Johannes Held, Baritone


Johannes has performed as a soloist with companies including the Royal Danish Opera, Wermland Opera (SE), Staatstheater Oldenburg (GER), Staatstheater Mainz (GER) and Theater Bozen (IT). He has sung major operatic roles including Papageno, Gulgielmo, Dr. Falke, Sid, and Escamillo.

Johannes is an experienced oratorio soloist and prize-winning lieder singer. He has appeared with the orchestra of the Royal Danish Opera, Copenhagen Phil, Odense Symphony Orchestra, the Latvian National Orchestra, La Verdi Milan, Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana, Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, and Orchestra Haydn Bolzano e Trento. His substantial oratorio repertoire includes works by Bach, Haydn, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Martin, and his thoughtfully programmed lieder recitals feature music by Schubert, Schumann, Mahler, and Weil, among others.

Johannes has collaborated with conductors including Andris Poga, Claus Peter Flor, Arvo Volmer, Simon Gaudenz, Johannes Gustavsson, Michael Boder, and Ruben Jais. He has appeared in chamber music festivals at Meraner Festwochen, Schubertiade Roskilde, and Lofoten International Chamber Music Festival, and has sung at Auditorio Bolzano, Teatro Garibaldi in Palermo, and Gothenburg Opera House. In 2018, he recorded Schubert´s Winterreise with pianist Daniel Beskow. He created the concept for “Winterreise Staged,” which he has performed since 2015 across Europe.

Johannes is founder and artistic director of the international art song-festival DER ZWERG, which is held biannually in Sindelfingen, Germany.

Johannes grew up in Sindelfingen, Germany. After early training with Stuttgart Hymnus Boys’ Choir, he studied voice at the Music Academy Freiburg, Germany, and continued at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and the Opera Academy in Copenhagen under the guidance of Susanna Eken. He has worked with coaches including Mikael Eliasen, Fiona MacSherry, Ouri Bronchti, and Tim Ribchester. Deborah Polaski has given him further impulses.

Johannes is grateful to the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, the Evangelische Studienwerk Villigst, the Richard Wagner Foundation, and the Kunststiftung BW for support that has aided his studies and career.


Johannes Held is an avid Lied performer and has a number of song cycles and Lieder on his repertoire.

Opera Roles

Benjamin Britten


Georges Bizet


Johann Strauss


Maurice Ravel


William Walton

THE BEAR/Smirnov

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Johann Sebastian Bach

Christmas Oratorio BWV 248
St. Matthew Passion BWV 244
St. John Passion BWV 245

Johannes Brahms

Ein deutsches Requiem
Winterreise, according to Johannes Held, in Palermo
Sun, 2017-05-14
Sunday 14 May 2017 in l’Auditorio SS. Salvatore, Palermo The German baritone Johannes Held and the Finnish pianist Pauiliina Tukiainen performed Franz Schuberts famous lieder-cycle with lyrics by Wilhelm Müller, as a part of the Schubertiade-festival. It may be because the complete version of Winterreise is one of the most sought-after pieces on Johannes Held’s repertoire list. Or it may be because the new, staged version, directed by Ebbe Kubsen, has given Johannes the possibility to elaborate a certain interpretation of the work (we are talking about the interesting project Winterreise Staged, which was touring in 2015-16). Anyway, it is a fact, that the young baritone stands out, not just because of his beautiful voice but also because of a passionate physical participation (…) Johannes Held astounds with a pure and convincing voice and an enjoyable sound, which he knows very well to exploit through an always attentive phrasing towards the score and the expressiveness of the text. Also the short breaks between one lied and the next, are moments where one can dive into the atmosphere of each piece, through a game of looks and movements just mentioned. This has a notable communicative power. This is the case with the beautiful interpretation of “Der Lindenbaum”, where the ecstatic attitude, united with a perfect voice control, both in volume and in tonality, makes this performance one of the most effective. (…) By Giuseppe Migliore
Euphony and Presence
Helsingør Dagblad
Wed, 2012-02-29
Johannes Held had chosen to sing lieder by Schumann and Schubert which he, with his German background, had all the prerequisites for interpreting. Robert Schumann's Liederkreis, op. 24 with lyrics by Heinrich Heine consists of 9 songs of which "Mit Myrthen und Rosen" is the best known. We heard some high-romantic poems about love and jealosy, delight and anger, and Johannes Held gave the contents presence with his choice of dynamics and gestures. His performance was convincing and the sound of his voice reached the audience in a beautifully sounding German. Through 5 songs from Franz Schubert's "Winterreise" with lyrics by Wilhelm Müller, Johannes Held expressed the pain that these songs contain about the lonely wanderer. The best song was probably "Der Leiermann", where every word stood freezingly clear to the audience. It was a very strong experience. As an efficient end to the programme, Johannes Held sang a beautiful and riveting version of Schubert's Opus 1: "Erlkönig" to the lyrics of Goethe. It is a cruel story and Schubert has made sure that the creepiness gets under the skin of every listener. Johannes Held made it real with his dramatic talent. The enthusiastic audience had a beautifully sounding version of Schubert's "Leise flehen meine Lieder" from the cycle "Schwanengesang" as encore.
A New Standard
Mon, 2013-03-25
"..Johannes Held's entrance as the temperamental, tormented bear and in the end a bear in love introduced drama and humour. Here is a singer who can both act and sing. A frightening combination when one for once meets it. A completely new standard".
Press Service