The costumes are usually spectacular, the staging is often splendid, and the talent is unsurpassed, but I’m still not the biggest fan of opera. That said, I might be swayed should the Hunk of the Day honoree Zachary Gordin be part of the production. His rich voice is about the only thing that surpasses his practically-perfect body, sculpted into opera jock form. But don’t take my mumblings for anything, read through the long list of accomplishments as furnished on his website:
Zachary Gordin is renowned for bringing masterful singing and strong physicality to a wide variety of roles: from baroque heroes, to contemporary works written specifically for him. For his performance of Schumann’s Dichterliebe at the Olympic Music Festival, the Seattle Times hailed him as “a singer already capable of some arresting musical insights. The occasional big effects were commanding and intense without ever descending into coarseness, and the delicacy and tonal allure he brought to the cycle’s preponderance of quiet songs were deeply impressive.” Recent operatic performances include Joseph De Rocher – the convict – in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking with Dayton Opera, Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte as a guest artist with the UC Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Visalia Opera Company, Escamillo in Carmen with Diablo Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Lyric Opera, Silvio in Pagliacci and Monterone in Rigoletto with Sacramento Opera, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas and El Cantaor in La vida breve with West Bay Opera, Germont in La Traviata with West Bay Opera and Center Stage Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with North Bay Opera and Center Stage Opera, and many others.
Equally at home as a soloist on the concert stage, Gordin has performed Monteverdi’s Magnificat with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Duruflé’s Requiem with the Valley Concert Chorale, Mendelssohn’s Magnificat with the Dominican Winifred Baker Chorale, Schubert’s Mass in E-flat and Psalm 92with the San Francisco Choral Society, Bach’s Cantata #82 “Ich habe genug” and Mozart’s Coronation Masswith the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht, Duruflé’s Requiem, and Schubert’s Mass in G with San Francisco City Chorus, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and Women Sing, and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Center Stage Opera Orchestra. Upcoming performances include: Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Shreveport Opera.
Gordin has been in high demand as a guest artist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, where has sung Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem, Verdi’s Otello, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, “A Night at the Opera”, as well as Orff’s Carmina Burana, for which Maestro Michael Morgan writes “Zachary Gordin is the ideal baritone for Carmina Burana. In addition to having a very full, powerful baritone, this is the best singing of the high, sensual music that I have ever heard. This is as good a rendering of those solos as one is ever likely to encounter.” As Carmina Burana has become a signature piece, over the past few seasons he has reprised this demanding role in performances with the YOSA Philharmonic and San Antonio Choral Society, Pacific Shores Philharmonic, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, the Santa Clara Chorale, the Choral Project, the UC Berkeley Choruses, and others. Recent premieres of works written for him have included “Constant Fever” by Sheli Nan, The Myth of Kurva by Loretta Notareschi, and “A Nation Announcing Itself” by Clint Borzoni for the Sacramento Pride Gala “Courage to Stand”.
Gordin’s talent has been recognized as a winner of prestigious vocal competitions, including: the Pacific Musical Society Competition, East Bay Opera League Vocal Competition, Bellini International Voice Competition, and the Ibla Grand Prize Baroque Music Competition. He was the recipient of the Irene Patti Swartz Encouragement Award for the Florida Grand Opera National Voice Competition, and Grantee of the Vocal Arts Foundation in San Francisco. He was also World Finalist for the Academia at Teatro alla Scala, Regional Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the youngest candidate selected for the ORFEO 2000 World Competition of International Finalists hosted by Hannover Staatsoper. In addition to his performance calendar, Gordin maintains an active schedule training singers, and presenting workshops and master classes for opera companies and universities throughout the US.