Beginning his professional operatic career in 1996 as a studio baritone at Chautauqua Opera, Alan E. Hicks found success as a singer and teacher before turning his attention to stage direction. As his profile in the profession has continued to grow, Alan has added award-winner, author, and administrator to his list of accomplishments.
Described as “a pleasing baritone of great promise,” Alan sang touring and young artist contracts with Minnesota Opera, Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Lake George Opera Festival (now Opera Saratoga), and Opera Northeast, as well as concerts and recitals across the United States. In 1998, Alan originated the title role in Virginia Opera’s world premiere production of Seymour Barab’s The pied piper of Hamelin.
From 2002 until 2006, Alan served on the faculties of the internationally acclaimed Actors Studio Drama School and American Academy of Dramatic Arts, both in New York City. His former students have performed on Broadway, in national and international tours, on all major television networks, and in major motion pictures. Until 2008, Alan maintained studios for singers and actors in New York City and Austin, TX, and, in 2005, produced a master class with musical theatre composer and Broadway veteran Andrew Lippa. Alan has taught master classes throughout the United States and has served as interim Director of Opera Workshop at Sam Houston State University and interim Director of the Martha-Ellen Tye Opera Theatre at the University of Iowa.
As a director, Alan’s work has been reviewed as "inventive," “imaginatively directed,” "absolutely brilliant," “gorgeous,” “maturely-realized,” and “real magic.” Alan's first show - a new production of Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah conceived for and produced by the University of Texas at Austin - won First Prize in the 2007-2008 National Opera Association’s Opera Production Competition. He has directed new productions of Orfeo ed Euridice for Palm Beach Opera's Resident Artist Program, Carmen at Opera in the Ozarks, The turn of the screw for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and The turn of the screw (2nd Place in the 2011-2012 NOA competition and winner of The American Prize in Opera Performance for 2013) and Roméo et Juliette at the University of Iowa. He made his Austrian directing debut in 2012 at the helm of Le nozze di Figaro and returned to Salzburg in 2013 to direct Don Giovanni. In 2013, Alan designed and directed a new production of La traviata for Center City Opera Theater (a co-production with the Gulf Coast Symphony (FL)) and led workshops of new works, Satan's bride: Maren of Vardø and A woman in Morrocco.
Committed to building future audiences and the continued growth of the art form, Alan has written and directed educational shows for various ensembles. A recipe for opera, written and directed for Center City Opera Theatre, toured Philadelphia-area schools in 2013. Alan's abridged touring production of The elixir of love, conceived and directed for Tulsa Opera, toured Oklahoma in 2010 and 2011.
Alan has served on the production staffs of Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Michigan Opera Theatre, Seattle Opera, Tulsa Opera, and New York City Opera. In 2014, he was appointed Director of the Emerging Artist Program at Green Mountain Opera Festival directing the EAP production of The rape of Lucretia. For 2015-16, Alan directed Ariadne auf Naxos for Minnesota Opera, will direct L’elisir d’amore for Opera Santa Barbara, Albert Herring for Shenandoah Conservatory (VA), and will join the production staff of Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In addition to directing and teaching activities, Alan authored a book entitled Singer and Actor: Acting Technique and the Operatic Performer. The book, published by Amadeus Press (Hal Leonard Corporation), is available in bookstores worldwide as well as over 150 libraries across the globe. Alan has also penned several articles on subjects ranging from acting study to auditioning. His most recent article appeared in Classical Singer (magazine) in the summer of 2014.
A native of Mississippi, Alan holds a Bachelor of Music Education (BME) with Vocal Emphasis from Mississippi State University, a Master of Music (MMUS) in Vocal Performance from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Opera Directing from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin. Alan is a member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA), the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), and the National Opera Association.