Sunday, December 4, 2016

American music highlights from Mason Jarboe's recital

Mason Jarboe
For those of you who missed the live video feed of barihunk Mason Jarboe's senior recital at the University of North Texas Recital Hall on Friday, you're in luck. We're posting some of the hightlights of the recital, where he was joined by accompanist Boeun Kim.

The program featured works by Barber, Bach, Chausson, Mahler, Rossini and Massenet. In our tradition of promoting American music, we're sharing the performances by Samuel Barber, Clint Borzoni and Sam Sweet. 

Composer S.K. Sweet's Sommerlieder is a 21st century take on the romantic German song cycle. Its texts, written by Jarboe in the Summer of 2014 at Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake, NY, are part of a larger collection titled "Texts you never got from me," a collection of actual text messages that he tried to send that were mostly not delivered due to the poor cell service.

This site has been a huge proponent of the music of Clint Borzoni, who has written over seventy pieces, including two full-length operas, two one-act operas, a piano concerto, percussion quartet, work for orchestra, two string quartets, several works for chamber orchestra and over forty art songs.

Much of his vocal writing prominently features baritones, including the two lead roles in his recent opera When Adonis Calls, a leading bass role and baritone role in Antinous and Hadrian, two recent works for String Quartet and Baritone (Stufen and Margere Kost) written for Marco Vassalli, a set of Walt Whitman songs for baritone, the song cycle Awake the Dawn written for baritone Seth Kershisnik, and the song cycle Live Oak Growing written for baritones Tim Hill and Randal Turner. He's also working on a new piece for barihunk Edward Nelson, which will be performed with Musica Marin this year, where he is composer in residence.

Here is what Mason Jarboe said about the Borzoni songs:
"The songs 'I Dreamed in a Dream' and 'That Shadow, my Likeness' are right up there with my favorite English language songs ever written. If I had time I would've thrown in 'Tired' from Vaughan Williams' Last Four Songs, but some other time. For me, those three songs in the final set of my recital paint such a poignant picture of the realization, really the epiphany, I had towards classical vocal music, and Clint's songs perfectly show the progress I have made within my own life; the thankfulness of the first piece in which I can recognize everyone who has so warmly embraced me on my journey towards true artistry as well as the sense of community I have felt; truly a 'city of friends,' and the second, the acceptance of myself. The understanding that every perfectly imperfect aspect of me comes together in such a funny and beautiful way to create a human, a man, an artist, that I am proud to present today, no matter how many high G's he has to put out in a recital (11, and four F#s) and no matter what anyone around him thinks. Thanks to such perfect settings of such perfect texts by Mr. Borzoni, I know that my art matters, that I matter as an artist, and, most importantly, that what I and my brilliant colleagues do as musicians has such an important role in so many people's everyday lives that I will never stop striving to show to them. I just adore his music, and I really can't wait to get to work on my next Borzoni project."
Samuel Barber's music, masterfully crafted and built on romantic structures and sensibilities, is at once lyrical, rhythmically complex, and harmonically rich. His writing is lyrical with expressive and nuanced shadings and a keen connection to the text. Songs like "Sure on this shining night" have become standards on song recital programs. Barber wrote his first piece at age 7 and attempted his first opera at age 10. At the age of 14 he entered the Curtis Institute, where he studied voice, piano, and composition. Later, he studied conducting with Fritz Reiner.

St Ita’s vision is the third song of Hermit Songs op.29, which premiered on October 30, 1953 at the Library of Congress with soprano Leontyne Price and the composer at the piano. The cycle is based on anonymous Irish texts from the eighth to the thirteenth centuries written by monks and students, commenting about daily life, nature and God. The piano part, mainly in arpeggios, contributes also to the sense of motion and the sweetness and dreamy atmosphere.

Samuel Barber wrote numerous songs set to some of the world's greatest poets, including James Joyce, Matthew Arnold, Rainer Maria Rilke, A.E. Housman, James Agee and James Stephens. Some of Barber’s greatest music stemmed from these poetic inspirations, including the Hermit Songs, Knoxville: Summer of 1915, the three powerful James Joyce settings and Rilke's texts for Mélodies passagères.

At Curtis, Barber met Gian Carlo Menotti with whom he would form a lifelong personal and professional relationship. Menotti supplied libretti for Barber's operas Vanessa (for which Barber won the Pulitzer) and A Hand of Bridge.
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Watch Barihunks Edwin Crossley-Mercer and Mattia Olivieri at Berlin AIDS Gala

Mattia Olivieri & Edwin Crossley-Mercer at Berlin AIDS Gala
On November 5th, barihunk Edwin Crossley-Mercer performed at the Deutsche Oper Berlin's 22nd Grand Opera Gala in support of the AIDS Foundation. The event also features fellow barihunks Andrea Mastroni and Mattia Olivieri, as well as soprano Patrizia Ciofi, tenor Gregory Kunde and a host of other operatic luminaries.

Of course, we had to post our favorite barihunks for your viewing pleasure. If you speak German, you will enjoy the humorous introductions by legendary bandleader and singer Max Raabe.

Edwin Crossley-Mercer sings Mozart's "Madamina il catalogo è questo delle bello"

Michael Spyres & Edwin Crossley-Mercer sing Bizet's "Au fond du temple saint":

Mattia Olivieri sings Rossini's "Largo al factotum della città!":

Crossley-Mercer is so popular with our readers that we asked him to appear in our upcoming 2017 "Barihunks in Bed" calendar, which he graciously agreed to do. We hired a photographer in France to take a photo and made him our December feature, since his stunning prematurely gray hair evoked a perfect wintry night. You can purchase a copy ONLINE.

Glenn Seven Allen & Edwin Crossley-Mercer

Saturday, December 3, 2016

German Barihunk Dominik Köninger in campy Oscar Straus revival

German Barihunk Dominik Köninger
Director Barrie Kosky has done it again, with another highly original production of a long lost piece of musical theater. His highly entertaining The Pearls of Cleopatra (Die Perlen der Cleopatra) by Oscar Straus is destined to become one of the major hits in any opera house this year. The piece has been on the shelves for more than eighty year and is now viewable on the OperaPlatform. There are additional performances at the Komische Oper on December 15, 19 and 21.

German Barihunk Dominik Köninger and Dagmar Manzel
Kosky has been reviving works by composers who fled the Nazis, which Strauss did in 1939 following the Nazi Anschluss. He fled to Paris and eventually to Hollywood. After the war, he returned to Europe, and settled at Bad Ischl, where he died.  Straus' best-known works are Ein Walzertraum (A Waltz Dream), and The Chocolate Soldier (Der tapfere Soldat). He may be best remembered for composing the theme song from the 1950 film La Ronde.

Dancers and extras from The Pearls of Cleopatra
In the comedic The Pearls of Cleopatra, the queen longs for a ‘little Egyptian flirting’ to lift her mood. The permanent drought and the armies of the Roman Empire at the Egyptian borders have given her quite a headache. So she flirts with the Syrian prince Beladonis and takes Silvius, the Roman ambassador, as her new lover. International or intimate relations – the most beautiful queen of the world holds sway over the hearts of all men. Could the pearls be the secret to her power. 

German Barihunk Dominik Köninger
In this production, German barihunk Dominik Köninger sings the role of the Roman Officer, who is shown in a number of pretty sexy situations throughout the operetta. There are also plenty of scantily clad, energetic performers on stage, adding to the lively Cabaret feel of the pre-Nazi Weimar Republic.

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More great low voices emerge from San Francisco Opera's Adler Fellowship

The 2016 Class of the Adler Fellows in San Francisco
The Adler Fellowship Program, which operates under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera, has turned out some of the greatest singers in the world, including Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Dolora Zajic, Deborah Voigt, Heidi Melton, Brian Asawa and Stuart Skelton. The program is a two-year fellowship that provides gifted singers to develop their craft with the best coaches in the world and to perform on the main stage of the San Francisco Opera.

It's also turned out a number of barihunks who have gone on to world-class careers, including John Relyea, Hadleigh Adams, Philippe Sly, Ryan Kuster, Efraín Solís, Mel Ulrich, Lucas Meachem, Joshua Bloom, Kenneth Kellogg, Austin Kness, Daniel Sumegi and Eugene Brancoveanu. The 2016 class featured some amazing low voices and some favorites of Barihunks readers, including baritone Edward Nelson, bass Anthony Reed, bass-baritone Brad Walker and bass-baritone Matthew Stump.

Julie Adams and Brad Walker in a selection from Carlisle Floyd's "Susannah":

On December 2nd, the latter four joined soprano Julie Adams, soprano Amina Edris, mezzo Zanda Švēde, soprano Toni Marie Palmertree, mezzo Nian Wang and tenor Pene Pete for the Adler Fellows annual showcase called "The Future is Now" at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. We thought that we'd share some of the highlights with readers.

Baritone Edward Nelson sings Billy Budd's "Look, through the port...":

This season at the San Francisco opera, Edward Nelson performed Prince Yamadori in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Dr. Malatesta in Donizetti's comedy Don Pasquale, Fléville in Giordano's Andrea Chenier and the Eunuch/Stone in the world premiere of Dream of the Red Chamber. The previous season, he created the role of John Buckley in Marco Tutino's Two Women with the company. His 2017 engagements include the Steward in Jonathan Dove's Flight with Opera Omaha, Schaunard in Puccini's La bohème at Cincinnati Opera and the title role in Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet with West Edge Opera.

Anthony Reed sings "Wie schön ist doch die Musik" from Die schweigsame Frau:

Bass Anthony Reed, who has appeared in our Barihunks charity calendar, is currently singing the King in the San Francisco Opera's production of Verdi's Aida. Other roles with the company include various roles in Hector Berlioz's epic Les Troyens, the Speaker in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Hans Schwartz in Wagner's Die Miestersinger von Nürnberg, Doctor Primus in Gordon Getty's Usher House, the Mayor in Janacek's Jenufa and Schmidt in Giordano's Andrea Chenier. You can check out his website HERE.

Brad Walker sings Hai già vinta la causa!":

Bass-baritone Brad Walker made his debut with the San Francisco Opera this summer as Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen. At the Yale Opera, he sang the title role in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Colline in Puccini's La bohème and Don Magnifico in Rossini's La Cenerentola. On December 16, he'll be giving a free concert at the Peace Lutheran Church in Lake Zurich, Illinois, performing opera, lieder, jazz and musical theater. You can check out his website HERE.

Matthew Stump sings "Die Frist ist um" from The Flying Dutchman:

Bass-baritone Matthew Stump made his San Francisco Opera debut as a Trojan Soldier in Hector Berlioz's Les Troyens in 2015. He has appeared with the company as Hans Folz in Wagner's Die Miestersinger von Nürnberg, the Monk in Verdi's Don Carlo and the Foreman in Janacek's Jenufa.

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Cyril Rovery & Ville Lignell

Friday, December 2, 2016

Étienne Dupuis makes role debut as Orest in Paris Opera's Iphigénie en Tauride

Etienne Dupuis (Photo right © Guergana Damianova)
French Canadian barihunk Étienne Dupuis will open on December 2nd as Oreste in Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride at the Palais Garnier. It will be his role debut. The production runs until Christmas Day and tickets are available online.

Director Krzysztof Warlikowski's production returns to the Paris Opera with Véronique Gens as Iphigénie, Stanislas de Barbeyrac as Pylade and Bertrand de Billy conducting.

Gluck's emotionally charged opera retells the Greek tragedy of Iphigénie, condemned to murder her own brother, Oreste, himself a murderer.

Gluck's 1779 opera took his operatic reform to its logical conclusion. The recitatives are shorter and they are récitatif accompagné (i.e. the strings and perhaps other instruments are playing, not just continuo accompaniment). The normal dance movements that one finds in the French tragédie en musique are almost entirely absent. The drama is ultimately based on the play Iphigenia in Tauris by the ancient Greek dramatist Euripides which deals with stories concerning the family of Agamemnon in the aftermath of the Trojan War.

A nude extra (left) & Etienne Dupuis and Veronique Gens
Upcoming performances for Dupuis include Albert in Massenet's Werther at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Pink in Another Brick in Bilodeau's The Wall at Opéra de Montréal and Jacques de Lusignan in Halévy's rarity La Reine de Chypre at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Introducing British Barihunk Jolyon Loy

British Barihunk Jolyon Loy
Jolyon Loy is a 26-year-old British baritone from Worcestershire, UK, who is new to this site.

Loy can be heard on December 3rd at the Austrian Cultural Forum with Dame Felicity Lott as part of London Song Festival's Lieder Masterclass & Schubert Society Song Prize. Lott will be coaching singers and the Schubert Society Song Prize will be awarded to the best duo at the end. Winners will receive £500 and the offer of engagements with the London Song Festival and the Schubert Society of Britain in 2017.  Second place will be awarded £250 and third place will receive £100. Additional information is available online.

On December 10th and 16th, Loy can be heard in two Russian concerts with Opera Coast called 'The Old Tales of Kitezh Grad', the first in Brighton the second in Pushkin House in London. Singers will perform arias based on Russian fairy tales and folklore from Tchaikovsky's Iolanta and Rubinstein's The Demon. Tickets are available online.

Jolyon Loy sings Britten, Handel, Schumann & Strauss:

He began singing at the age of nine as a chorister at Worcester Cathedral, sang in numerous  Three Choirs Festivals, performed for Queen Elizabeth II in the year of her Golden Jubilee, regularly sang as a soloist at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall with Birmingham City Choir and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. At age 17, he joined the Worcester Cathedral Choir as a choral scholar and sang with the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and in 2008 was awarded a Choral Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford University.

He was educated at The King's School, Worcester and the University of Oxford and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2016.

In 2016, he joined the Glyndebourne Festival Chorus for Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, directed by David McVicar. He has also sung the role of Marquis d’Obigny in Verdi's La traviata for Opera Lyrica, Papageno in Mozart's The Magic Flute for Hampstead Garden Opera and excerpts from Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tiresias with Salon Opera.

At the Royal Academy of Music, he performed as Onegin in scenes from Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, The Vicar in Britten's Albert Herring and Count Robinson in Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto.


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Edward Miskie, Aaron Sørensen & Glenn Ayars

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Three Way" in Nashville with barihunks Wes Mason, Matt Treviño & hunkentenor Samuel Levine

Barihunks Wes Mason, Matt Treviño and hunkentenor Samuel Levine
Barihunks Wes Mason, Matt Treviño and hunkentenor Samuel Levine will be featured in the world premiere of Robert Paterson's new opera Three Way at the Nashville Opera. The opera explores Android lovers, dominatrix culture, and the final frontier: multiple partners.

The opera is a playful three-act performance that explores the future of love, sex, and need with a clever balance of humor and drama. Each aptly named act (The Companion, Safe Word, and Masquerade) introduces the audience to a collision of contemporary characters who meet at the intersection of power and desire to reveal the true longings of the human heart.

Three Way is a co-production with American Opera Projects and will debut in Nashville at the James K. Polk Theatre on January 27, with additional performances on January 28 and 29. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Make sure to check out Wes Mason's newly updated website.

You can also catch Matt Treviño on New Year's Eve with the Sante Fe Symphony in Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Tickets are available online.

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Malte Roesner and Marco Vassalli from the Barihunks in Bed Calendar