Born: March 22, 1945
In a nation boasting several excellent lyric baritones, Alan Opie stands apart for his large, incisive voice, handsome in sound and sufficiently generous in scale for the rigors of Verdi's heaviest baritone creations. In addition to his exceptional voice, Opie is an actor of compelling authority in a wide range of roles, stretching from a gallery of Britten portraits to Mozart's Figaro and Don Alfonso. He has been a fulcrum for Chandos Records' Opera in English series. After studying at the Guildhall School of Music and the London Opera Centre, Opie made his professional debut as Papageno, sung with the Sadler's Wells Opera in Liverpool. The following year he made his American debut at Santa Fe, singing Rochefort in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. In 1971, he sang Sid in Albert Herring at the Wexford Festival and in 1972, he became a member of the English Opera Group. In 1973 he was engaged by the English National Opera and began a lengthy relationship with that company. His first appearance at Covent Garden in 1971 was in a minor part, but he quickly moved into major roles. Subsequently, he was heard in the leading houses of Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Milan (La Scala), Munich, Paris, and Vienna, and at the Bayreuth and Glyndebourne festivals. For his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1994, he sang Balstrode in Peter Grimes, a role he later recorded and for which he received a Grammy. The same role brought him back to the Vienna State Opera, where his 1999 debut as Beckmesser had generated acclaim. The latter role brought Opie another Grammy for his participation in Solti's second recording of Die Meistersinger taped during concert performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1998, his vivid Falstaff at the English National Opera brought a nomination for the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Aside from opera appearances, Opie has been heard in concert in many of the world's most important venues. An often-recorded artist, Opie has committed to disc many of his most prominent roles. Among these are -- aside from the aforementioned Balstrode and Beckmesser -- Sid in Albert Herring, Cecil in Gloriana, Diomede in Walton's Troilus and Cressida, and a long list of Italian roles sung in English translation, including Ernani, Rigoletto, Tonio, Count di Luna (splendidly sung), and Enrico.