Dutch tenor Frank van Aken has received the highest praise as an important Heldentenor in such leading theaters as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, Semperoper Dresden and Frankfurt Opera. In the current season, the tenor returns to the Greek National Opera in Athens as Laca in Jenufa and sings Herodes in Salome at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden. He began the season as Shuysky in a concert performance of Boris Godunov at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Frank van Aken studied in Utrecht and at the Opera Studio of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, after which he continued his vocal studies with James McCray. After winning the Christina Deutekom Competition, van Aken made his professional debut as Macduff in Verdi’s Macbeth at the Nederlansde ReiseOpera in Enschede. He subsequently made his debut in Rome as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Van Aken then joined the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duesseldorf where he soon sang many of the of the most important roles in his repertory: the title roles in Lohengrin and Parsifal, Stolzing in Die Meistersinger, Florestan in Fidelio, to name a few. Van Aken was also heard in several other theaters, appearing as Don Carlos, Calaf and Laca in Jenufa at the Komische Oper in Berlin, as Parsifal in Strasbourg, as Max in Der Freischütz for his debut at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and as Laca, Erik in Der Fliegende Hollaender, and Aegisth in Elektra in Stuttgart.
Van Aken joined the ensemble of the Frankfurt Opera in the fall of 2006 and made his debut there in the title role of Wagner’s Tannhäuser. His other roles in Frankfurt have also included Gherman in Pique Dame, Luigi in Il Tabarro, Edmund in Lear, Hagenbach in La Wally and the Einsiedler in Hartmann’s Simplicius. Soon after, he sang Erik in Der Fliegende Hollaender in Stuttgart and Dresden and made his debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Aegisth in Elektra.
In September of 2010, van Aken made his Vienna State Opera debut as Tannhäuser under Franz Welser-Moest, the role with which he also sang for his debuts at the Bayreuth Festival, Gran Teatre del Liceu and Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. In December of 2010, van Aken made his debut at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan as Siegmund in Die Walküre under Daniel Barenboim, a role which he also sang in a new production at the Frankfurt Opera. In January of 2011, he debuted at the Teatro Regio in Turin in the title role of Wagner’s Parsifal, subsequently singing his first Tristan in Tristan und Isolde in Frankfurt in the spring of 2011. Van Aken made a spectacular last minute debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Siegmund in the spring of 2012.
While especially known for his German roles, van Aken has also sung many leading roles from the dramatic Italian repertoire. He added the title role in Verdi’s Otello to his repertoire in September of 2011 in a new production of the work at the Graz Opera. He was also heard as Otello in Frankfurt, where he subsequently appeared as Maurizio in the new production of Adriana Lecouvreur. Other Italian roles have included Luigi in Il Tabarro, Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana, Canio in Pagliacci and Calaf in Turandot. Van Aken has also been highly praised as Gherman in The Queen of Spades. In subsequent seasons, he starred in the Frankfurt Opera’s new production of Prokofiev’s The Gambler, returned to the Semperoper Dresden as Tristan in Tristan und Isolde and to the Metropolitan Opera in Lady Macbeth of Mtsesnk, sang Alexei in The Gambler at the Frankfurt Opera and Tambourmajor in Wozzeck at the Dutch National Opera, and appeared as Aegisth in Elektra at the Greek National Opera and the title role in Tannhäuser at the Nationaltheater Mannheim.