B i o g r a p h y
Henry Pleas III is an American tenor, recognized for his robust, brilliant voice. As soloist for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Grand Rapids, Chicago Opera Theater his roles have included the title role in Tales of Hoffmann, Rodolfo in La Boheme, Tamino in the Magic Flute, Turriddu in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Don Jose in Carmen. In orchestral performance he has appeared as soloist in Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Britten’s St. Nicholas for ensembles including the Grand Rapids Symphony, Ars Viva Symphony and Chicago Modern Orchestra Project.
Pleas has been cited for his beautiful, luscious sound and flexible, dynamic voice. He is a frequent recitalist and interpreter of music from a wide variety of styles, including performances of the song cycles of composers like Schubert and Britten, but equally comfortable in presentations of new works by Glen Roven, Gwyneth Walker and long time collaborator Chris Garofalo. In 2018, he made the first tenor performances of the late Glen Roven's song cycle, "Six Ancient Chinese Poems for Voice and Oboe" with Sara Fraker, oboe and Casey Robards, piano.
Pleas has a special interest in the historical legacy of the Black-American classical music community. Born in Chicago, Pleas attended Brown University and at graduation, received the school's Madeira Prize for Excellence in Music. He continued music studies attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and later, Northwestern University where he received a Master of Music degree with High Honors designation by the School of Music faculty. He has toured and performed throughout the United States and Europe.