Saturday, April 21, 2018

John Brancy takes top honors at Lotte Lenya Competition

John Brancy performing at the Lotte Lenya Competition (left)
American barihunk John Brancy, along with sopranos Caroline Hewitt and Laura Corina Sanders, took top honors and $15,000 in prize money at this year's Lotte Lenya Competition. This was Brancy's second appearance at the Competition, having originally competed in 2008 when he won the Lys Symonette Award for Outstanding Performance of an Individual Number. The competition is open to singers born after April 15, 1985.

Brancy performed “Uzhel ta samaja Tatiana” from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, “This is New” from Kurt Weill's Lady in the Dark, “Awaiting You” from Guettel's Myths and Hymns and “Soliloquy” from Rodgers & Hammerstein's Carousel.

John Brancy performs at the Lotte Lenya Competition:

A number of baritones have won top prizes at the Lotte Lenya Competition, including Bradley Smoak in 2017, Brian Vu in 2016, Ben Edquist in 2014, Douglas Carpenter in 2013 and Justin Hopkins in 2012.

Brancy has previously won 2nd Prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London and the Media Prize in the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Moscow. This fall, he returns to Oper Frankfurt for a new production of Olga Neuwirth's Lost Highway directed by Yuval Sharon. This summer, Brancy will perform at the Carmel Bach Festival, where he's slated to sing in Orff's Carmina Burana and Bach's St. Matthew's Passion.

Craig Verm to take over remaining Don Giovanni's from Mariusz Kwiecien

Craig Verm as Don Giovanni
The Dallas Opera has announced that American barihunk Craig Verm will take over the title role in the remaining performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, after having replaced Mariusz Kwiecien to great acclaim on opening night. Verm will sing the final three performances, beginning with today's performance and running through April 29. Tickets are available online.  
Verm was originally scheduled to sing the role of Masetto, which will be sung by barihunk André Courville, who is making his Dallas Opera debut. Leporello will be sung by Kyle Ketelsen, who has made the role of Don Giovanni's sidekick a signature role.

Kyle Ketelsen in concert in Russia:


The all-star cast also includes Laura Claycomb, Katie Van Kooten, David Portillo, and Virginie Verrez with Emmanuel Villaume conducting.

Upcoming performances for Verm this year include Haly in Rossini's L'italiana in Algeri at the Santa Fe Opera, Lieutenant Gordon in Kevin Puts' Silent Night with the Austin Lyric Opera and Marcello in Puccini's La bohème at the Pittsburgh Opera.

In October, Kyle Ketelsen will sing another signature role, when he reprises his highly acclaimed portrayal of Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Christian Pursell wins Partners for the Arts Vocal Competition

Christian Pursell at the Partners for the Vocal Arts Vocal Competition
American barihunk Christian Pursell won the 6th Annual Partners for the Arts Vocal Competition today in Alexandria, Virginia. Second Place went to tenor Brandon Scott Russell and Third Place to soprano Robin Steitz.

The 2016 Metropolitan Opera semi-finalist performed "Aprite un po queli' occhi" from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro and "O du mein holder abendstern" from Wagner's Tannhauser

Pursell is a first year Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera. This season he'll be performing a number of roles with the company, including Walter Raleigh in Donizetti's Roberto Devereux, the Jailer in Puccini's Tosca, Count Lamoral in Richard Strauss' Arabella, and a fourth of the Angel Quartet in Jake Heggie's It's a Wonderful Life.

Craig Verm makes unexpected and stunning role debut as Don Giovanni

Craig Verm as Don Giovanni at Dallas Opera (Photo: Karen Almond)
Craig Verm, who was slated to sing Masetto in the current run of Mozart's classic opera Don Giovanni at the Dallas Opera, stepped in for an ailing Mariusz Kwiecien to make his role debut as the title character. Verm was replaced by fellow barihunk Andre Courville as Masetto and fellow barihunk, Kyle Ketelsen, sang Leporello.

Kyle Ketelsen and Craig Verm (Photo: Karen Almond)
The all-star cast also included Morris Robinson as the Commendatore, David Portillo as Don Ottavio, Laura Claycomb as Donna Anna, Katie van Kooten as Donna Elvira and Virginie Verrez as Zerlina. Performances run through April 29th.

Morgan Pearse to make solo Wigmore Hall debut

Morgan Pearse
Australian barihunk Morgan Pearse will make his Wigmore Hall solo debut on May 13th accompanied by Simon Lepper on the piano.

Pearse will perform six songs by Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss' Vier Lieder, Opus 27 and Samuel Barber's settings of James Joyce's poetry.

This isn't the first time that Pearse has performed at Wigmore Hall, but it does mark his solo recital debut. In 2013, he joined the Françoise-Green Piano Duo for Schumann's Liederkreis Op. 39 and Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel.

On April 21st, Pearse can be heard as Papageno in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Badisches Staatsoper in Karlsruhe. He then heads to Opera New Zealand for a run as Belcore in Donizetti's comic masterpiece The Elixir of Love

Monday, April 9, 2018

Christian Van Horn wins 2018 Richard Tucker Award

Christian van Horn
The Richard Tucker Foundation as announced that bass-barihunk Christian Van Horn is the winner of the 2018 Richard Tucker Award. He is the first bass-baritone to be win the award since John Relyea in 2003 and only the third in the award's 40-year history. He receives $50,000 for winning the award.

Past winners include Stephanie Blythe, Lawrence Brownlee, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Christine Goerke, and Matthew Polenzani. 

Van Horn, who just finished a run as Mephistopheles in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Faust, can next he heard as Enrico in Donizetti's Anna Bolena at the Canadian Opera Company from April 28th-May 26th. In September, he will perform Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at Opera Philadelphia, followed by Mefistofele and Colline at the Metropolitan Opera.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Barihunk trio in Santiago's "Don Giovanni"

Edwin Crossley-Mercer & Soloman Howard
The Teatro Municipal Santiago in Chile has assembled an impressive trio of barihunks for their upcoming performances of Mozart's Don Giovanni. The company is presenting dual casts in seven performances from April 16-27.

The first cast includes the barihunk trio of Levent Bakirci in the title role, Edwin Crossley-Mercer as Leporello and Soloman Howard as the Commendatore. To top things off, hunkentenor Joel Prieto is singing Don Ottavio. The second cast includes barihunk Daniel Miroslaw in the title role, joined by Sergio Gallardo as Leporello and Soloman Howard as the Commendatore. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Daniel Miroslaw and Levent Bakirci alternate as Don Giovanni
Bakirci, who is new to this site, graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara before pursuing his career as a singer. He has performed Don Giovanni at the Staatstheater Nürnberg, where he is an ensemble member, as well as the Theater Bremen, where he was a member of the ensemble from 2008-11.

Edwin Crossley-Mercer made his U.K. debut in the role of Leporello at the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival. After wrapping up Don Giovanni, Crossley-Mercer heads to Tokyo to perform Schubert's Winterreise on May 3rd and a set of Hollywood standards on May 5th. He then joins the legendary Bryn Terfel for performances of Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust in Dresden, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Hamburg.

Soloman Howard will head to Santa Fe this summer to perform the Bonze in Puccini's Madama Butterfly

Daniel Miroslaw can next be seen at the Oper Frankfurt, where he is an ensemble member, as Quinault in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur.