I have a wide range of interests, including Philosophy, Religion, Travel, Biography, History and Languages but singing was the basis of my initial career. I hold a B.A. in Pre-Law Business Administration/Modern Foreign Languages/Voice. My M.A. is in the Humanities (French and Voice). My Ph.D. is in French Literature, from the Sorbonne (Paris).

A desire to serve humanity compelled me to give up my 22-year operatic career as a leading baritone and return to the pulpit as a cantor. I was ordained a rabbi in 1997 and specialize in pre-marital counseling, pastoral counseling, drug-and-alcohol counseling, and chaplaincy. I officiate at Jewish, Interfaith, Civil and nondenominational weddings. Should you wish to contact me, I can be reached by email at: Allen@RabbiAllen.com.

As a singer, my vocal studies have been with Richard Miller, William Vennard, Josephine Lott, Herbert Janssen, Berton Coffin, and Armen Boyajian. During my twenty-two year international operatic career, I sang some twenty-eight leading baritone operatic roles. I competed in and won the following competitions:

1965: National Association of Teachers of Singing  -
Singer of the Year
1965: Concert Artists Guild Competition -
Young Recitalist of the Year (Town Hall Debut)
1962: Paris International Competition -
Premier Prix d'Excellence
1962: Queen Elizabeth International Competition,
Brussels - Prix de Bruxelles

I am a member, in good standing, International Federation of Rabbis, the Modern Language Association, the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) U.S., the Voice Foundation and the American Conference of Cantors.


1998 to Present:   Continuing to serve as both Rabbi and Cantor, by invitation, in the United States, Canada, France and Germany.
February 1997:   Ordained Rabbi by the Rabbinic Seminary International
1984 - 1996:    Rabbinic Study
1976:   Invited to become Cantor of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA. Named Cantor Emeritus in 1998.
1973:   Cantor of Temple B’rith Kodesh of Rochester, NY
1963:   Appointed Cantor of Sinai Temple of Mt Vernon, NY
1961-62:   Fulbright Fellow, University of Paris, (Sorbonne)

Post-Graduate Study:

September 1961 - June 1962:  Doctorate in French Literature, University of Paris (Sorbonne); Thesis: Le Diable chez Balzac; Ecole Normale Supérieure de Musique Study with Pierre Bernac in the interpretation of Opera and Lieder

Graduate Study:

September 1960 - June 1961:  Master of Arts - Humanities; Cross-disciplines: French Literature and Music - Voice


September 1957 - June 1960:  Bachelor of Arts, University of Buffalo; Majors: Pre-Law-Business Administration, Modern Foreign Languages, Voice

Professional Experience

History in Professional Musical Settings:

1973 to Present:  As a recitalist, I have sung in eight languages. A member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, I have been asked to adjudicate at the NATS national conventions in 1986 and 2000. I am active in giving Master Classes. I have taught private studio voice, specializing in both vocal technique and coaching. Languages, sung and coached: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino. In addition, since 1985, after studying with Morton Cooper, Ph.D., Speech Pathologist, I have been receiving referrals from him to work with voice rehabilitation patients.
1982 -1990:  Professor of Professor Language Diction, Philadelphia Community College;
1982 -1984:  Adjunct Professor of Voice, Temple University;
1968 -1969:  Affiliate Artist, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota

Awards of Special Interest:

1965: First Prize, Concert Artists' Guild National Competition; Town Hall Recital
1965: NATS Singer of the Year, National Association of Teachers of Singing
1962: Prix De Bruxelles, Brussels International Competition for Singers
1962: Premier Prix D'Excellence, Paris International Competition for Singers
1961-62: Fulbright Fellow, Paris

Grants - in - Aid Study:

Martha Baird Rockefeller Fund for Music (four grants, 1963 - 1969)
William Matheus Sullivan Foundation, 1968
International Institute of Education, 1968
Levick Foundation, 1961

Opera and Concert

Professional Performance Repertoire:

Operatic Leading Roles

La Bohème:  Marcello
The Merry Wives of Windsor:  Mr. Ford
The Ballad of Baby Doe:  Horace Tabor 
Tosca:  Baron Scarpia
La Forza del Destino:  Don Carlo 
Madama Butterfly:  Sharpless 
Aida:  Amonasro 
Hérodiade:  Hérode 
Faust:  Valentin 
Faust:  Méphistophélès 
Pagliacci:  Tonio 
Pagliacci:  Silvio 
Le Nozze di Figaro:  Count Almaviva 
Deidamia (Handel):  Phoenix 
Twelfth Night (World  Premiere):  Malvolio 
Rigoletto:  Rigoletto
Don Pasquale:  Malatesta 
Ariadne auf Naxos:  Der Musiklehrer 
Parsifal:  Klingsor
The Rape of Lucretia:  Junius 
Fidelio:  Don Fernando 
The Makropulos Case:  Baron Prus 
Jenufa (Ger. & Czech):  Altgesell 
Turandot (Busoni):  Barak 
Amahl:  King Melchior 
Tiefland:  Sebastiano
Die Soldaten:  Eisenhardt 
Don Pasquale:  Don Pasquale 

Musical Comedy

A Fiddler on the Roof: Tevye
The Most Happy Fella: Tony Esposito

Oratorio and Concert Repertoire

Adler:  The Binding,  Stars in the Dust 
Bach:  Cantata #82 
Bloch:  Sacred Service 
Beethoven:  Ninth Symphony 
Caldara:  Stabat Mater
Fromm:  Ma-ariv 
Janowski:  Sacred Service 
Mendelssohn:  Elijah
Rachmaninoff:  The Bells 
Schalit:  Sacred Service 
Steinberg:  Shomeir Yisrael (CD)
Stravinsky:  Les Noces
Vaughn-Williams:  Serenade to Music 
Adler:  The Vision of Isaiah 
Bach:  Magnificat 
Brahms:  Ein Deutsches Requiem 
Britten:  War Requiem
Faure:  Requiem
Handel:  Messiah 
Janowski:  Collected Works
Orff:  Carmina Burana 
Salamone da Rossi:  Sacred Service 
Schubert:  Mass in G 
Steinberg:  Sacred Service (Cass.) 
Stravinsky:  Mass - 1948 
Walton:  Belshazzar's Feast 

American Premieres

Jenufa (Czech) - Lincoln Center
The Makropulos Case (Czech) - Lincoln Center
Turandot (Busoni, German) - Lincoln Center
Tiefland (German) - Carnegie Hall

Opera Companies

Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Nationaltheater (Staatsoper), Munich
Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf
Kölinische Buehnen, Cologne
Staatsoper, Hannover
Holland National Opera
Edinburgh Festival
Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Florence
Warsaw Spring Festival
Holland Festival, The Hague
The Opera Orchestra of New York (Carnegie Hall)
American Opera Society (Carnegie Hall)
Little Orchestra Society (Lincoln Center - Avery Fisher Hall)
Lake George Opera Festival (1963-1968)
Goldovsky Grand Opera Theater (2 Seasons)
New Haven Opera
Opera Theater of Rochester (3 Seasons)
Opera Under the Stars of Rochester (3 Seasons)
Bridgeport Opera (2 Seasons)
Stadtsoper, Hannover

Soloist in Concert with:

Atlanta Symphony
Long Beach Symphony (CA)
New Haven Symphony
Berlin Philharmoniker
Boston College Orchestra
Orchestre de la Monnaie, Brussels
L'Orchestre Lamoureux, Paris
Bridgeport Symphony
Buffalo Philharmonic
Philadelphia Oratorio Choir
Phoenix Symphony
Duisburger Philharmoniker
Düsseldorfer Philharmoniker
Rochester Philharmonic
Rhode Island Symphony
Indianapolis Symphony
Amherst (NY) Symphony
Corning Symphony
New York Oratorio Society
Rochester Oratorio Society
Boston Fine Arts Orchestra
Honolulu Symphony
Pacific Symphony
Symphonie du Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux

Critical Reviews of Singing Performances
Last modified June 2000

"Few singers today can project the four languages heard last night with anything like Allen's excellent nuance and clarity, resonance and enunciation. He offers much satisfaction."
- Paul Hume, Washington (D.C.) Post

"His ample and lustrous baritone is seamless and silky. Richard Allen has intelligent, suave and comprehensible diction, with a high class and necessary choice of repertoire."
- Ned Rorem, leading American composer

"Richard Allen is the possessor of a beautiful voice which has a beautiful timbre and is even throughout the vocal line. He sings with authority, intelligence and an actor's temperament."
- Le Soir, Brussels

".....he has a voice which is naturally and extremely expressive. In addition, he has a striking actor's personality."
- La Presse, Brussels

"The highlight of the evening came with the stunning performance of Richard Allen. He possesses a powerful voice and an overpowering stage presence."
- Honolulu Star-Bulletin

"By far the strongest component was Richard Allen's human Rigoletto. Without overdoing the pathos, Allen expresses both vocally and dramatically the contrasts between buffoon versus father, groveling parasite versus rebel. His Cortigiani! aria merited the evening's most enthusiastic applause."
- Glasow, Opera News

The Marriage of Figaro:
"As Almaviva, his formidable baritone easily conquered Mozart's vocal requirements. I regret not having seen his Scarpia, Tabor and Germont with the company."
- Vincent, High Fidelity/Musical America

"Allen's Scarpia was a study in restrained evil. A portrayal painted in human overtones and inhuman undertones. With his powerful voice and understanding of dramatic nuance, Scarpia's second act cantilena, 'Già mia struggea' was one of the finest moments I've heard from the operatic stage."
- Price, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

The ballad of Baby Doe:
"As Horace Tabor, Richard Allen proved a real find. His bass-baritone is velvety and voluminous, his presence was forceful."
- Lingg, Opera News

Fiddler on the Roof:
"The cast was lead by the splendid singing and acting of Richard Allen. He made the evocation of life in the shtetl at once endearing and sad. Mr. Allen was Tevye in every sense.
- Green, Musical Heritage Society

Opera Gallery - Some of my 26 Leading Roles

Tevye in A Fiddler on the Roof

Tonio in Pagliacci

Tonio in Pagliacci



Sharpless in Madama Butterfly
with Tenor Romano Emili

Malvolio in Twelfth Night

Don Carlo in 
La Forza del Destino

Giorgio Germont in La Traviata

Giorgio Germont in La Traviata

Marcello in La Bohème

Marcello in Düsseldorf

Rigoletto (Title Role)

Baron Scarpia in Tosca

Making up for Mr. Ford

Klingsor in Parsifal

Mr. Ford in Performance

Interfaith Weddings          Recommended Books on Interfaith Weddings
Send this Link to a Friend  -  Enter recipient's e-mail:

Interfaith Weddings - Rabbi Richard Allen
Phone:  (215) 657-3737       Fax:  (215) 657-5588       Allen@RabbiAllen.com

Revised: 05/27/04.
Copyright© 2003 Rabbi Richard Allen 
All rights reserved.
Web Site by: Cape Graphics 
Comments to: Bill@CapeGraphics.com