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 all Scala, Teatre del Liceu, Hamburg State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Netherlands Opera, Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, and Teatro de la Maestranza. His many roles include Wotan in Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen, Leporello in Don Giovanni, 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 role in 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, 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 2011-2012 season will find Mr. Held singing for the first time the role of Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca at The Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He will return to Bilbao, Spain to reprise the role of Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde. He begins 2012 in Munich, Germany in the title role in Wagner's Der Fliegende Hölländer and then returns to London's Royal Opera Covent Garden to reprise the role of Vodnik in Rusalka. He then takes on an exciting project singing two major roles in one evening when he debuts at the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto with Zemlinsky's A Florentine Tragedy and as the title role in Puccini's comedic favorite, Gianni Schicchi. He will complete the season singing the title role in Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.
The 2010-2011 was highlighted by Mr. Held's critically acclaimed performances in the title role in Alban Berg's operatic masterpiece, Wozzeck, at The Metropolitan Opera opposite Waltraud Meier and conducted by James Levine. The season saw Mr. Held appearing as Jockanaan in Salome opposite Deborah Voigt at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan. He repeated the role at both the Vienna State Opera and in Baden-Baden, Germany. Mr. Held returned to the Netherlands Opera in Fidelio and Barcelona's Grand Teatre del Liceu in Parsifal. He appeared in concert alongside fellow former Kansans Joyce Didonato and Samuel Ramey in a gala event with the Wichita Grand Opera. A frequent guest at the Bavarian State Opera, Mr. Held closed his season with performances in both Rusalka and Tristan und Isolde in Munich. Off the stage, Mr. Held returned to Yale University, where he has visited since 2002, to coach the singers of Yale Opera.
The 2009-2010 season had Mr. Held returning to the Washington National Opera as Gunther in concert performances of Götterdämmerung and to The Metropolitan Opera, where he has sung nearly 200 performances, as The Four Villains in a new production of Les Contes d'Hoffmann directed by acclaimed Tony Award winning director, Bartlett Sher. He also returned to the Bavarian State Opera for Salome and made his debuts with the Los Angeles Opera in Götterdämmerung and with the St. Louis Symphony in a concert performance of Die Walküre (Act 3) with acclaimed soprano, Christine Brewer under the baton of Maestro David Robertson. Mr. Held was the featured baritone soloist in a presentation by the International Contemporary Music Ensemble of the complete works of Edgard Varese. Mr. Held performed to outstanding reviews in the composition Ecuatorial at this sold out concert at New York's Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. Mr. Held also gave master classes and served as an Artist in Residence at Millikin University, Yale University, and Cedarville University during the 2009-2010 season.
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. A new DVD recording of Salome is set to be released in the 2011-2012 season which was recorded live in Baden-Baden, Germany.
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 is also a noted clinician and regularly gives public master classes and private coachings at Yale University.
Mr. Held resides with his family in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania.