Albert and contralto Meredith Arwady peforms Kathy Hagan.

Discounted ticket information for both shows is available online.

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(Clockwise top left) Will Liverman, Brian Vu, Cody Quattlebaum and Shea Owens
Four barihunks walked away with awards at the 46th annual George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

After three days of preliminary auditions, 18 were selected as finalists and a total of $75,000 was given in awards. Five were selected as winners of George London Awards of $10,000, including Will Liverman. Three singers received $5,000 awards, including Cody Quattlebaum and the remainder received $1,000 each, including Shea Owens and Brian Vu.

Barihunk Richard Stilwell in his singing days
his year's panel of judges included soprano Harolyn Blackwell, mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias, former Metropolitan Opera administrator Alfred F. Hubay, George London Foundation President Nora London, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, tenor and voice professor George Shirley, and barihunk Richard Stilwell (who won a George London Award at the first competition in 1971). The competition pianist was renowned collaborative pianist Craig Rutenberg.

Other $10,000 prize winners included tenor Aaron Blake, soprano Michelle Bradley, tenor Errin Duane Brooks and soprano Lara Secord-Haid.


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