Countertenor John Holiday, winner of the 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, one of Broadway World’s “New York Opera 2015 Gifts that Keep on Giving” and nominee for “Newcomer of the Year” by the German magazine Opernwelt, has quickly established himself as a fast-rising singer to watch. His voice has been praised as “a thing of astonishing beauty” (New Yorker), “arrestingly powerful, secure and dramatically high” (Wall Street Journal), “exceptional [and] strong...even in its highest range” (The New York Times) and “timeless” (Washington Post).
Holiday’s 2018-19 season comes off the heels of being chosen as one of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 honorees for 2018, in the company of individuals such as Madeleine Albright, Glenn Close, and Janelle Monáe among others, and he will be a featured performer at the YBCA 100 Summit in November. Holiday then brings his Baroque expertise to a role debut as Nero in Agrippina with Ars Lyrica, Handel's Israel in Egypt with MasterVoices at Carnegie Hall, and makes his debut with the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor as the Alto Soloist in Handel’s Messiah. His season continues with his debut at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts in Taiwan, singing the role of the First Male Voice in Huang Ruo’s engrossing chamber opera Paradise Interrupted, a role he created at the Spoleto Festival in 2016 for the world premiere.
This all comes fresh off of a busy and exciting 2017-18 season, having begun with his Opera Philadelphia house debut singing the role of John Blue in the world premiere of Daniel Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved. The production, directed by the award-winning Bill T. Jones, premiered in Philadelphia before going to New York City’s famed Apollo Theater in October 2017. As the winner of the 2017 Marian Anderson Award, Holiday gave a recital at the Kennedy Center in February 2018, marking his Kennedy Center debut. Holiday’s season continued with his European debut in March 2018 for another performance of We Shall Not Be Moved with the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, and a tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil, singing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms in Los Angeles, New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican, and the Philharmonie de Paris. He closed out his season performing the role of the Refugee in Jonathan Dove's Flight at Des Moines Metro Opera to critical acclaim.
Past highlights have included singing the title role in Xerxes at the Glimmerglass Festival in 2017, a debut with Boston Baroque in the role of Tolomeo in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto in 2016, Holiday’s 2016 Spoleto Festival debut in the world premiere of Paradise Interrupted, his 2014 debuts with Los Angeles Opera as the Sorceress in Barrie Kosky’s acclaimed production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and with Wolf Trap Opera as Caesar in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, as well as engagements with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Chorus of Westerly in Rhode Island, the Nashville Symphony, and programs with Ars Lyrica and Mercury Baroque in Houston, Texas. Holiday joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in 2013 to cover the role of Nireno in David McVicar's acclaimed production of Giulio Cesare in Egitto, and his operatic stage debut was with Portland Opera in Galileo Galilei.
"The voice that rang from the stage that day was unique, powerfullyc lear with clarion high notes... In the balcony, people exchanged looks of astonishment."
- San Francisco Classical Voice
In addition to the Marian Anderson and YBCA 100 Awards, numerous other major competitions and award programs have recognized Holiday’s accomplishments. He is a 2014 recipient of the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Development Grant from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and is also a recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation, first prize from the Richard Tucker Foundation Sara Tucker award, and third place winner of OPERALIA. He was awarded first place at both the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition for 2013 and the Sullivan Foundation for 2012. Holiday also received a first place win at the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition. In 2007, he was the first place winner in his district of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Alongside his classical repertoire, Holiday excels in jazz and gospel music having opened for Grammy award winner Jason Mraz in concert. Holiday recently released his debut jazz album entitled The Holiday Guide.
He received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Master of Music in vocal performance from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music and the Artist Diploma in Opera Studies from The Juilliard School in New York City. Holiday grew up in Rosenberg, Texas, located near Houston, and attended the town’s public schools.