Monday, August 21, 2017

Barihunk trio in Sydney Chamber Opera's The Rape of Lucretia

Simon Lobelson, Nathan Lay and Jeremy Kleeman
The barihunk trio of Nathan Lay, Jeremy Kleeman and Simon Lobelson opened this weekend in the Sydney Chamber Opera's production of Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia. This is the company's first production of the opera, which is being directed by Kip Williams, winner of the coveted Helpmann Award for his work as a director. Additional performances are on August 21, 22, 24, 25 and 26 and tickets and additional cast information can be found online.

We introduced Nathan Lay, who sings Tarquinius, to readers last year. He has won the National Liederfest, Australian Music Events’ Opera Scholar of the Year, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria,  placed third in the Herald Sun Aria and won the 2016 Australian International Opera Award. He has performed with Opera Australia, Melbourne Opera, and has recently completed the Victorian Opera Developing Artist Program along with his Master of Music at The University of Melbourne. He is featured prominently on Remembrance, a CD of songs and poems in memory of the soldiers that fought in World War One. During his time at Victorian Opera, he performed in Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, Puss in Boots, La traviataHansel and GretelThe Magic PuddingThe Opera, Richard Mills’ Remembrance,  I Puritani, Weill’s Die sieben Todsünden featuring Meow Meow, Massenet's Cendrillon, and Mr. Mayor in Richard Mills’ world premiere of The Pied Piper.

Nathan Lay sings Britten's "Look! Through the port comes the moon astray":

We also introduced Jeremy Kleeman, who will be singing Collatinus, to readers last year after a reader submitted him to us. Kleeman is a graduate of Victorian Opera’s Developing Artist Program, and has a Master of Music in Opera Performance and Bachelor of Music from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. In 2014 and 2015, Jeremy was a scholar with Melba Opera Trust on the Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship, and was the 2016 recipient of the Dame Heather Begg Memorial Award. Upcoming engagements will include soloist in the Duruflé Requiem with the Melbourne Bach Choir, Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea with Pinchgut Opera and soloist in Nielsen’s Symphony no. 3 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Roles with the Victorian Opera have included Lord Valton in I puritani, Marquis D’Obigny in La traviata, Rapunzel’s Prince in Into the Woods, Jonas Fogg in Sweeney Todd, Mother in Seven Deadly Sins and Albert the Pudding in the Green Room award-winning world premiere The Magic PuddingThe Opera.


Simon Lobelson has been featured three times on Barihunks, dating back to 2008! He was born in Sydney to Egyptian parents and spent his childhood in Brussels before moving to Australia. He received his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Sydney and his postgraduate degree at London’s Royal College of Music. He was a finalist in the 2011 Wagner Society Competition and a Tait Memorial Trust 2011 Thornton Foundation Award recipient. He is also a coach at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Lobelson has performed over 70 operatic roles including Doctor Falke in Die Fledermaus, Don Alfonso in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Geôlier in Dialogues des Carmélites, Osmin in Mozart’s Zaide, and Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff. His recordings include The Sofa, Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Nicolai Mass with the Israel Camerata, The Fairy Queen and Charpentier’s David et Jonathas. He has also been featured on broadcasts for Classic FM, Fine Music FM, Foxtel and BBC Radio 3, as well as soundtracks to exhibitions at both the Australian and British Museums, and on the inflight soundtrack for British Airways and Qantas flights.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Barihunk Benjamin Appl nominated for Gramophone Best Solo Vocalist award

Benjamin Appl's Heimat
The brilliant young recitalist Benjamin Appl has been nominated for a 2017 Gramophone Award as best Solo Vocalist for his album Heimat with accompanist James Bailieu. The recording features music by Brahms, Britten, Grieg, Ireland, Poulenc, Reger, Schubert, Adolf and Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams, Warlock and Wolf.

Other nominees in the category include Florian Boesch and Roger Vignoles for Krenek's Reisebuch aus den österrichischen Alpen and Matthias Goerne and Christoph Eschenbach for Brahms' Vier ernste Gesänge.

The German barihunk was a BBC New Generation Artist and an ECHO Rising Star artist for the 2015/16 season, appearing in recital at major European venues. He became an exclusive SONY Classical recording artist in May 2016 and won the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award in 2016.

Benjamin Appl sings Schubert's Der Lindenbaum:


He is currently performing Schubert recitals in the U.K., including on August 17th at the Edinburgh International Festival's Queen’s Hall with Schumann and Grieg, and at Ireland's Kilkenny Festival where he'll perform Winterreise on August 19th and a program with soprano Ailish Tynan and tenor Robin Tritschler on August 20th.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Introducing Nicholas Martorano; Performing Chicago area recital

Nicholas Martorano
American barihunk Nicholas Martorano, who graduated with a Master of Music degree in vocal arts last year from the University of Southern California, is new to our site.

Martorano will be returning to his homestate of Illinois to perform a recital in Morris, which is about an hour outside of Chicago. He'll be joined by Alexandra Martinez, Liya Khaimova and Napat Mingkwanyuen in a concert of arias, duets and ensembles from opera and musical theater. The four singers were all students together at USC.

Martorano first began singing on stage when he appeared as Winthrop in a Westmont High School production of  “The Music Man.” He developed his love for opera while in high school and opted to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in vocal performance.

The concert is Friday, August 18th at the First Presbyterian Church in Morris, Illinois.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Wes Mason in LoftOpera's innovative Pagliacci

Wes Mason (Photos Jason Lee Denton & Ellen Appel)
Wes Mason will star as Silvio in LoftOpera's new production of a Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci from September 15-26 at a former bus depot in Brooklyn. Mason will be joined by Lucas Levy as the clown Canio, Kelly Glyptis as Nedda, Joshua Conyers as Tonio and Michael Kuhn a Beppe. 

The production is directed by the always innovative director John de los Santos and includes a Coney Island-inspired set design by Jung Griffin. Following each performance, audience members are encouraged to stay for a dance party and reception featuring DJ Svetlana Voice.

Founded in 2013, LoftOpera aims to bring opera to its roots and to the masses with environmental, immersive stagings that emphasize the communal aspects of the genre. Previous productions include Rossini’s Otello, Macbeth, Tosca, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and La bohéme.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Barihunk Karl Daymond collapses and dies at hearing where he came to speak about saving arts venue

Karl Daymond
[REPRINTED FROM BBC NEWS]

An opera singer collapsed and died while arguing to save an arts venue.

Karl Daymond fell ill just before he was due to speak at a meeting about Drill Hall in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, where he had directed shows.

He was a passionate supporter of the arts who wanted to ensure the future of the venue.
Chepstow mayor Dale Rooke said he was "one of those larger than life characters" with a "huge heart and a huge passion".

"He will be sorely missed and it's a huge, huge loss to Chepstow," he added.

Mr Rooke said Mr Daymond was "quite stressed" about speaking at the meeting, which was organised to allow locals to have their say on the future of the hall.

It came amid a row over whether the venue's ownership should be transferred from the local authority into the hands of a newly-formed charity.

'Emotional' meeting

The hall secured £50,000 from the Big Lottery in February to fund renovations with plans for a further £1m bid dependent on who owned it in future.

Mr Rooke said: "It was an emotional meeting but we knew it was going to be. About 80 people were present.

"It was particularly traumatic as when he collapsed, everyone was stuck in the council chamber and lots of the people in the room knew Karl."

Mr Daymond trained at The National Opera Studio before touring the world with both the English and Welsh national operas.

His career included performing at the BBC Proms in 1999 and 2002, and twice at the Royal Variety Performance, in 1982 performing The Pirate King from Pirates of Penzance, and as a soloist in 2004.

He appeared with Hollywood star Dustin Hoffman in a 1989 production of the Merchant of Venice, and took a starring role in Leonard Bernstein's Grammy-nominated one-act opera Trouble in Tahiti in 2001.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Barihunk quartet opens NY City Opera season

Kevin Short, Kenneth Overton, Christopher Job and Alexander Birch Ellliott (Clockwise top left)
New York City Opera is opening its 2017/2018 season with Puccini's La fanciulla del West starring the barihunk quartet of Kevin Short as Jack Rance, Alexander Birch Elliott as Sonora, Christopher Job as Ashby and Kenneth Overton as Jake Wallace. They will be joined by soprano Kristin Sampson as Minnie and tenor Jonathan Burton as Dick Johnson.

The production is a collaboration between New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, and Teatro di Giglio di Lucca. Performances are on September 6, 8, 10 and 12 at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater. Tickets are available online.

Based on American playwright David Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West, the opera tells the story of love and redemption in a mining camp during the California Gold Rush. Puccini's La fanciulla del West had its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1910, and the opera has been a favorite of New York audiences ever since.

The remainder of New York City Opera's season includes the New York premiere of Pepe Martinez’s mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Montemezzi’s  L’Amore  dei Tre Re, the long-awaited US premiere of Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain, the New York premiere of Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, and a double-bill of Donizetti’s Il Pigmalione and  Rameau’s Pigmalion.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Jacques Imbrailo to premiere new Danish opera Brødre

Jacques Imbrailo
Jacques Imbrailo will premiere composer Daníel Bjarnason's new opera Brødre (Brothers) at the Danish National Opera on August 16th. The opera is based on Susanne Bier’s film Brothers, which is part of the Musikhuset Aarhus’ Bier Trilogy, in which the acclaimed film trilogy by Susanne Bier is adapted into three different genres. Brothers will be performed as an opera, After the Wedding as musical theatre and Open Hearts as modern dance.

Bier not only directed the 2004 film version of Brothers, but she also co-wrote the screenplay for the opera adaptation with Anders Thomas Jensen. The opera will be directed by Kasper Holten.

The tale relates the story of two brothers who both fall in love with the same woman. While the elder brother is on military service in Afghanistan, leaving his family behind in Denmark, the younger brother – who has just came out of prison – ends up spending a lot of time with the family. When they are informed that the elder brother is missing in action, a love grows between the younger brother and the sister-in-law out of solitude and despair. And when the hero returns from war, everything changes.

Performances are on August 16, 18, 20 and 22.  Tickets are available online.