Countertenor John Holiday has established himself as “one of the finest countertenors of his generation” (Los Angeles Times). His voice has been praised as “a thing of astonishing beauty” (New Yorker), “arrestingly powerful, secure and dramatically high” (Wall Street Journal), and “timeless” (Washington Post). Holiday’s unique voice and powerful story have been the subject of profiles in The New Yorker, CNN’s Great Big Story, Los Angeles Times, and more.
Holiday will begin his 2023-24 season as a featured soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society for a performance of Handel’s Messiah in November. The season continues in January 2024 with Handel’s Agrippina with the Dutch National Opera, where Holiday will perform the role of Nerone. Then in February, he will perform at Washington Adventist University in a recital alongside world-renowned bass Morris Robinson, as well as Brandie Sutton, Aaron Crouch and more, followed by a solo recital at Pensacola Opera later that same month. In March, Holiday will be featured at Jazz at Lincoln Center for an American Songbook recital, and join the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra to perform Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in a program conducted by Jaime Martín also featuring soprano Amanda Forsythe. At PACNYC, in conjunction with Trinity Church Wall Street, Holiday will be a featured soloist in the premiere of Luna Pearl Woolf’s Oratorio in April, then return to The Metropolitan Opera to reprise his roles in the restaging of Kevin Puts’s The Hours following last season’s highly-anticipated stage premiere. To finish out the season, Holiday will perform at Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera) in the role of Prince Go Go in György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre. Holiday will also appear at Arizona Opera and the University of Michigan for recitals and masterclasses.
In his 2022-23 season, Holiday was a featured artist with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. He then continued to Quantum Theatre in Claire van Kampen’s production of Idaspe, where he made his debut in the title role alongside mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, followed by the screening and streaming release of his acclaimed film After/Glow on the Opera Philadelphia Channel as part of their event Shorts: The Opera We Made. Holiday also made his return to The Metropolitan Opera as the Man Under Arch and Hotel Clerk roles for the stage premiere of Kevin Puts’s The Hours in November 2022. In 2023, Holiday debuted as a featured artist in the world premiere of Four Portraits (Caroline Shaw/Jocelyn Clark) at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Holiday also joined the Pittsburgh Opera in May to star as John Blue in their production of We Shall Not Be Moved, directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner and Kennedy Center Honoree Bill T. Jones.
An acclaimed concert singer, Holiday has performed at world-renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, London’s Barbican Center, and the Philharmonie de Paris. His career highlights include a tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Sorceress in Barrie Kosky’s production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, and the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice as Orpheus’s Double at the Los Angeles Opera; the world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s We Shall Not Be Moved with Opera Philadelphia and the Dutch National Opera; title role in Xerxes at the Glimmerglass Festival; and Caesar in Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto at Wolf Trap Opera. In addition to the traditional concert performances and recitals, Holiday has curated The John Holiday Experience (JHE) to showcase his affinity and talent for many different genres that includes classical, pop, jazz, and R&B. He has performed the program on a national scale, bringing it to Dallas, Des Moines, and Dayton, with plans to continue the eclectic evening of song in his upcoming seasons.
Outside of classical repertoire, Holiday excels in jazz, gospel, and pop music having opened for Grammy award winner Jason Mraz in concert. In 2018, Holiday sang the national anthem for his hometown team the Houston Rockets, and in 2019, Holiday performed at the star-studded Ozwald Boateng Harlem Runway Show at The Apollo Theater, in a performance that was covered by Vogue, Forbes, and CNN, and attended by celebrities Jamie Foxx, Idris Elba, Dapper Dan and others. Additionally, in 2019 Holiday performed Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” at the Apollo Theater Spring Gala. His debut pop single “Alive in Me” was released in August 2021, followed by two more singles: “Waste Mine” and “Love Finds A Way”. Holiday released a Future Rave remix of “Love Finds A Way” through UnitedMasters on August 19, 2022.
Holiday has been the recipient of numerous major competitions and award programs such as the 2017 Marian Anderson Vocal Award; the 2014 Richard Tucker Foundation’s Sara Tucker award; first place at the 2013 Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition, the 2012 Sullivan Foundation, and the 2011 Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition; and third place winner in the 2014 OPERALIA competition. In addition, Holiday was selected among WQXR’s prestigious 20 for ‘20 Artists to Watch, named one of BroadwayWorld’s “New York Opera Gifts that Keep on Giving,” nominated for “Newcomer of the Year” by the German magazine Opernwelt, and listed as one of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 100 honorees for 2018. In May 2023, Holiday announced his appointment as an Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Maryland School of Music beginning in Fall 2023.
John Holiday 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.