NBC’s The Voice finalist is now singing Schumann

NBC’s The Voice finalist is now singing Schumann


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2022

Countertenor John Holiday, a surprise finalist on NBC’s The Voice, has followed up with a filmed cycle of Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe.

Now that takes courage.

Here’s the trailer.

You won’t be hearing this from Jackie Evancho.


  • Golaud says:

    Really poorly sang.
    Where are the dynamics, the colors, the text?

    But I guess it has artistic relevance ONLY because it is something “weird” done by a non-white singer.

    Enough is enough.

    • Brian says:

      It’s intersectional and that’s all that matters these days. Who cares about thinks like text, or voice? It’s enough just to get the notes out.

    • EagleArts says:

      Mr. Holiday is a wonderfully gifted artist. Enough is enough to ridiculously stupid comments such as yours!

      Holiday made his Carnegie Hall debut in October 2012, performing Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Spano. He made his debut at Portland Opera in the role of 1st Oracle and 1st Cardinal in Kevin Newbury’s 2012 production of Galileo Galilei by Philip Glass under the baton of maestra Anne Manson. He reprised those roles in his 2013 debut at the Cincinnati Opera.

      In 2013 he took on the title role in the James Darrah production of Radamisto at the Juilliard School. At Wolf Trap Opera that year he performed the title role in Giulio Cesare in Egitto. In 2014, he also made his Los Angeles Opera debut as the Sorceress in the Barrie Kosky production of Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

      In 2015, he originated the role of Male Soloist No. 1 in the world premiere of Huang Ruo’s Paradise Interrupted at the Spoleto Festival USA, a role he repeated in New York at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2016 and in Shanghai for the Art Macau Festival.

      At the Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2015, he sang the role of Giulio Cesare in Tazewell Thompson’s production of Antonio Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica. He returned to sing the title role in Handel’s Xerxes in the summer of 2017. In November 2015, he joined Parnassus Arts in concert performances of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Adriano in Siria in Versailles and Krakow.

      In January 2017, he won the Marian Anderson Vocal Award. In September 2017, he sang in the Opera Philadelphia world premiere of Daniel Bernard Roumain’s chamber opera We Shall Not Be Moved. He repeated that performance at the Dutch National Opera in March 2018, his European debut. He then sang Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms on tour with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in New York, London, and Paris.

      In December 2019 he performed the alto part in Handel’s Messiah with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra.

      In February 2020 he sang in the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice at the Los Angeles Opera. He is scheduled to make his Metropolitan Opera debut in that opera in December 2021.

      • Golaud says:

        I can give you hundreds of bios of much more talented young singers – who don’t get the same exposure of Mr. Holiday just because they don’t belong to the categories which are in trend today.

        Look at Mezzo Raehann Bryce-Davis – 4 page feature in Opera News. There are singers with actually a career who had to fight much much harder to get such exposure.

        • EagleArts says:

          I’ve worked with Ms. Bryce-Davis, and she is great. What’s your point: “belong to the categories which are in trend today.”?

          Mr. Holiday is an operatic singer who also happens to sing in a variety of styles and genres. He competed and was a finalist on The Voice, which is hugely popular. IMO that gave him a ton of exposure, along with his wonderful singing in Aucoin’s “Euridice”….

          Are you claiming Mr. Holiday & Ms. Bryce-Davis do not have “careers”? Why are you so bitter about the exposure these artists are receiving? Are you unfamiliar with history?

          • Golaud says:

            Nothing to do with history!
            And nothing to do with race.
            It’s a CULTURAL thing.
            I assume people growing up in New Orleans have less exposure to Opera than somebody born in Firenze.
            Because Opera in Italy it’s part of the culture. Period.
            But to say that because they have been fewer black singers in Opera it means Opera is racist is BS.

          • EagleArts says:

            For how many years have you had mental problems?

          • Golaud says:

            You have zero arguments so the only thing you can do it’s to start insulting.
            BRAVO!!!! well done to you.

          • La plus belle voix says:

            Quite. Ad hominem the last resort of the wicked.

          • Lentyl Soup says:

            Nothing to do with race yet the first comment is shrouded in racist rhetoric. It’s only appealing because he’s black? Did you forget the fact that he’s playing the piano and accompanying himself? Or because he isn’t white, THIN, half naked and breakdancing there’s an issue? The world of Opera is so unbelievably racist and I feel so bad for John Holiday having to endure this treatment. It’s really sad.

          • golaud says:

            Grace Bumbry was Venus in Tannhäuser at Bayreuth in 1961.
            Leontine Price sang Aida at the WSO in 1958… when you guys still had segregation.

            Your sense of guilty and your effort to clean your consciousness should be your own problem: leave Europe and the Opera World in general OUT OF IT!!!!!

          • EagleArts says:

            What are you talking about? Your ranting makes no sense.

            “But I guess it has artistic relevance ONLY because it is something “weird” done by a non-white singer.”

            Take a deep breath and calm down……..

  • Michel Lemieux says:

    Most opera singers should stay away from lieders. Even Jonas Kaufmann can’t pull them off. Mr. Holiday would be better off singing American and English art songs. He should continue singing in new American operas which are his forte.

  • christopher storey says:

    What a truly awful noise ; no voice ; no talent

  • Sam McElroy says:

    To the quite nasty detractors above. I have sung Dichterliebe many times, and I clicked on this video in anticipation of being horrified. I wasn’t, at all. I understood every word and the dynamics – for home recording and self-accompanying – were text-driven and quite beautiful. This isn’t an official recording, just (as far as I can tell) a nice video offering from someone who is obviously enjoying this repertoire and wants to share it on YouTube. And what could be better than someone with “exposure” exposing Schumann’s melodic and harmonic genius to a young audience. I’m sure this is no threat to the futures of any other young, competent singer out there. Let’s save the “intersectionality” accusations for when they truly apply. And perhaps think about being a little kinder to someone showing initiative.

  • La plus belle voix says:

    How about listening to the goods everyone?


    Personally, I found it wearing on the ear, that single rather abrasive timbre. It is all mf, with no variation in the vibrato. And he gasps too often in order to snatch a quick breath. He is emitting too much air for the amount of sound produced. Ask any singing teacher.

    Maybe he’s a male soprano (well, mezzo) in terms of vocal technique. I do wonder what is really going on with the vocal cords and if he is building up vocal fold nodules.

    There are patently better counter-tenors out there.

    Try this:


    That is called technique and musicality, combined with fidelity to the text.