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The Sexiest Baritone Hunks from Opera
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Jake Duika showing off his guns
Barihunk Jason Duika looks like he's squeezing in some gym time along with his vocal coaching during his five months with the Benenson Young Artist Program.

He recently reprised the drinking song "Ò vin, dissipe la tristesse" from Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet at the Yale medical schools conference on "Music and Tourettes."

This season with Palm Beach Opera he performed Dancairo in Bizet's Carmen with Zachary Nelson as Escamillo and Tobias Greenhalgh as Moralés under the direction of John De Los Santos. He also performed Dr. Malatesta in the family performance of Donizetti's Don Pasquale. From March 18-20 he'll be singing the Wigmaker and covering Harlekin in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos. Then on March 29, he'll wrap up his time with Palm Beach Opera performing French and German lieder in their Liederabend. Tickets for both remaining shows are available online

On April 9 and 10, he will return to his alma mater, Alma College in Michigan to sing the title role of Saul in Handel's oratorio along with countertenor Bryan DeSilva and tenor Wilson Nichols.

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Matthew Patrick Morris
Barihunk Matthew Patrick Morris will be one of the singers in the upcoming program of Benjamin Britten songs at the Brooklyn Art Song Society on March 17th.

The program will include the composer's On This Island, Op. 11, The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35, Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, Op. 74 and Cabaret Songs. The other performers include soprano Laura Strickling, mezzo-soprano Samantha Malk, tenor Joseph Gaines and Michael Brofman and Spencer Myer on piano.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau sings the Songs and Proverbs of William Blake:
Morris will perform the William Blake songs, which were composed in 1965 and premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. The works were written to showcase Fischer-Dieskau's unique blend of intense lyricism and dramatic characterization. Although best known for writing for his partner tenor Peter Pears, Britten wrote a number of great baritone roles in opera, including major roles in Billy Budd, Owen Wingrave, The Rape of Lucretia, Peter Grimes and Death in Venice.

The concert will be held at the Brooklyn Historical Society in downtown Brooklyn. Tickets are available online

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James Quilligan in Marriage of Kim K
Off the Page Productions is a vastly revised and updated version of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro dubbed The Marriage of Kim K, which needless to say, refers to reality TV star Kim Kardashian. Before purists get too upset, the entire venture is tongue in cheek and even the marketing campaign pokes fun at the entire endeavor (you can watch Episode 1 below and more on YouTube).

The piece stars Gabriella Noble as Kim Kardashian, Jack Trzcinski as Figaro, James Quilligan (who has been featured on this site) as former NBA player Kris Humphries and briefly Kim K's husband, Ell Potter as the Countess, Jono Hobbs as the Count, Amelia Gabriel as Beth and John Paul as Mo. 

The Marriage of Kim K tells four stories at once, each revolving around a marriage: The story of the Count and Countess from the original; the story of the breakdown of Kim Kardashian’s first marriage to Kris Humphries (which lasted 72 DAYS): the story of thr couple Mo and Beth who enjoy watching all of this on TVl and, the story of Figaro himself, a young vlogger, whose makes his own marital decisions based on these stories.

James Quilligan and Gabriella Noble
The librettist of Kim K is the Oxford-based poet and librettist Leo Mercer, who penned the libretto for The Prophetess at the Keble O'Reilly Theatre, a retelling of Henry Purcell’s baroque opera Dioclesian. Mercer is the President of the Oxford University Poetry Society and in 2014 took 2nd Prize at both the BBC Proms Poetry Competition and the Poetry Book Society Student Competition.

Episode 1 of the Kim K marketing campaign: 


Jack Trzcinski sings "Superficial" from The Marriage of Kim K
The performances are at the Keble O'Reilly Theatre at Oxford, and they have performances remaining on March 3rd at 7:30 PM, March 4 at 7:30 PM, and a matinee and evening performance on March 5th. Tickets can be booked here.

  

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Michael Adams sporting his barihunk tee shirt and as Melisso in Alcina
American barihunk Michael Adams, who is now a member of the ensemble at the Deutsche Oper Berlin where he'll be appearing in Verdi's Rigoletto and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.

He just wrapped up singing Melisso in a new production of Handel's Alcina at the Grand Théâtre de Genève with an all-star cast that included Nicole Cabell in the title role,  Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani as Oronte,  Monica Bacelli as Ruggiero, Siobhan Stagg as Morgana and Kristina Hammarström as Bradamante. The performance was taped and is available online HERE.     

Adams joined the Deutsche Oper after completing two years as a Resident Arts at the Academy of Vocal Arts, where he performed Valentin in Gounod's Faust, Guglielmo in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Lescaut in Massenet's Manon, Tomsky in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame, Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème, Taddeo in Rossini's L’italiana in Algeri, and the Marquis in Verdi's La traviata.

He took 1st Prize at the 2015 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition, and the Mario Lanza Competition and was a Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions semi-finalist.

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Mattia Olivieri and Richard Rittelmann
It seems appropriate on Rossini's birthday that we post these pictures of the barihunk duo of Mattia Olivieri as Figaro and Richard Rittelmann as Fiorello in Opéra Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Nice Côte d’Azur.

The cast also includes Rossini specialist Daniele Zanfardino as Almaviva, Georgian mezzo Ketevan Kemoklidze as Rosina and Marco Vinco as Basilio. There is one performance remaining on March 1st.

Mattia Olivieri and Richard Rittelmann in The Barber of Seville
Upcoming performances for Olivieri include Marcello in Puccini's La bohème in São Paulo, a June recital in Bari, Italy and Ping in Puccini's Turandot at the Bregenz Festival this summer.

Rittelmann will be performing the Fauré in six French cities between March 16-29, Johann Strauss' Der Zigeunerbaron in Turin, Berlioz's Les Troyens in concert with Honorary Barihunk Joyce Di Donato and tenor Bryan Hymel (which will be recorded by Warner Classics) and Puccini's La bohème with San Francisco's Golden Gate Opera in May.

Mattia Olivieri as Figaro
Rossini was born on February 29, 1792. Until his retirement in 1829, Rossini was the most popular opera composer in history. He is best known for The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, William Tell, Moïse et Pharaon (Moses), Semiramide, Il viaggio a Reims, Il turco in Italia, Tancredi, Maometto II (Le siège de Corinthe) and Le comte Ory. His overtures are frequently played by symphony orchestras.

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Florian Plock as Ennis del Mar and Mark Omvlee as Jack Twist
American composer Charles Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain continues to get European performances, while awaiting its US premiere. The latest production in at the Salzburger Landestheater with Florian Plock as Ennis del Mar and Mark Omvlee as his lover Jack Twist. The piece was originally commissioned by Gerard Mortier for the New York City Opera before its demise. Mortier then had the piece premiered at the Teatro Real of Madrid on January 28, 2014.

The piece was subsequently performed in Aachen, Germany on December 7, 2014 in a new production directed by Ludger Englels, featuring German bass-barihunk Christian Tschelebiew as Ennis Del Mar and Dutch tenor Mark Omvlee as Jack Twist. In the world premiere, Ennis Del Mar was performed by Daniel Okulitch and Jack Twist by Tom Randle.

The Salzburger Landestheater production will premiere a new chamber version by the composer for 24 instruments and will be directed by Jacopo Spirei, and conducted by Adrian Kelly.

Wuorinen used Schoenberg's half-sung, half-spoken Sprechstimme as a way for the character of Ennis to express himself in the early part of the opera. He does not develop sung lines until the second act, as before that he cannot acknowledge who he really is. He associates the two leads with different musical pitches, "B-natural and C-sharp, a whole step apart, yet divided by a third tonal area associated with the mountain itself, based on a low C."

There are six more performances between now and April 21 and tickets are available online.

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Edwin Crossley-Mercer in Pénélope
You can watch barihunk Edwin Crossley-Mercer as Eurymaque in Fauré;s Pénélope from the Opéra national du Rhin until April 21st by clicking HERE. The performance includes honorary barihunk Anna Caterina Antonacci in the title role.
 
The opera was featured along with Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring at the opening of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in March 1913. The opera is based on Homer's Odyssey and tells the story of Pénélope who has been waiting twenty years for the return of her husband Odysseus, the King of Ithaca. Meanwhile, many suitors emerged who she promised to marry when she has finished weaving a shroud for her father Laertes.

Mark Van Arsdale and Edwin Crossley-Mercer

A silent, but sexy figure in Olivier Py's Pénélope
The role of Pénélope was originally written for the soprano Lucienne Bréval, who triumphed in the roles of Brünnhilde, Kundry and Griselda. Fauré's score is often reminiscent of both Wagner and Debussy and is filled with exotic, poetic motifs of desire.

This production is directed by Olivier Py with sets by Pierre-André Weitz in a realistic yet dreamlike interpretation. 

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Justin Hopkins
On April 4th, bass-barihunk Justin Hopkins will perform the New York Premiere of Nolan Gasser's Repast and the World Premiere of James Matheson's Windows in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall. Accompanied by Bruce Livingston, he'll also perform songs by Philip Glass and Franz Schubert. Tickets are available online.

Gasser's Repast is an oratorio based on the life of the Mississippi civil rights figure Booker Wright with a libretto by PEN/Faulkner Award-winner Kevin Young. Booker Wright was a black waiter at Lusco’s, an all-white restaurant in Greenwood, Mississippi, who heroically spoke truth to power during a 1965 interview with NBC News. The oratorio tells his story of struggle and hope for the future during the height of the Civil Rights movement.

Watch Nolan Gasser's Repast in its entirety with Justin Hopkins:
After the two premieres, he flies to the opposite coast for a more traditional program of works by Brahms, Handel, Verdi, Rachmaninoff and African-American art songs and spirituals. The April 9th performance will be at the Berkeley Piano Club and tickets are available online.

From May 14-22 he'll return to the opera stage to perform the East-coast premier of Franco Faccio's Amleto at Opera Delaware.


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Nathan Rodriguez
We found out about barihunk Nathan Rodriguez on Twitter when his friend hunkentenor Michael Merullo posted a picture of the two them with the message "#littlewomen rehearsal with my favorite #barihunk @n-rod1." Of course, we had to check it out and discovered another amazing bari-chunk to bari-hunk transformation. He lost over 40 pounds and went from a 36' waist to a 31" waist. Most importantly, he addressed some potentially serious health issues. We think he turned out pretty damn sexy! You'll want to read our interview with him about his transformation.

Besties: Michael Merullo and Nathan Rodriguez
1. You're new to Barihunks, so tell us a little bit about your background.
I was born, raised and went to school in Connecticut. I moved to Boston a couple years ago to start grad school at a conservatory, but decided to hold off and do my own thing. I wanted to take advantage of performance opportunities in the city while working to support myself and trying to avoid adding a mountain of debt. It has been a very friendly place and I have a bunch of upcoming engagements, including John Brooke in MetroWest Opera’s production of Little Women, The Miller in OperaHub’s touring production of El Gato con Botas, and Mr. Lundquist in Nextdoor Theater’s production of Little Night Music. I’m excited for the next audition season and learning new roles in both opera and musical theater.

Barihunk Nathan Rodriguez & Hunkentenor Michael Merullo
2. We found about you because your friend tenor Michael Merullo tweeted about you with #barihunk. Did you know that he was going to do that?
Michael is a very talented, young tenor and a close friend. I met him through singing here in Boston. He’s super supportive and has really encouraged me in my singing and fitness endeavors. He's even trained with me for running races. I knew he was taking a selfie in rehearsal, but didn’t know about the hashtag. We’ve always joked about my #pathtobarihunk but I didn’t think it would actually happen. He called me at 1am one night and said “Dude, Barihunks just reached out to me on Twitter about you, it’s real!” I hung up thinking he was kidding and it was way past my bedtime.

3. What got you interested in singing and where are you with your studies/career?
I was always musically inclined. I sang in choirs, performed in musicals, and played viola for years. I was initially going to start a musical theater program for undergrad but decided to go to my state school that had a classical music program. “Not interested,” I thought. I majored my first year in Romance Languages and International Affairs. A friend in the music program convinced me to audition for voice since I’d be singing in the languages I was learning and so that I could receive more scholarships. The school also had an alliance with the Met and we attended shows frequently. After getting into the program and going to the Met for the first time, I was hooked.

Now I sing in the Boston area and have had some awesome opportunities here, particularly working with an incredible up-and-coming conductor, Lidiya Yankovskaya. Next season, I’ll be taking the YAP plunge and auditioning alongside all the other super talented, young opera singers. See ya then Opera America, fingers crossed.
Nathan Rodriguez: Before & After
 4. Tell us about your process from being overweight to getting in shape. How did being overweight effect your self-esteem, confidence and self-image?
I had many weight fluctuations post college. I had always tried to be somewhat active, but was very inconsistent. I let my schedule dictate my level of fitness. The busier I was, the less I exercised or focused on what I ate.

I also had a heart condition that reached a peak last year. I wasn’t allowed to exert myself for over 8 months while doctors figured it out and came up with a game plan. I gained weight, lost stamina, and was even having trouble singing. Being 205lbs at only 5’7” was a definite low point for me. I looked in the mirror and wondered how I’d be considered for roles in my voice type (e.g. the strapping brother, the handsome soldier, the sly best friend) if I wasn’t convinced myself, physically or in terms of vocal confidence. After recovering from multiple cardiac ablations that thankfully fixed my issues without having to implant a defibrillator, my cardiologist gave me the “all clear” to get physical again (like Olivia Newton-John). I had NO EXCUSES.

I sought an online trainer who provided a nutrition and workout plan, a 12-week program of lifting, cardio, and meal prep. It was up to me to execute it. Over the summer, I lost 25lbs, but more importantly 12% body fat. I was becoming leaner with more muscle. I took up running again and trained for a half-marathon, finishing in less than 2 hours, which felt fantastic. A friend of mine also introduced me to yoga, which has made a huge impact. With all that I lost almost 40lbs over 6 months. I went from a size 36 waist to a 31. Now, I feel great and ready to tackle new projects with confidence.
Nathan Rodriguez finishing a half marathon
5. What is your workout routine and do you workout with someone?
Now, I do a combination of everything. I lift and do more full-body workouts. I run when the weather is nice out. I do yoga 3-4 times a week, and I watch what I eat. I stick to proteins, veggies, fruits, and complex carbs for the most part. Do I have occasional pizza, ice cream and beer? Heck yes! But it’s all about balance.

I also enjoy the process of getting in shape and appreciate the philosophy that something is always better than nothing in terms of getting workouts in. I love to challenge my body and don’t focus as much on results, but rather making physical activity a part of my daily routine, a definite priority. I look forward to trying new forms of fitness. I might try crossfit and have always wanted to row so those are on my list. I’m not opposed to a workout/running/yoga buddy, but I usually make exercise into “me” time. It helps regulate my stress-level, helps me to assess and prioritize my goals, and I avoid competition that can get in the way of my own fitness achievements. However, someone to hold me accountable is always welcome and I love encouraging others get to their own fitness happy places :)
Nathan Rodriguez as Belcore in Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore
6. What would be your dream role to sing in opera?
Figaro in Il Barbiere would be an epic win. I’d also love to sing some Verdi roles one day… I’ll give it a decade or so. I don’t limit myself to opera and would love to do crossover and be the emcee in Cabaret or a Sweeney Todd. The list is endless, really. I like it all!

Nathan Rodriguez trying on an old pair of pants
7. Tell us something about yourself that has nothing to do with opera or fitness.
So many singers have day jobs to sustain themselves. I’m fortunate to work at an incredible genetics research institute and I’m looking to grow into grants administration. I take classes in non-profit management on the side and would love to eventually use this skill-set to help non-profit arts organizations secure and manage funds. I’m a big advocate for singers developing other professional skills. Focusing on what can benefit the world of arts and music is crucial for our industry’s survival.

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Juan Diego Flórez and Gabriel Bermúdez
There aren't many singers who get one to take their eyes off of Juan Diego Flórez, except for perhaps Gabriel Bermúdez (who remains our most popular barihunk ever based on page views). The two singers are performing together in Gounod's Roméo et Juliette at the Vienna State Opera with Marina Rebeka as the other ill-fated lover. There are two performances remaining on February 26 and March 1st.

If you can't make it to Vienna, you can watch a live stream of the performance on March 1st for 
€ 14.00. You can opt to watch the performance any time within 72 hours of the broadcast.

In addition to be a member of the Zurich Opera House ensemble since the 2002-03 season, the Spanish barihunk has been a member of the Vienna State Opera since 2014, where he has performed Melot in Tristan und Isolde, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Marcello in La bohème, Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Belcore in L'elisir d'amore and Heger in Ruskala.   

He next performs Albert in Massenet's Werther at the Royal Opera House Muscat in April and then Marcello in La bohème at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in June and July.

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