Alan Held

"One of Opera's Finest Singing Actors"

Well into his fourth decade 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”. An active concert performer, he has appeared 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 Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Kirill Petrenko, Christoph Eschenbach, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, James Conlon, Sir Charles Mackerras, Zubin Mehta, Franz Welser-Möst, Kent Nagano, Sir Simon Rattle, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Jeffrey Tate.

The 2023-2024 season has Mr. Held returning to Carnegie Hall to sing a performance of "Gurrelieder" with the American Symphony Orchestra and debuting with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic as Scarpia in Puccini's "Tosca". In the 2022-2023 season, Mr. Held appeared at the Chautauqua Institution as Scarpia in “Tosca” and as Daniel Webster in “The Mother of Us All”. The year continued with performances of “Die Walküre, Act 3” in concert with Christine Goerke at Detroit Opera, Reverend Olin Blitch in “Susannah” (co-production between of the Wichita Grand Opera and Wichita State University), and performances of “The Magic Flute" in the holiday presentation at The Metropolitan Opera.   Recent seasons had Mr. Held returning to the Wiener Staatsoper to sing one of his most performed roles, Jochanaan (“Salome”). He also appeared with the Orchestre de Métropolitan in “Fidelio” under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Mr. Held recently returned to the Washington National Opera as Scarpia in “Tosca”. He has appeared with the company in nearly 25 productions in the past 31 years at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He also appeared with the Hessische Rundfunks Sinfonieorchester in concert presentations of “Der Freischütz”. The concerts were recorded for a Fall 2019 release on the Pentatone label.
Mr. Held appeared in a special concert of highlights from Wagner Dramas at the Boston Wagner Society and as the Bass Soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Wichita Symphony. He also appeared with Maestro David Robertson and The Sydney, Australia Symphony Orchestra in “Peter Grimes”. Mr. Held appeared with The Cleveland Orchestra as part of their gala centennial season. The orchestra reprised their highly acclaimed production of Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” with performances in Cleveland, Vienna, and Luxembourg. Mr. Held also sang the opera with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in February, 2018. He further participated in the Cleveland Orchestra 100th Anniversary Season in concert performances of “Tristan und Isolde”. He returned to the Vienna Staatsoper to sing his acclaimed interpretation of Jockanaan in “Salome” and to sing, in a new production, the role of Caspar (role debut) in “Der Freischütz”. Mr. Held sang a concert of highlights from “Der Ring des Niblungen” with Christine Goerke, Simon O’Neill, and Eric Owens at Wolf Trap with the National Symphony Orchestra. 
  Mr. Held established a close relationship with the Canadian Opera. He was the recipient of the Dora Mavor Moore award (“Outstanding Male Performance) presented by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. The COC production of “Siegfried”, also won this prestigious award. Mr. Held played the role of Wotan/Wanderer in this highly acclaimed run of performances.   Recent recordings include the spectacular Marek Janowksi conducted CD of Weber’s “Der Freischütz” on the Pentatone label with the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra. Mr. Held sang the role of Don Pizzaro for the 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 Harmonia Mundi DVD recording of “Cardillac” from The Paris Opera lead by Kent Nagano. He appears as Donner on the 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 EMI DVD recording of Humperdink’s “Hansel and Gretel” staged by Richard Jones and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski. Orfeo Records released a live recording of “Rusalka” that was made at the Salzburg Festival with Mr. Held, Piotr Beczala, Camilla Nylund and the Cleveland Orchestra under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst. A DVD recording from the 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 Wichita State University. He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards including The Birgit Nilsson Prize.
He is also a noted clinician and has, since 2002, given public master classes and private coaching sessions 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 currently serves as the Director of Voice and Opera studies at WSU. He continues his active vocal career in addition to serving as a Professor in the College of Fine Arts. Students of Mr. Held are members of prestigious young artist programs including the Lindemann Young Artist Program at The Metropolitan Opera and at the Adler Fellowship Program at The San Francisco Opera. Since 2016, Mr. Held has been a guest Master Teacher at The Miami Music Festival Wagner Institute. Mr. Held has twice served as the Artist in Residence for the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at The Washington National Opera, a position he held as well during the 2015-2016 season. He also served as the Artist in Residence at The Wolf Trap Opera Company. He has served on two grant writing panels for the National Endowment of the Arts. In July, 2021, Professor Held became the Director of Sacred Music at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, Kansas. He resides in Wichita where he is the father of four and the grandfather of three beautiful granddaughters.