The Scene


Alan Held

Alan Held


Recognized internationally as one of the leading singing actors today, American bass-baritone, Alan Held, has appeared in major roles in the world's finest opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, The Vienna State Opera, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, The Paris Opera, The Bavarian State Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatre del Liceu, Hamburg State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Netherlands Opera, Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, The Canadian Opera Company, and Teatro de la Maestranza. His many roles include Wotan in Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen, Amfortas in Parsifal, Scarpia in Tosca, The Four Villains in Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Jochanaan in Salome, Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde, Don Pizzaro in Fidelio, Orestes in Elektra, Balstrode in Peter Grimes, and the title roles in Gianni Schicchi, Der Fliegende Holländer, Wozzeck, and Cardillac.

Equally at home on the concert stage, he has performed with the world's leading orchestras including The Berlin Philharmonic, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Pittsburgh Symphony, The National Symphony Orchestra, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The BBC-Scottish Symphony Orchestra, The Paris Orchestra, The Kirov Opera Orchestra, and The Montreal Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared at the Salzburg and Tanglewood Festivals as well as the BBC Proms.

He has worked with the such distinguished conductors as James Conlon, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, James Levine, Sir Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Franz Welser-Möst, Kent Nagano, Sir Simon Rattle, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Jeffrey Tate.

The 2014-2015 season began with Mr. Held returning to The Vienna State Opera to sing one of his signature roles, Jockanaan in Salome. He repeated the role in San Antonio in early 2015. He returned to perform with The Washington National Opera at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Dialogues of the Carmelites and Der Fliegende Holländer. He will sing The Five Mystical Songs with the Wichita State University Chamber Chorale. He will also sing one his most performed roles, Pizarro in Fidelio at The Teatro Real in Madrid and with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and then return to the Bavarian State Opera to sing Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde. Future seasons will hear his Wotan/Wanderer in Siegfried with the Canadian Opera Company and in the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen with the Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center.

Mr. Held has established a close relationship with the Canadian Opera. He is a five time nominee for a Dora Mavor Moore Award which are annually presented by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts.

Mr. Held sang the role of Don Pizzaro for the 2003 EMI Classics recording of Beethoven's Fidelio with The Berlin Philharmonic under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. Mr. Held can be seen in the title role on the 2005 Harmonia Mundi DVD recording of Cardillac from The Paris Opera lead by Kent Nagano. He appears as Donner on the 1990 Deutsche Grammaphone DVD recording of Das Rheingold from The Metropolitan Opera conducted by James Levine. Also from The Met, Mr. Held can be seen as Peter on the 2008 EMI DVD recording of Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel staged by Richard Jones and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. In September 2011, Orfeo Records released a live recording of Rusalka that was made at the Salzburg Festival in 2008 with Mr. Held, Piotr Beczala, Camilla Nylund and the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst. A DVD recording from the 2011 Baden-Baden production of Salome, directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff, was recently released on the Arthaus Musik label.

A native of Washburn, Illinois, Mr. Held received his vocal training at Millikin University and Wichita State University. He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards including The Birgit Nilsson Prize. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Millikin University in 2000. He is also a noted clinician and regularly gives public master classes and private coachings at Yale University. In January, 2014, Mr. Held was named The Ann and Dr. Dennis Ross Faculty of Distinction in Opera at Wichita State University. He continues his active vocal career in addition to serving as an Associate Professor in the School of Fine Arts.

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