Artist Of The Week: John Holiday Is A Countertenor On The Rise

By Francisco Salazar

John Holiday is one of the most promising countertenors of his generation. Holiday’s star is rising and this week he will once again have a chance to prove it at the Bruce R. Foote Foundation Concert.

The tenor, who is a recipient of the Bruce R. Foote award, will perform a concert that will show his talent in distinct repertoire, which includes music by Handel. The concert, which will be held in Texas, is to support young students with a background that has been historically under-represented in the advanced pursuit of classical vocal studies.

Critics have raved about Holiday and have stated that his voice is “powerful and agile and has an immense range, with seamless registers top to bottom.” As a result, audiences can expect a virtuosic concert that will leave them wanting more.

The concert is just one of the many achievements the young countertenor has accomplished this year. Last month he was awarded the Marian Anderson Award and that accolade will come with a recital at the Kennedy Center  next season. In April he is set to portray Tolomeo in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” at the Boston Baroque and in the summer he returns to the Glimmerglass Festival for the title role in Handel’s “Xerxes.”

The countertenor has quickly risen to fame since his debut at the Spoleto Festival in 2015 in the world premiere of “Paradise Interrupted.” Holiday is also known for having learned a role in one day when he   substituted as Zaida in “Veremonda, l’amazzone di Aragona” by Francesco Cavalli at Spoletto.

Among his recent achievements are his Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2012 in Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” as well as his debut with the Los Angeles Opera. Holiday has also been on the Metropolitan Opera roster where he covered the role of Nireno in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare in Egitto.”

The countertenor was an apprentice artist at Santa Fe Opera where he covered the role of Corrado in Peter Sellars’s production of Vivaldi’s “Griselda” and was seen as the Refugee in Jonathan Dove’s Flight for the Apprentice Scenes Program. Among the major competitions and awards he has won are the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Development Grant from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation and first prize from the Richard Tucker Foundation Sara Tucker award. He was also first place in the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition for 2013, the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.



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