Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Barihunks confounding Susanna offstage in Vienna Marriage

Degout and Esposito
Two of our favorite singers in the world, Alex Esposito and Stéphane Degout, are appearing together in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro from April 11-22 at the Theater and der Wien. Degout is singing the Count, while Esposito takes on Figaro.

The two have been having fun on Facebook posting pictures of themselves "napping" at rehearsals. We're not quite sure how Susanna feels about her beloved Figaro ending up in bed with the Count, but it certainly adds an interesting (offstage) twist to the story.

Alex Esposito and Stéphane Degout
When the two barihunks wrap up their onstage and offstage fun in Vienna they will head their separate ways. Esposito will stick to Mozart taking on his signature role of Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House in London from June 12-25. Degout will head to the Paris Opera to sing Apollo in Gluck's Alceste (and Team Barihunks will be in the audience). That performance runs from June 16-July 15,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Zachary Altman shirtless again in Basel

Zachary Altman in The Rape of Lucretia in Basel
We're beginning to wonder whether the costume department should only be paid half of the wages when working with Zachary Altman, as no one seems to have make him a shirt or jacket (which we're certainly OK with!). We've recently posted about him shirtless as Don Giovanni in San Jose and shirtless in Daphne in Basel.

Director Ulrike Jühe decided to keep the trend going in Basel, as she has Altman shirtless as Tarquinius in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. Of course, considering the subject matter, having a shirtless Tarquinius makes directorial sense. We've featured countless shirtless barihunks as Tarquinius, including Duncan Rock, David Krohn, Christopher Maltman, Matthew Worth, David Krohn, Grzegorz Pazik, Nathan Gunn, Scott Beasley, Philip Cutlip, Michael Krzankowski  and Phillip Addis.
Zachary Altman shirtless in Don Giovanni and Daphne
The opera opened last night with Basel's studio artists and runs through April 25th. The cast also includes Jose Coca Loza as Collatinus, Jason Cox as Junius, Aidan Ferguson as Lucretia, Maria Carla Pino Cury as Lucia, Kang Wang as the Male Chorus and Meike Hartman as the Female Chorus. Tickets and additional information is available online.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Watch All-Star Don Giovanni from Monte-Carlo

Erwin Schrott (left and far right); Fernando Rado (center)
Two of the hottest barihunks ever to step on stage for Mozart's Don Giovanni are wrapping up a 10 day run at the Opera de Monte-Carlo today. Argentinian Fernando Javier Radó and Uruguayan Erwin Schrott, who sing Masetto and the title role respectively sang in a traditional production, but with some major international fire power.

The all-star cast also included Sonya Yoncheva. the hottest soprano sensation in the world right now, as Donna Elvira. Patrizia Ciofi sang Donna Anna, tenor Maxim Mironov took on the role of Don Ottavio and the charming Adrian Sampetrean rounded out the low male voices as Leporello.

For those who couldn't attend the performance, you're in luck as the production was taped and is available ONLINE HERE.

Introducing Danish Bass-Barihunk Simon Duus

Danish bass-barihunk will be sharing the run of Henrik in Nielsen's Maskerade at the Danish Royal Opera with Henning von Schulman. Also in the cast as the tutor is Palle Knudsen, who has been featured on this site. 
Simon Duus is currently finishing his last year at the soloist class at The Royal Danish Academy of Music. He's recently performed Colline in Puccini's La boheme at Danish National Opera, Vaughan Williams' "Songs of Travel" with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, a New Year's concert with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Haydn's Cäcelia Mass in Heidelberg.
Simon Duus sings Lascia amor from Handel's Orlando

In 2011, Duus graduated from The Opera Academy at The Royal Opera in Copenhagen where he honed his skills in many great Mozart roles. His performance as Nardo in La Finta Giardiniera was broadcast live on Arte TV. 
He is the recipient of the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation Scholarship and was the only opera singer to receive a talent prize at the annual Reumert Awards for his interpretation as Seneca in the København Musikteater's production of Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. He has also performed Schubert's Winterreise and Schwanengesang, as well as many cantatas and oratorios.
Performances of Maskerade continue from April 8 through May 21 and tickets and additional cast information is available online.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy Birthday, Samuel Ramey!

Samuel Ramey
He has been referred to as the original barihunk by some, for leading the way in sexy portrayals of the low voice repertory. His video of Boito's Mefistofele from the San Francisco Opera has become a cult classic with opera aficionados. He continued his sexy shirtless portrayals as Attila that were not only sexy, but set the vocal standard to this day.

His amazing vocal flexibility and range has allowed his to sing roles ranging from Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo to the title role in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. His repertoire includes the florid pasages of Handel, the bel canto roles of Bellini and Donizetti, the great baritone roles of Verdi and Puccini, great American operas and even many of the great Russian and French bass roles.

If he sang nothing else, he would be famous for his interpretation of Boito’s Mefistofele,which has included  seventy performances in the Robert Carsen production of the opera specifically created for  him. In fact, devilish roles have dominated his stage performances, including Berlioz's devil in La damnation de Faust; the sinister Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress; and the tour de force of all four villains in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann. In 1992, Ramey sang all of Offenbach’s villains for the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night, prompting one critic to write, “[It was] the best interpretation of the four villains I can remember in the last 25 years. This is the stuff of which operatic legends are made.” In 1996 Mr. Ramey presented a sold-out concert at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall titled A Date with the Devil in which he sang fourteen arias representing the core of this repertoire, and he continues to tour this program throughout the world.

Samuel Ramey holds the distinction of being the most recorded bass in history. His more than eighty recordings include complete operas, recordings of arias, symphonic works, solo recital programs, and popular crossover albums on every major label. His recordings have garnered nearly every major award including three Grammy Awards, Gran Prix du Disc Awards, and “Best of the Year” citations from journals including Stereo Review and Opera News. His exposure on television and video is no less impressive, with video recordings of the Metropolitan Opera’s Carmen, Bluebeard’s Castle, Semiramide, Nabucco, and the compilation “The Met Celebrates Verdi;” San Francisco Opera’s Mefistofele; The Rake’s Progress from the Glyndebourne Festival; Attila from La Scala; and the Salzburg Festival’s Don Giovanni. Ramey is seen frequently on television in appearances with “Live from the Met” and “Live from Lincoln Center” as well as other productions taped for PBS.

Following his phenomenal success in opera, concert, and recordings, Samuel Ramey’s sold-out Carnegie Hall recital in 1987 added a fourth dimension to his spectacular career. His returns to New York’s Carnegie Hall for solo recitals in February 1995 and November 1998 were the culmination of extensive, critically-acclaimed North American tours which had taken Mr. Ramey from Alaska to Alabama, with appearances on America's finest vocal series. His European recital career is equally notable, with sold-out appearances in all the music capitals.

A native of Colby, Kansas, Samuel Ramey was active in music throughout high school and college. In 1995 he was named “Kansan of the Year,” and in 1998 the French Ministry of Culture awarded him the rank of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters.

He is still actively performing, although in less demanding roles. Timur in Puccini's Turandot  in August and the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi's Don Carlos, both with the Wichita Grand Opera in his native Kansas. In recent seasons he's also performed Timur at the Met, Olin Blitch in Floyd's Susannah in Toledo and Priam in Berlioz's Les troyens at La Scala.

The Dilemma over Crossover Barihunks

Nicky Wuchinger (left) and Jan-Philipp Rekeszus (right)
We're usually pretty clear about our mission at Barihunks, which is to promote baritones (down to bass) who take great care of their voices as well as their bodies. Generally, that has meant operatic baritones, but occasionally those lines get blurred. Take the cases of Ramin Karimloo, Doug Carpenter and Seph Stanek, three of the most popular singers to have appeared on this site. All three were trained as operatic baritones, but both have crossed over into other genres.

Paulo Szot, Seph Stanke and Doug Carpenter
Ramin Karimloo has gone on to be one of the most heralded singers to perform Jean Valjean in Les Mirerables and the title character in Phantom of the Opera. Seph Stanek, who studied classical voice at Furman University and the L'Accademia dell'Arte, went on to have a career as part of the crossover group Figaro, sang on tour with the Twelve Tenors and even starred in Naked Boys Singing! Then there's the case of Paulo Szot, one of opera's biggest stars, who is probably best known for singing Emile De Beque in South Pacific, taking home a Tony Award, the Drama Desk Award the Outer Critic’s Circle Award and the Theater World Award.

That brings us to Jan-Philipp Rekeszus and Nicky Wuchinger, two German singers with operatic pedigree who are making their mark in operetta and musical theater. Wuchinger was a finalist in the Lotte Lenya Competition when fellow barihunk Doug Carpenter took away the top prize. Carpenter has also successfully "crossed over" starring in the national tour of Dirty Dancing.


Rekeszus and Wuchinger are mentioned in a new article by Kevin Clarke entitled "Eyes Wide Open: A New Generation of Operetta Superstars?." He even refers to Rekeszus as a barihunk, although upon listening to the two singers we'd be compelled to call them bari-tenors, much like Karimloo. Clark imagines Rekeszus as ideal for Wiener Blut or The Merry Widow, and points out the Wuchinger was hired to sing in Eduard Künneke’s operetta Der Vetter aus Dingsda.

Wuchinger and Rekeszus bothe studied voice at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. Wuchinger went on to embark on a successful career singing in Cats, The Who's Tommy, Phantom of the Opera and Hairspray. Rekeszus has made his mark performing in Hair and Bye, Bye, Birdie.

We'd love your thoughts on us featuring crossover artists on the site. However, if our statistics are any indication, we think that we know the answer, as posts about Karimloo, Stanek and Carpenter remain some of the most trafficked on the site.  Feel free to email us at or leave a comment below. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Andrew Potter takes Handel to the Wild Wild West

Andrew Potter as the "mystic traveler" Zoroastro
The Boulder Opera Company, which sits at the foot of the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado, has updated Handel's Orlando to the American Wild West.

In their re-imagining of the story the deputy Sheriff Orlando is desperately in love with Angelica, who is in turn in love with a cowboy, Medoro. In this hopeless situation, Orlando is driven to madness from which only the mystic traveler Zoroastro can save him. Zoroastro is being sung by bass-barihunk Andrew Potter, who we introduced to readers (with a shirtless selfie) last September when he was singing in Mozart's The Magic Flute with Opera NEO.

Performances are on April 4 and 5 and tickets are available online.