Jan Opalach has received a Sullivan Foundation Award, won the National Arts Club Vocal Music Competition, Kosciuszko Foundation’s Marcella Sembrich Award, prestigious Walter M. Naumburg Vocal Competition, Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, s’Hertogenbosch International Vocalisten Concours as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Soloist Recital Grant. He has been heard in recitals at Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Concert Hall (NY), Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie), Kosciuszko Foundation (NY), Music Mountain (CT), Miller Theater (Columbia University), Bruno Walter Auditorium, Morgan Library, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Edmonton Chamber Music Festival (Alberta, Canada), Library of Congress, Ambassador Auditorium (Pasadena), Cape and islands Festival (MA), Hudson River Museum (NY), Rockport (MA) Chamber Music Festival, Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum (Boston), Lehigh, Pennsylvania State, Brandeis and Harvard Universities, NATS National Convention in Minneapolis, MN, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and annually at the Eastman School of Music. He has been an adjudicator for The Walter M. Naumburg, Joy in Singing and Concert Artist Guild competitions.
Mr. Opalach was a member of the New York Vocal Arts Ensemble (a solo vocal quartet w/piano) performing little known quartet repertoire for a three concert series at NYC’s Alice Tully Hall, touring throughout the United States and South America. With the world famous Waverly Consort, he was seen on a CBS TV special filmed at the Cloisters museum in New York City and can be heard on its recording of A Renaissance Christmas. He was a member of the Bach Aria Group concurrently with current Eastman Voice Professor Carol Webber and was the original Bass soloist in Joshua Rifkin’s Bach Ensemble, recording the B-minor Mass (with one soloist on a part), Solo Bass Cantatas #56, #82, and #158, and numerous other Bach cantatas. With renowned conductor Helmut Rilling, he sang at the Oregon Bach Festival and the Hollywood Bowl and toured Bach’s St. John Passion with Mo. Rilling’s Gaechinger Kantorei in Germany. He was heard in the Boston Early Music Festival’s spectacular production of Luigi Rossi’s rarely staged Orfeo, co-directed by Paul O’Dette and Steven Stubbs, with additional performances at the Tanglewood Music Festival and appeared at the Drottningholms Slottsteatre for a live broadcast on Swedish television.
Mr. Opalach has performed over fifty roles during his distinguished career. in 1980 he was invited by Beverly Sills to join the New York City Opera, where he was a principal artist for thirty years. Among the roles he performed with the company were the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), Dulcamara (L’elisir d’amore; Jonathan Miller, dir.), Leporello (Don Giovanni), Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sergiu Commissiona, cond,) King Fisher (M. Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage: New York Stage Premiere; Francesca Zambello, dir.), Wesener (A. Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten: New York Stage Premiere; Rhoda Levine, dir.), the Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen), Newspaper Publisher (M. Adamo’s Little Women; George Manahan,cond.; New York and Tokyo, Japan Stage Premieres). and the title role of G. Verdi’s Falstaff; (George Manahan; Leon Major, dir.). He has been seen on PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center with Dame Joan Sutherland (Anna Bolena; Richard Bonynge, cond.), the Rossini Bicentennial Anniversary Gala (Sir Roger Norrington) and the New York City Ballet’s 2004 Spring Gala (Liebeslieder Waltzer). He was heard at the Metropolitan Opera’s World Premiere of Philip Glass’ The Voyage for his company debut and in performances of War and Peace (Valerie Gergiev,cond.); Opera Theater of St. Louis, Lord Sydney (Il Viaggio a Rheims, US stage premiere; John Nelson,cond.; Colin Graham, dir.), Kissinger (Nixon in China, New Production; Marin Alsop,cond. James Robinson, dir.); Santa Fe Opera, Schaunard (La Bohème), Seattle Opera (Guglielmo:Cosi fan tutte, Xerxes, Musik-Lehrer:Ariadne auf Naxos); Washington Opera (Cendrillon, Don Giovanni). Internationally he has appeared with the Canadian Opera Company (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Xerxes, Steven Wadsworth, dir.); Cervantino Festival, (Guanajuato); Bellas Artes (Mexico City) Leporello:Don Giovanni; Eduardo Mata cond.; Netherlands Opera (Taddeo:L’italiana in Algeri – TV broadcast, Alberto Zedda,cond.; Dario Fo, dir.); Wesener:Die Soldaten (English National Opera, British Isles premiere, Elgar Howarth, cond.). He was recently seen in the SpoletoUSA’s critically acclaimed production of Janacek’s Kat’a Kabanova (in Czech), Anne Manson,cond.; Tony Award winner Garry Hynes, dir.
Among the many orchestras Mr. Opalach has been heard with are the Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, London Sinfonietta, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Mostly Mozart Festival, New York, Pittsburgh, Rochester Philharmonic, San Francisco, St. Louis, Seattle and the National Symphony (D.C.). He has collaborated with Marin Alsop, Mario Bernardi, Richard Bonynge, Semyon Bychkov, Sergiu Comissiona, James DePriest, Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Gunter Herbig, Christopher Hogwood, Lorin Maazel, Eduardo Mata, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Oliver Knussen, Sir Simon Rattle, Christopher Seaman, Robert Shaw, Leonard Slatkin, Edo de Waart, Richard Westenberg, Hugh Wolff and David Zinman.
Mr. Opalach can be heard on the Albany, Argo, Avie, Bridge, CRI, Decca, Delos, EMI, Koch International, L’Oiseau-Lyre, Lyrichord, Naxos, Newport Classic, Nonesuch, Teldec, Telarc, Virgin Classics, VoxBox and Vox Unique labels. Some of the works recorded include I. Stravinsky’s Renard/Pulcinella (St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Hugh Wolff); J.S. Bach’s B-minor Mass, Solo Bass Cantatas 56, 82, 158, Cantatas 106,131,99 (Bach Ensemble, Joshua Rifkin); S. Wolpe’s Quintet with Voice, Elliot Carter’s Syringa (Speculum Musicae); Robert Beaser’s Seven Deadly Sins (Premiere Recording: American Composers Orchestra, Dennis Russell Davies); L. von Beethoven‘s Der glorreiche Augenblick (World Premiere Recording: The Collegiate Choral, Robert Bass); G.F. Handel’s Acis and Galatea, Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring/Pulcinella (Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz); Pulitzer Prize winner Aaron Kernis’ Love Scenes; selected lieder of Franz Schubert, w/Irma Vallecillo, piano; C. Curtis-Smith’s Gold Are My Flowers; J. Haydn’s The Seasons [in English] (Amor Artis Classical Orchestra, Johannes Somary) and two chamber opera’s by Paul Salerni,composer; Laura Johnson,dir.; Caruso’s Final Broadcast and The Life and Love of Joe Coogan, a Karl Reiner authorized adaptation of a Dick van Dyke episode; I. Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, narrating [in English] all the voices, conducted by the Eastman Wind Ensemble’s Mark Davis Scatterday and performed by distinguished faculty members of The Eastman Virtuosi.