He attended Truro School and went to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University as a choral student in 1963. He also studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the London Opera Centre before joining the Sadler's Wells Opera (now the English National Opera, ENO). He became a Principal Baritone there while still a student.
Opie has also sung with the other major UK opera companies Scottish Opera, Opera North, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Internationally, he has performed in the opera houses of Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Brussels, Berlin, Chicago and Santa Fe and regularly appears at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. He has also sung at the Bayreuth Festival. In 1996, Opie switched his status at the ENO from company member to regular guest, enabling him to make his début at La Scala, Milan. There he created the role of Outis in the opera of the same name by Luciano Berio.
He has recorded for CBS, EMI, Hyperion, Chandos and Decca, winning Grammy Awards in 1996 and 1998 for his involvement in, respectively, recordings of Britten's Peter Grimes and Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
In 1997, his performance in the title role of Verdi's Falstaff earned Opie a nomination for the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to music.
Opie and his wife Kathleen (married since 1970) have a son and a daughter.
Performed and/or recorded, listed alphabetically:
Selected concert works
(performed and/or recorded, listed alphabetically)
|Ein Deutsches Requiem||Brahms|
|Das Klagende Lied||Mahler|
|Hugh the Drover||Vaughan Williams|
|The Dream of Gerontius||Elgar|
|Ultima Rerum||Gerard Victory|
Grammy Award winning recordings in bold.
|1991||Otello||Verdi||Chicago Symphony Orchestra et al.
cond. Sir Georg Solti
|1993||Bethlehem||Boughton||City of London Sinfonia et al.
cond. Alan Melville
|1994||Hugh the Drover||Vaughan Williams||Corydon Orchestra and Singers et al.
cond. Matthew Best
|1996||Peter Grimes||Britten||City of London Sinfonia et al.
cond. Richard Hickox
|1997||Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg||Wagner||Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
cond. Sir Georg Solti
|1998||Pagliacci||Leoncavallo||London Philharmonic Orchestra et al.
cond. David Parry
|2000||The Barber of Seville||Rossini||ENO Orchestra and Chorus
cond. Gabriele Bellini
|Rigoletto||Verdi||ENO Orchestra and Chorus
cond. Mark Elder
|2002||Death in Venice||Britten||London Sinfonietta
cond. Graeme Jenkins
|2003||Peter Grimes||Britten||ENO Orchestra and Chorus
cond. David Atherton
|Classical Brubeck||Dave Brubeck||Dave Brubeck Quartet et al.||Telarc|
|2004||Alan Opie sings Bel Canto Arias||various||Chandos|
- Adam, Nicky (ed) (1993). Who's Who in British Opera. Aldershot: Scolar Press. p. 212. ISBN 0-85967-894-6.
- Notice of OBE award to Alan Opie, bbc.co.uk; accessed 15 March 2014.
- The London Gazette: . 15 June 2013.
- Sadie, Stanley (ed) (1992). The New Grove Dictionary of Opera vol 3, p. 714 article by Elizabeth Forbes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-522186-2.