Saturday, October 19, 2013

Death to the Diva/Divo

I'm slightly fed up.  Fed up with the "Diva."  When did the term diva start to mean self centered, egotistical, bitchy, and overly cocky?  Has it always meant that?  And if so, why the hell is that acceptable in any profession??

 I figured a good definition of Diva would be a good place to start my search.

Diva- an operatic prima donna.

Well, shit.  That was no help.

Prima donna- 1. The principal female singer in an opera or concert organization.
Alright, I'm ok with that entry.  Let's stop at that one.  There's not a second definition is there?

2. A person who thinks they are better than everyone else.  

Poop.  Lets try the etymology. 

Diva- Italian, from Latin diva, meaning goddess. Feminine of divus.  

Ok. This is starting to feel like a research paper.

Divus- 1. Of or beloning to a deity.
2. Godlike. 

Diva Damnit!!!!!!!  Well, that answers my first question.  A "godlike" description does kind of give you permission to act stuck up.  
Thou shalt Vissi d'arte

Ok, well when did this "evil" Italian word worm its way into the operatic world?  Is it new, or has it been around since the Medici got bored?  I decided to ask Google that question.  After the standard Wikipedia entry (which was no help), the next couple entries were for DivaCup, a reusable silicone menstrual cup.  Well, thats absolutely no help, and a little disgusting.  Come on Google!  Don't make me do real research!!  A few more pages deeper into Googles search results, I find a interesting article by Patrick Dillon in OperaNews that explains it pretty well.  Basically, Tosca is to blame.  (First in the play by Sardou, then in Puccini's opera.  First time it was used in an opera.  Interesting Jeopardy fact).  Dillon list a good amount of qualifiers in his article as to how to define a diva in opera terms- Has style, Knows how to work a crowd, Good with fans, and Not a team player.  Wait, what was that last one?  Not a team player? How is that a good thing in the opera business?

Well, crap.  That answers the second question.  It hasn't always been in opera, but since it has, it hasn't been pretty.  WHY IS THIS OK??????  Only in opera could diva be a compliment.  Seriously, can you imagine a postal worker pulling a diva?  A garbage worker?  A Dentist?  Or even a pop singer?
Not a diva.  Just Crazy

In my humble opinion, opera is a team sport.  All people involved working towards a common goal- a great show.  ALL PEOPLE INVOLVED.  From the actors, orchestras, directors, conductors, stage hands, prop crews, make up artists, artistic directors, etc.  ALLLLLLLLLLL PEEEEEOPPPPLLLLEE.  We all bring our expertise and experience to a show to craft a unique experience for the audience to enjoy.  Otherwise, why do we do it?  For the money?  It's not that good. Fame?  Yes, because all the young kids are collecting opera trading cards. We deep down do what we do to put on the best show possible and entertain the audience.  Do we enjoy the money, applause, and the fact that we get to play dress up?  Of course.  We're all human.  But I believe our base intention is to entertain, and to do that, we ALL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER.

So how does a diva fit into that plan.  Under the definitions of diva above, it doesn't.  At all.  Now, I'm not naive (I probably am, I just don't know it).  I know how operas work.  Composers LOVE sopranos and tenors.  They get the high dramatic arias, the great love duets, and win the audience over with all their high notes.  Thats just the way it is.  Fine.  But Tosca doesn't loose her love if Scarpia doesn't lust after her.  Nedda and Canio's love doesn't end in tragedy is Tonio isn't shunned.  Violetta and Alfredo don't meet if Flora doesn't throw a party.  And no one gives two Hojo-toho's about Brunnhilde and Siegfried if Alberich doesn't lay his curse down on that hunk of gold.  My point?  They need everyone else.  We all do.  Thinking you are better than everyone else around you, does nothing but damage to the creative process.  And of course sopranos and tenors are not the only culprits in the diva/o department.  Mezzos and Baritone/Basses can be just as bad, they just don't get the opportunity to do so as much.  

I'll admit, if I'm working with some one who treats me as an inferior person, I will in turn treat them as an ass.  And I don't care how famous or talented they are.  They won't get my best effort on stage.  And its not because I want them to fail.  Or the show to fail for that matter.  Its because of the energy the diva/o is putting off to their co-workers.  Its happened to me, and I feel bad about my attitude, but its almost a subconscious reaction.  A unnamed diva once told me to get my "fat chorus ass" out of her way.  Yeah, I openly yawned during her aria.  A director once referred to me as a child.  I spent all my time in the chorus running head first into walls.  Were my responses mature, of course not.  But it was my first initial reaction (which might say something about me...) I know I'm not alone either.  I'm we can all sit down and name the names of the worst people in the business to work with (I won't list names, because I feel it only perpetuates the cycle, and because I like my genitals where they are).  We've all seen divas/os demand a different tempo from the conductor, demand to be more center stage from a director, or unknowingly and uncaringly stand in front of a chorus member during their one solo line. 

So why do we encourage this behavior?  If a child displays the same characteristics as a diva, they would be disciplined.  My dad would have spanked my ass, and he probably still would today if I acted like a divo.  Isn't the fact that they usually receive the most applause at the end of the night enough?  Or the fact they usually get paid more than the rest of us?  What is it about their talent that makes them feel "holier than thou?"  I'm pretty sure if a diva craps in the woods, it still smells.  Even if you allow yourself to believe that the diva/o is the most talented person on the stage, in the building, or even in the city, does that make them better people than everyone else?  Does it make them Godlike?  I think not.

Obviously, not all singers are divas/os.   I've worked with a lot of amazingly talented singers, but what always sticks with me the most is not their abilities on stage, it's their personality off it.  Singers like Susanne Mentzer, Debbie Voigt, Brandon Jovanovich, Bryan Hymel, Joyce el-Khoury, Susanna Phillips, Danielle Pastin, David Portillo, Bryn Terfel, Joyce DiDanato, Jamie Barton, and a million others, not only amaze with their voices and acting ability, but blow you away with their humanity and compassion as a co-worker.  Those are the people I want to be like when I grow up.  I have no problem acknowledging their leading status on stage.  They are Divas and Divos in the best possible way in my book.  

So what can we do about the diva dilemma?  I think its simple- don't be a dick.  Treat others as you would like to be treated. Solves everything.  If you come to grips with the fact that we are all the same naked, that we all have the same parts, same insecurities, same passions, same desire to entertain, then it becomes a lot easier to join the process of creating.  And thats why we do what we do.

My standing motto in the business is simple- be a better person than you are a singer.  I really do strive to do that.  I don't always live up to it, but I try.  I thank the guy who hands me my prop.  I make sure to compliment the make up artist on the work they did on me.  I make sure to compliment my fellow singers on their work on stage.  It makes me feel better, hopefully make them feel better, and makes the overall process a better one.  And it cost me nothing.  

I'll applaud talent.  I'll cheer for it.  I'll stand up and yell "Brava."  But I will NOT worship it.  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Oh, it's happening. The requests have been numerous. The suggestions have been submitted. It. Is. Happening.

The final list will include, basses, bass-baritones, baritones, tenors, and maybe even surprise appearances by Barihunks.

We are Barichunks. We are funny, we are confident in ourselves, and we can SING.


Ps- thanks to Kyle Albertson for pushing the Barichunks movement

Friday, August 2, 2013

5 things to remember before every audition (Bari-Chunk Style)

I recently read a blog post on entitled '5 Things to Remember Before Every Audition.' Upon reading the title, I was intrigued. I thought, 'this could be great! Good advice for young singers who are headed to an audition.' Then I read it. I had a few issues with their Top 5. It was, well, too nice. It was a positive blog focusing on positive thinking and good vibes ect ect. That's fine. A positive attitude is a great thing to have in an audition. But their list seemed so far from the reality of what auditions are like. Auditions are not all rainbows and unicorn farts. They are hard, stressful, and a general pain in the ass.

Now, I have been called a pessimist in the past. That I'm just a curmudgeon. Not true. I'm a realist. And I'm all about being positive and supportive to fellow performers, but I believe in being honest as well.

Here is's Top 5, and my issues with them.

1. You are unique in the universe

So? So are snowflakes. So are potato chips. So is dog poop. Being unique does not give you a leg up. Think about it, if everyone is unique, then you are not special, because you're just like everyone else. Yes you have your own experiences to bring to your art, but so does everyone else auditioning. Uniqueness is not a gift, it's just a fact of life. What you do with you individuality in your performance prep, and performance is what matters during an audition.

2. You have the power to change the room

No you don't. It's a room. You don't have super powers. A room is just a room. Yes, I know Backstage was talking about the 'energy' in the room and how you can affect the people in the room with your art. I guess that's possible, but not probable. If you catch some one in a bad mood, they are probably not open to a musical experience, and therefore going to stay in a bad mood. Plus, you're not the only person they are listening to. 6 hours of listening to auditions has to be some kind of medieval torture.
This room is an oval now....

3. Feeling aren't forever

Ok... Backstage was talking about embracing the nerves, anxiety, ect of the audition and use those emotions in the audition. Um, bad idea. You know what no one wants to hear? Someone singing Don Giovanni as if he was nervous. Or an anxious Carmen. Or tired Tosca. Feelings don't last for ever, but memories sure last a long time. I remember all my bad auditions (granted, I've learned to look back and laugh at them now) and the people in the auditions remember them too. What did you think they were writing/typing while you were singing?

4. Your acting is important.

Duh! This is like saying remember to wear pants. Your signings important too, in case you didn't ink of that.

5. This is the most fun you can have, legally.

No it isn't. Skydiving is legal. Getting drunk is legal. Having sex is legal. Combing any or all of the aforementioned activities is legal. All are way more fun that auditioning.  Actually, most things are more fun than auditioning. Just my opinion...

So here's my list of 'Stuff You Should Know Before You Audition.'

1. You have less 30 seconds to make a good impression. 45 if you're lucky. That includes you walking in the door. So make it count. Smile, be polite, and start strong with your aria. After that, they are on to hinting about what to order for lunch.

2. When you walk in, they see dollar signs. For young artist stuff, you most likely had to pay a fee to sing their audition. You walk in, and they see how they are going to pay for lunch.

3. You are too fat/skinny/tall/short/male/female/ugly/pretty for the role you are singing for. They most likely already have the perfect someone in mind for the role, and you probably aren't it. Now they're wishing their lunch break would hurry up and arrive.

4. They don't want to be there either. Auditions suck for singers. It's 5-10 minutes of pure hell. It's awkward, uncomfortable, nerve racking, and stressful. Now imagine the people who have to sit there for 7-10 hour days listening to tons of singers all selling themselves, and their talent for the job. I've sat in auditions before. It's rough, long and boring.  By the 12th baritone to sing the Count's aria, they are starting to picture the singers as bacon turkey wraps from the deli down around the corner.

Yes, auditions are a necessary evil. We have to do them in order to get the work and get our name out there. So how do you deal with them? You just do. It's just 5-10 minutes of your life, and even if you screw up royally, no one will die. We're not performing brain surgery for Christ's sake. So walk into the room like you own it, do your job, sing your face off, and walk out with your head held high, and learn for the experience. Because in the end, that's all it is. One moment in time...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The $h!t we do for art

Everyone in the music biz knows how crazy it can be. We live a weird life, it's just that simple. We live out of suitcases, moving from hotel to hotel, town to town, missing our family, friends, and loved ones. And thats the glamorous part. Just kidding, kind of. There are obviously tons of good aspects to this career, or none of us would do it. The weirdest part to me is what we are willing to do to be a part of it though.

I spent 5 years in college, 2 years in grad school, 5 years in and out of young artist programs, training myself in languages, diction, musicality, vocal technique, stage craft, performance, and a 100 other things in order to make myself the best possible singer/performer I could. I worked hard (most of the time) and sacrificed a lot of time and money so I could make myself the best product out there. And after those 12 plus years of training what did I get? A generous offer from my parents to move back into their house. Ah, nothing like turning 30 and moving back into your childhood room. (Where do I put the whiskey bottle? Next to the high school year books or next to my childhood best friend, Floppy the stuffed dog? Decisions decisions....

Yet, despite all that, I trudged on. Why? No idea, other than I knew I had something to contribute to this crazy music world. And so I kept plugging along, taking singing jobs when I could get them. But despite the 2-3 gigs a year I was getting, somehow my bills were still mounting up. Who knew? So I did what every other singer in my position had done, I took 'normal' jobs.

95% (that's a 100% guess) of singers in the business have at one time or another had to work at a non singing job. I'm sure this happens to people in all kinds of professions, but for singers it's almost a requirement. So like many before and after me, I went on the search for 'regular' work.

The first major speed bump I found in my search was that transferring my somewhat impressive young singer resume into a professional real world resume. I have a two degrees in music, but it turns out most of those classes I took did nothing to prepare me for the 'real' world.

"What unique skills do you possess that would help you as a Barista?"
"Well, I can scream at customers in 4 different languages. 5 if you count Latin."
"Would you like fries with that?"

"Are you good with children?"
"I've portrayed the devil in no less than 4 different shows, so I'm sure kids will love me."

"How are your keyboard skills?"
"I passed piano 1-3. Oh, you meant computers. Yeah, I know what the buttons do."

"Any special skills?"
'I once ate two Chipotle burritos in one sitting."

Yes, I (and most singers) do have transferable skills. We're good communicators, have good people skills, hardship working, detail oriented, blah, blah blah. But no matter how hard you try to spruce up your résumé with flower language, and great character references, it still looks weird when your last real job was working produce in a grocery store. In 1997...

So I took the work I could get. It wasn't glamorous, but I got by. I had some good ones too (sarcasm).

Telemarketer- if you were called in the early 2000's by a sultry baritone asking if you'd be interested in a Discover card, it might have been me. 97.6% of the people I called hated me on principal. 1% were lonely and talked to me for that reason only. Another 1% just thought I had a pleasing speaking voice. .4% wanted the card.

Janitor- This wasn't actually too bad. I got to put on my headphones and vacuum carpets and clean toilets at elementary schools after school was out. I learned a good amount of new rep during that time. Just me singing opera with a vacuum strapped to my back for 6-8hrs. The best review I ever got came during that time. An 8 year old told me I sounded like God when he was angry. Ill take it. I should have been smarter though and not done the janitor work in the same school district I attended high school in. It's all fun and games till that one high school teacher who said you'd never amount to anything sees you scrubbing (what you hope is) chocolate off the bathroom stall and he gives you that smug 'I knew I was right' look... Random fact- elementary school girls don't like to flush the toilet. Not sure why, but they don't.

Gas station attendant- 'Welcome to Kum n Go! How can I help you?' Yes, I said Kum n Go. Ah, the good old Ejaculate and Evacuate. I worked there for a good 6+ months. I walked in for my first interview, and was almost immediately given an assistant manager position, mainly because I had worn pants to the interview (which took place in the cooler) and I wasn't high on meth. This job still haunts me. Little known fact- there is a secret war between gas station employees and truck drivers. Not sure why, when all I ever did was ask them to pay for goods they wished to purchase, and tell them to 'Kum again!' (Remember, I worked at Kum n Go. Get your minds out of the gutter.) For some reason, me just doing my job and being semi polite made them angrier than a squirrel with his nuts in a trap. And when truckers are mad, bathrooms take the brunt of it. Did you know it's possible for a woman to pee on the ceiling? I didn't till I had to go clean it off the ceiling. And poop, don't even get me started. 3 words- in a sink. Hold on a second, I have to go wash my hands again....

A wine vendor giving out samples at Costco and Sams Club- this probably sounds pretty easy and good it terms of part time work. Here's the thing, I hate wine. Can't drink it. Makes me so sick. Last time I had two glasses I passed out in the bar. So all I did for my 6hr shifts was lie to people about what the wine tasted like. 'Oh yeah, this has a deep earthy texture with subtle hints of blueberries, cloves, and unicorn farts. Goes well with chicken.' I guess it was a good acting exercise...

I had a ton of other crappy ones too. But thinking about my crap jobs got me thinking about my other singer friends and what they had to do for our art. So I asked them. Here are some of their responses (in no particular order)

1. Taste tester for Wrigley Gum corp.

2. Easter Bunny at the mall

3. Santa Clause

4. Chuck E Cheese

5. Emptying urine filled colostomy bags (still attached to patients)

6. Asic's marathon gear consultant (from a non runner)

7. Security (115lb woman)

8. 'Booth Babe' at Comicon.
'Quando men vo'

9. Chair masseuse at a bank

10. Escort (male and female)

11. Bouncer at a gay club ('Worst part was cleaning the bathrooms...')

12. Victorian living history museum tour guide (in full costume)

13. Puppeteer

14. Dog walker

15. Janitor at college during the night.  ('I did a show one night, and had to clean my own dressing room the next.')

16. Narrating erotic book

17. Donating blood, plasma, and platelets

18. Donating sperm

19. Nude model

20. Model for crappy romance novels

And my favorite- 21. Dubbing porn from German to English, and visa versa. Makes you wonder if you've really heard that guy next to on stage in an opera, or somewhere else.... Some thing about how he says 'oh ja!'

Yes, we've all done tons of weird crap to make this dream of ours come true. Is it worth it? Some times it doesnt feel like it does, but most days, 'oh, ja!'

-the departed

More good sangin

Hey y'all-

First off, sorry for the absence. Actually been quite busy. Who knew being a singer could be so much work?

Second off, it's come to my attention that some people still don't understand the purpose of this blog. For a full in depth break down of the blog, I refer you to the blog manifesto. For those of you who just want the cliff notes, here you go: the title 'Bari-Chunks' is just a play on the title of the way more widely read 'Barihunks' blog. The purpose is promoting good singing of low voice singers out there, REGARDLESS of body type. Big, small, short, tall, black, white, it doesn't matter. I AM NOT CALLING ANY OF THE SINGERS ON HERE FAT. I'm trying to pay them a complement in my own odd way. The blog also has evolved to include my friends and I discussing other topics in the opera world, ranting, trying to impart what little wisdom we have, and jut being funny. I am really sorry if anyone was actually insulted by this blog.

Ok, now that that's out of the way, back to our regularly scheduled program. Two more singers for you today.

Craig Verm

This Barihunk, yes, I said Barihunk. (he's actually on their calendar) is the real deal. Not only is he a good looking guy, he can sing. Flat out great singing. On top of that, he's a loving husband, father, and friend. He's too perfect. Pretty sure he's got a collection of Barbie dolls or something at his house...
Pretty sure he's inking about his Barbie doll collection here:)

This summer, Craig could be heard singing Mercutio in Romeo et Juliette and Ned Keene in Peter Grimes, both at Des Moines Metro Opera. He's currently singing Billy Budd in Santiago, Chille.

Here he is singing the Pearl Fiashers duet with Sean Panikkar

Next up...

Wayne Tigges

Not sure if Wayne is a Barihunk as well, but my guess is yes. Regardless, he's a singer, and a good one at that.

Heard here in an excerpt of the catalogue aria from Don Giovanni, you can a small taste of Mr Tigges's power on stage

Also, like Mr Verm, Wayne is an all around good guy. Whether it be poker, guitar jam session, or many other things unmentionable here on this blog, Wayne is a stand up guy and good colleague. He also loves Kung Fu.

You can insert your own caption here...

Wayne is currently singing Archibald Duglas in La Donna del lago at Santa Fe Opera.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Where's the beef?

Not only is Dame Kiri Te Kanawa an amazing singer and performer. She's also brilliant. In a recent interview with The Independant, Dame Kiri commented on the 'weight issue' in the opera business saying 'Young singers today are becoming more beautiful than their voices.' Amen.

Click for article

I could write at length on this subject. I probably will soon, but I haven't had enough coffee this morning. Bottom line, it's about the voice, not the look. Yes, looks are important, but they are secondary. We're singers, not underwear models (thank god for me). 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bloggy blog blogs

Got a couple more blogs for you to follow and/or just check out and/or disregard entirely.

First up- Double D-Vas a blog ' highlighting Divas and their Décolletage!  There are some really beautiful women in opera, after all...'  Amen!

Click for link

This blog is written by friends of the Bari-Chunk Meloni Grossi, Holly Hooters, and Moe TeBoté. Some of the initial Divas highlighted include: Isabel Leonard, Joyce El-Khoury, and Susanna Phillips. And there is no shortage of gorgeous women to be highlighted. Definitely worth the read...

Next up- Ramblings of a Bald Man. A blog that, well, is exactly what it sounds like. Friend of the Bari-Chunk, Alex Mansoori, jots down his random thoughts with his unique sense of humor. Good stuff.
Click for link



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Death by Aria

Ah summer. The season of pools, grills, freshly mown grass, thunder stroms, and summer festivals. As I participate in one of the many summer programs, I find myself reflecting upon my time as a young artist. Many memories and emotions come to mind when I think of those times; friendships made, frustrations shared, alcohol consumed, but the main emotion that I have now is relief that I'm not a young artist any more.


Being a young artist is tough! Good lord, the things we do for this art form. Long hours, little pay, moderate respect, less than ideal living situations, and very high expectations. And why an outsider might find themselves asking? Why would we put ourselves through all that??? Well, the answer is obvious. We do it because, well, I really don't know. We do it because someone told us to do it, it's what all singers do, and because as artist we like to torture our souls.

Standard young artist housing

It's not all bad though. Having spent 9 summers in different young artist summer programs, I can say that some of them were the best summers of my life. Made great friends, had great times, and even occasionally, made some good music. (Also might have cut some years off my life due to the amount of alcohol I drank. In case you didn't know, opera singers can drink. I'm pretty sure opera singer's Native American name would be 'One Whose Liver Fears No Cocktail')


The most stressful part of any summer program is the 'Death by Aria' day. On this fateful day, whether it be at the beginning, or end of the summer, each young artist stands before their colleagues, teachers, music staff, donors, conductors, directors, principal artist, managers, heads of companies, parents, long lost cousins, random janitors and sings an aria for all to hear. It's stressful (not that any audition isn't slightly stressful, but this one sucks just a little bit more than the rest). You get all dressed up, you rehearse with the accompanist, and you wait your turn to take the stage, all the while wondering if your warmed up enough, or if you chose the right aria, or if your dress goes with your shoes, or if this audition could be your big break.  Talk about a stressful. And all for 2-7 minutes of singing.

Despite its depressing name, no one has ever died during said event. Well, none that I know of. It is, however, in my opinion, a form of mid evil torture. So much stress, so much worry, for so very little (if any) pay off for the singer. So why in the name of Jebus do companies make singers do this???

As I sat this year listening to a fresh group of young singers standing before God and all, singing their hearts out, I found a new appreciation for this daunting event. I found it highly entertaining. Mainly because I didn't have to do it, and I could enjoy the young artists suffering (Shaudenfraude, my true love), but also for positive reasons. I was able to hear some good singing, I was able to put face with arias, which helped me learn who people were faster (I'm really not good at learning people's names the old fashioned way), I was able to see a lot of the singers personality in both the performance and in how they handled themselves before and after the piece, I saw how they handled the stress, and selfishly, I was able to see what the people on 'the other side of the table' experience in auditions. That can only help me become a better auditioner. I'm guessing that's some of the reasons why companies do this to us. It's a quick (and painful) way to get to know us as singers and people.

All that being said doesn't help alleviate the stress of the young artist though. So, I guess I should give a bit of advice to the young singers. My advice- don't stress it. Having done several of these, and many, many, many more auditions on top of that, I can honestly tell you that stressing about it fixes nothing. It's actually detrimental. But I also know telling someone not to stress is like telling someone not to think of a pink elephant. Can't be done.

'Whats everybody staring at?'

So lets look at this logically. What is the worst that can happen? If you go up and crack a note, or mess up a word, or even, God forbid, have to stop, what's the worst that can happen to you? Well, no one died, so that's a plus. In fact, that's really the most important thing. You live to fight another day. Worst thing that will happen is that you wont get the job you were auditioning for, and when you think about it, isnt all that bad. Yes we want work, and yes we want to sing well, but all in all, there are much worse things that can happen. Thank God we're not doctors...

Bad auditions will happen. They happen to everyone. As Billy Joel said 'Mistakes are the only thing we can truly call our own.' So own yours, learn from them, and try not to repeat them. Pretty sure that's the basic sign of human intelligence.

'I said that? Must have been drunk...'

So, what can you learn from a bad audition? Basically the same thing as we can learn from a good audition. Maybe you realize that you needed more sleep the night before, or you shouldn't have had chipotle before you sang (mmmmmmm, chipotle), or that singing that new aria that wasn't quite ready yet was a mistake, or that you didn't warm up enough, or that you weren't on your breath, ect ect. These are fixable thing, things you as a singer and performer can work on and fix.
Possible Bari-Chunks sponsorship???

In my humble opinion, there is no such thing as perfection, and we can therefore learn from every audition, good or bad, to help better ourselves and our craft.  Learning to sing is a process, a very long process. One that we will work on for the rest of our lives. We might as well accept the fact that we will screw up from time to time. Sometimes, epically. But in the end, it's not that big of a deal. We can always do better next time. The plus side of auditioning is that there usually is a next time, and another chance...

So young artists out there being forced to sing in a 'Death by Aria' event, don't sweat it. It's a good thing, for you and for the people watching.

Kickin it old school

In keeping with the original purpose of Bari-Chunks, here are two amazing singers who deserve some recognition:

Todd Thomas
Renowned Verdi Baritone Todd Thomas has been praised for, well, amazing singing. All over the world. If you ever get a chance to see him do Rigoletto, or anything for that matter, run, do not walk, to see him. Not only does his voice cut deep into what ever room he's singing in, it pierces you. He committal to his character is a sight to be seen. 

Here's his Cortiganni (click photo for YouTube)

Um, I'd scream like a little girl if I saw this in a dark alley...

 He is currently sing Balstrode in Britten's Peter Grimes at Des Moines Metro Opera.

Next up:

Greer Grimsley

Wagnerian Bass-Baritone recently made his long awaited debut singing Wotan at the Metropolitan Opera. Nothing less than spectacular in all 3 shows, Greer has proven himself the leading Wotan in the operatic world. 

Heard he singing a little number from The Flying Dutchman, you can really get a sense of the power and beauty of this mans voice. (Click the picture for the YouTube)

One Wotan to rule them all...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rhoslyn Jones

I try to be funny. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not. I try to be smart. I'm shooting 50/50 on that one too. Sometimes I try to be wise. My handicap on that is that I'm not wise. I've even tried to do all three of those together. Well, Babe Ruth struck out lots of times, and Michael Jordan was cut from his 8th grade basketball team, and I'm sure Albert Einstein was picked on for his hair... Point is, we can't all be perfect all the time.

But then there is Rhoslyn Jones.

Friend of the Bari-Chunk, she has seemed to nail the trifecta in her posting on the blog, Ms In The Biz, a blog dedicated '...Ms. In The Biz is the premium online destination for women in entertainment who are looking for a positive community that shares resources, imparts wisdom, and fosters success.' 

 In Roz's first two posts, entitled 'You Look like an Opera Singer,' and 'Hauling My Curvy Ass and Mono-Boob to Yoga,' Ms Jones inspires me, makes me think, and most definitely makes me laugh. I highly recommend the read. 

(Roz- hope you don't mind being posted on a site called Bari-chunks...)