We recently set out to discuss the present state of singing among the rare vocal species known as “Verdi baritones” in a post of ours, Where Are The Verdi baritones?

To open up the discussion we put forward then the notion that there is a dozen or so fast-moving artists who just might be in line to collectively inherit a throne about to be left vacant by the scarcity of true-blue singers of the Verdi baritone roles. Major artists who have made Rigoletto, Simone, Di Luna and the rest of those parts theirs are approaching their sixties and winding down their careers. Others, mostly lyric voices who have attempted on their own terms to tackle the big Verdi roles have had varying degrees of success, but have failed to truly own those roles and to enter the international circuit singing the thirty six or so Verdi leading baritone roles.

We wrapped up our post with some questions and some wishes: “Are these fellows the new hope? I hope and think so. We need more young singers with the potential to keep the three dozen operas of Verdi in the repertory.”

Well. The post elicited a wide response from literally hundreds of fans coming from more than fifty countries. Among those who made sensible comments, the Americans raved about Quinn Kelsey, the Italians yelled “Bravo!” at the mention of Luca Salsi, and even a couple of Russians greeted the names of Ariunbaatar Ganbaatar and Amartuvshin Enkhbat with elation. None of that was surprising.

The nationalistic fervor made sense: who, in America is familiar with either one or both of the above mentioned Mongolians. And how many in Europe would recognize the name of the fast-rising Quinn Kelsey? That will hopefully change when and if the MET adds the names of Ganbaatar and Enkhbat to its Rolodex, and La Scala, Covent Garden or Hamburg or Vienna decide to issue Kelsey a contract.

Back in the days of the great baritone of the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s the MET boasted the likes of Americans Robert Merrill, Sherrill Milnes and Cornell McNeil. South Americans and Europeans Matteo Manuguerra, Jorma Hynninen, Leo Nucci, Nicolae Herlea and Ingvar Wixell sang the Verdi roles regularly in New York and abroad, along with their American counterparts. But in today’s world, which is getting smaller and more expensive, opera companies are tightening their budgets. That reflects in the increasing difficulty of hiring singers at the top of their game and keeping them around for a decent-length rehearsal period.

The absence of major international stars with their enormous fees on ours and Europe’s regional stages is a boon for early-career singers who are allowed to mature and blossom without the cruel exposure to the New York-London-Milan-Vienna public and critics.

So, back to Verdi baritones… Here are eleven singers whose names were suggested by several Opera-loving friends who visited www.Rafael’ to view our post. Two, with whose singing this listener is familiar were unwittingly overlooked in our original post. The other nine, one must confess, were not known by us.

These are the names we failed to mention. Click on the links. Enjoy. Comment.

Carlos Alvarez – O dei  ver’anni miei (ERNANI

Juan Jesus Rodriguez – Perfidi! All anglo…Pieta, rispetto, amore (MACBETH)

Dimitri Platanias – Alzati…Eri tu (Un ballo in maschera)

Stephen Powell – O Lisbonne (Dom Sebastien)

Nelson Martinez – Cortigiani, vil razza dannata (Rigoletto)

Jason Stearns – O dei  ver’anni miei (ERNANI (from 6:34)

Zachary Nelson – Nemico della patria (Andrea Chenier)

Simone Piazzola – Il ballen del suo sorriso (Il Trovatore)

David Wakeham – Alzati…Eri tu (Un ballo in maschera)

Scott Bearden – Di Provenza (La Traviata)

Marco Caria – Cruda, funesta smania (Lucia di Lammermoor)

Rafael de Acha  www.Rafael’ All About the Arts