Bernard Holcomb

Bernard Holcomb

Tenor Bernard Holcomb has “already made a name for himself in the world of opera” with his “delicate and flexible” voice (Opera Wire) and the “appealing sweetness and clarity [of] his tone” (New York Times). Katy Walsh of Chicago Theater Beat said it best: “Although everyone [at Lyric Opera of Chicago] can sing, Holcomb reminds us why we come to the Lyric.”  Most recently, Holcomb returned to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Lush Life: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, after making his début there in 2019 with Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown.

This season, Mr. Holcomb makes his house début at Opera Omaha in X, the Life and Times of Malcolm X, performs with On Site Opera as Harlekin in Kaiser von Atlantis, and will take part in the workshop of a new piece with Santa Fe Opera called The Pigeon Keeper. In concert, he performs Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and Hailstork’s A Knee on the Neck with New York Choral Society, a holiday concert with the Cincinnati Pops under the baton of Mo. John Morris Russel, and as the star soloist in Jacksonville Symphony’s concert Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. In January 2023, Holcomb returns to Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem with Fort Worth Opera after its world premiere in the 21-22 season. 

 

Calendar

Event Date
Jun 18
to
Jun 25
The Central Park Five
Kevin Richardson
Long Beach Opera
Long Beach, CA
Event Date
Aug 12
to
Aug 14
Ariadne Auf Naxos
Tanzmeister
Lakes Area Music Festival
Brainerd, MN
Event Date
Nov 4
to
Nov 6
X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X
Opera Omaha
Omaha, NE
Nov 21
Der Kaiser von Atlantis
Harlekin
On Site Opera
New York, New York
Event Date
Dec 9
to
Dec 11
Holiday Concert
Soloist
Cincinnati Pops
Cincinnati, OH
Event Date
Jan 13
to
Jan 14
Concert: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn
Soloist
Jacksonville Symphony
Jacksonville, FL
Jan 22
to
Jan 23
Mendelssohn's Elijah
Soloist
Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra
Hilton Head, NC
Jan 28
An African American Requiem
Soloist
Fort Worth Opera
Fort Worth, TX
Event Date
Jun 13
Hailstork's "A Knee on the Neck"
Soloist
New York Choral Society
New York, New York

Artist Bio

Tenor Bernard Holcomb has “already made a name for himself in the world of opera” with his “delicate and flexible” voice (Opera Wire) and the “appealing sweetness and clarity [of] his tone” (New York Times). Katy Walsh of Chicago Theater Beat said it best: “Although everyone [at Lyric Opera of Chicago] can sing, Holcomb reminds us why we come to the Lyric.”  Most recently, Holcomb returned to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in Lush Life: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, after making his début there in 2019 with Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown.

This season, Mr. Holcomb makes his house début at Opera Omaha in X, the Life and Times of Malcolm X, performs with On Site Opera as Harlekin in Kaiser von Atlantis, and will take part in the workshop of a new piece with Santa Fe Opera called The Pigeon Keeper. In concert, he performs Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and Hailstork’s A Knee on the Neck with New York Choral Society, a holiday concert with the Cincinnati Pops under the baton of Mo. John Morris Russel, and as the star soloist in Jacksonville Symphony’s concert Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. In January 2023, Holcomb returns to Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem with Fort Worth Opera after its world premiere in the 21-22 season. 

Last season, Holcomb joined Opera Carolina for Douglas Tappin’s opera I Dream and made his début with Portland Opera to reprise the role of Kevin Richardson in Central Park Five, which he also sang with Long Beach Opera. Additionally, he returned to Michigan Opera Theatre for their production of X, the Life and Times of Malcolm X and Lakes Area Music Festival in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos as The Dancing Master. In concert, Mr. Holcomb performed Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with St. John the Divine, Bach Magnificat and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Musica Sacra, and performed as a featured soloist in the World Premiere of Damien Geter’s An African American Requiem with both the Resonance Ensemble and the Oregon Symphony, as well as touring Europe with the Harlem Gospel Choir, and joining the New York Choral Society for their concert Love in Action. Holcomb also reprised his performance of Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown for both the Buffalo Philharmonic and Greensboro Symphony. 

Recent débuts include his Alaskan début as Captain Leadbetter in the world prémiere of Emerson Eads’ Princess Sophia with Project Orpheus, his Carnegie Hall début, his title role début in Rossini’s Otello in NYC, and his début at the Dresden Semperoper in Porgy and Bess. Other recent engagements include Rigoletto with Seattle Opera, the world prémiere of The Central Park Five with Long Beach Opera, Porgy and Bess in Italy with New York Harlem Productions, the role of Lechmere in Owen Wingrave with Little Opera Theater of NY, a soloist in Gershwin’s Blue Monday with On Site Opera, a soloist in Lush Life: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn with Austin Symphony and The Florida Orchestra, and the role of Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess with Harrisburg Symphony. Mr. Holcomb performed with Sphinx Connect, as a soloist in Christian De Grè’s Twisted Operettas at Joe’s Pub, Poul Ruders’ The Thirteenth Child with Santa Fe Opera at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, BMP: Next Generation with Beth Morrison Projects, made his return to Chicago Opera Theater as Tristan in Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé and was featured as a soloist with Renée Fleming and Sir Patrick Stewart in Second City’s Guide to the Opera.

New York theater credits include Thomas (lead) in Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg Off-Broadway and Collins in Rent. He also performed Sportin’ Life in the international tour of Porgy and Bess, and in productions of Company and Sweeny Todd.

An alumnus of the Lyric Opera’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Bernard performed such roles as Ernesto in Don Pasquale and Rodolfo in La bohéme. During his Lyric tenure, Mr. Holcomb appeared in the main stage performances of Strauss’ Elektra, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann and covered major roles in Massenet’s Werther, Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Other notable engagements include Paolino in Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto and Alfredo in Verdi’s La traviata with Pine Mountain Music Festival; The Crabman in Porgy and Bess, which led to an international tour of Porgy and Bess through Russia, Poland, Greece, Latvia, Estonia and Germany, and Gastone in La traviata with Michigan Opera Theatre. Bernard also appeared on several themed song recitals as part of a collaboration between Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago’s WFMT 98.7 which aired throughout the summer of 2013.

As part of the Young Artist program at Sarasota Opera, Bernard appeared in main stage performances of Pagliacci, The Crucible, L’amico Fritz, and I Lombardi. At the end of the program, he was awarded with the Anne O’Donnell Award, given to an outstanding apprentice.

Bernard has displayed a tremendous amount of musicianship and poise on concert and recital stages. These credits include a concert performance of La bohéme with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Holiday Pops Concerts with the New Hampshire Symphony Orchestra, a concert performance of Die Zauberflöte with The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and Augustus Hill’s Exegesis with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Macon Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Philharmonic, and Mozart’s Requiem with the DeKalb Festival Chorus.

A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Michigan District), this Detroit native currently residing in New York City, has earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. Collegiate operatic credits include Lensky in Eugene Onegin, lyric tenor in A Postcard from Morocco, Ruggero in La rondine, Rodolfo in La bohéme, and Jenik in The Bartered Bride.

Updated September 1, 2023

Audio Samples

Audio Sample "There's a Boat Dats Leavin' Soon"

Video

Excerpt from Otello

“All of Me” by John Legend

“I’ll Cover You” from RENT by Jonathan Larson featuring Bernard Holcomb as Collins and Brandon Salamone as Angel

Press

"...endearing presence on stage..." – Theater Jones

Dancing in the Street: The Music of Motown – “Bernard Holcomb is an affectionate and conscious steward of the material. He’s an endearing presence on stage, with a control that must stem from his operatic background. With a bright rounded lyric baritone, he finesses James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” (a number that also includes a positively sensual tenor sax solo) and provides the evening’s emotional highlight with a lovely interpretation of “Song for You,” as performed by Donny Hathaway.”

"...warm tenor voice imbued [...] quiet dignity and down-to-earth humanity.”" – LA Times

The Love Potion – “The solid cast was led by Bernard Holcomb, whose warm tenor voice imbued the tormented Tristan with quiet dignity and down-to-earth humanity.”

"...appealing sweetness and clarity to his tone...” – New York Times

Otello – “…there was an appealing sweetness and clarity to his tone…In the course of the evening his voice gained vibrancy and intensity, matching his character’s descent into manipulated madness.”

"...open, vibrant instrument..." – Cadenza

Owen Wingrave – "...as Lechmere, tenor Bernard Holcomb is given a lot to do with his open, vibrant instrument.

"... the pleasure he draws from his art is always bracing." – New City Stage

The Emperor of Atlantis & The Clever One – “Joy bounces off tenor Bernard Holcomb like a skylight beacon accidentally aimed at an individual instead of a cloud, and even when playing a sad moment, the pleasure he draws from his art is always bracing”