Biography of Musica Bella Orchestra Guest Richard Holmes
|Richard Holmes began his operatic career at Lake George Opera Festival, where he sang Damis in Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe. His most recent appearance at Lake George was as Papageno in The Magic Flute, one of his most acclaimed and frequently performed roles.
He has performed more than 140 operatic and musical theater roles. Among his favorite roles are the comic bel canto baritone roles, such as Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Belcore in L’Elisir D’Amore, and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro.
One of Mr. Holmes’s specialties is his extensive Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire. He has sung 22 roles in all 13 of the Savoy Operas. Among his most admired performances are Grosvenor in Patience, Despard in Ruddigore, Giuseppe in The Gondoliers, and Jack Point in The Yeomen of the Guard. He has sung both the Pirate King and the Major-General in The Pirates of Penzance, Strephon and Mountararat in Iolanthe, and Ko-Ko and Pish-Tush in The Mikado. His most acclaimed G&S role is Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore, in which he made a highly praised debut with Glimmerglass Opera.
As an accomplished concert artist, Mr. Holmes has been a soloist with Brooklyn Philharmonic, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Richmond Symphony, New York Festival of Song, Bronx Arts Ensemble, and Canterbury Choral Society. His performances with Maestro Johannes Somary have included the baritone solos of Brahms’s German Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Die Erste Walpurgisnacht, and Simon in Handel’s Judas Maccabeus. At Cape May Music Festival, he sang an acclaimed performance of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, which was later broadcast on National Public Radio. Mr. Holmes is proud to have sung many contemporary operas in addition to his standard repertoire, including the title character of Noye’s Fludde, the Teacher in Weill’s Der Jasager, Lieutenant Lukash in The Good Soldier Schweik, and Charles Gloyd in Moore’s Carry Nation. Since singing the title role in Seymour Barab’s Phillip Marshall with Center for Contemporary Opera, Mr. Barab has requested him for the premieres of several of his works, most recently for the triumphant cantata Rest Eternal Grant Us with words by Kurt Vonnegut. This work was recently released by Newport Classics with Mr. Holmes as baritone soloist.
Recent engagements for Mr. Holmes have included the role of Ko-Ko in Whitewater Opera’s production of The Mikado and the role of George in Natchez Opera Festival’s production of She Loves Me. In 1998, Mr. Holmes performed the role of Schaunard in The Opera Company of El Paso’s production of La Bohéme and the roles of Sir Joseph Porter and Baron Zeta in Virginia Opera’s productions of HMS Pinafore and The Merry Widow. In 1999, he was soloist with Amor Artis Orchestra in Charpentier’s Te Deum and Mozart’s Coronation Mass in Amsterdam and Paris, ending with a triumphantly received performance at Notre-Dame Cathedral. He performed Orlofsky’s Footman in the Metropolitan Opera’s Die Fledermaus and appeared in this role in the Metropolitan’s Millenium Gala. In 2000, he debuted as soloist with Dessoff Choirs in Handel’s Israel in Egypt at Alice Tully Hall. He returned to Whitewater Opera as Belcore in L’Elisir D’Amore, and sang his first Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Sioux City Symphony.
In 2002, he sang Jesus and the Bass arias in Bach’s St. John Passion with Amor Artis Orchestra and recorded Kurt Weill’s Berlin Requiem with Manhattan Chamber Orchestra before embarking on a tour of Spain, singing works by Bach and Charpentier in Madrid and Barcelona. The same season, he appeared as Mamm’Agata in Donizetti’s Viva La Mamma at Sorg and Whitewater Operas, and moved to romantic lead as Danilo in The Merry Widow with Natchez Opera Festival.
In 2003, he made highly successful debuts with Lyric Opera of San Antonio (as Ko-Ko in The Mikado) and at Bob Jones University (Dandini in La Cenerentola), as well as popular concerts with Sioux City Symphony. He returned to El Paso Opera in 2004 for performances of Morales in Carmen and sang his first Ping in Turandot with New York Grand Opera. An event of particular happiness was Richard’s triumphant debut at the Buxton Festival in performances of HMS Pinafore (as Captain Corcoran), for which he garnered raves from both the public and the Manchester Guardian.
2005 will bring several concerts, including the title role of Handel’s Solomon with Amor Artis and a tour of England, his first performance of the title role of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Natchez Opera Festival, and performances as the Sergeant in Manon with the Metropolitan Opera—not to mention, of course, his role as Antonio Salieri in Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri with Musica Bella.
Musica Bella concerts: June 17, 2006; June 18, 2006; January 20, 2007