American baritone, Morgan Smith, begins Season 2016-17 by returning to the role of Sharpless Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera. He continues to Dallas Opera to revive his highly-lauded portrayal of the First Mate Starbuck in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, a role he sang in the original production in Dallas in 2010, and also at San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera and last season, at Los Angeles Opera. Back on dry land, Mr Smith travels to Oper Leipzig for a repeat appearance as Marcello La Boheme. The artist joins Arizona Opera to inaugurate the role of villain John Lassiter in the world wide premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage and appears in concert with San Antonio Symphony.
Highlights of last season include his debut as Sharpless Madama Butterfly at Opera de Montreal; he joined Baltimore Symphony to sing the title role in their Don Giovanni highlights with Markus Stenz and appeared in the role in a fully staged production at Arizona Opera. At Seattle Opera he played the Count Le Nozze di Figaro; and made his debut as the Four Villains Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Madison Opera, a resounding critical success.
Other past successes include the role of Escamillo Carmen at Vancouver Opera which he also sang at Pittsburgh Opera; he joined Seattle Symphony for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and travelled to San Diego Opera to sing the role of Marcello La Boheme before returning to San Francisco to join the Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Hall to revive the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s For a Look or a Touch, a role he previously inaugurated for the world premiere of the piece. He sang the title role Don Giovanni at Austin’s Lyric Opera, and the role of Aaron in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera for which he won outstanding reviews.
Morgan previously made his role and house debut as Adam Brandt Mourning becomes Electra at Florida Grand Opera; Tadeusz The Passenger in the US premiere of David Pountney’s production at Houston Grand Opera and at Lincoln Centre; Fritz Die Tote Stadt at Dallas Opera, and Lt. Audebert Silent Night in Fort Worth Opera’s presentation of Kevin Puts’s highly successful work about the First World War.
Morgan Smith made his European debut in the Berlin Staatsoper in 2009-10 as Marcello (a role he also sang at Opera Colorado), and at Oper Leipzig as Figaro Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Papageno Die Zauberflote, Leandre The Love for Three Oranges, and Whitelaw Savory One Touch of Venus. Other notable appearances include his three-season tenure at Oper Leipzig for the additional roles of Billy The Rise and Fall of the city of Mahagonny, and Guglielmo Cosi fan tutte.
A graduate of Columbia College and Mannes College of Music in New York City, he became a Seattle Opera young artist 2001-2003 and made his professional debut as Donald Billy Budd; Don Giovanni, Silvio I Pagliacci, Riccardo I Puritani, and Peter Niles Mourning becomes Electra all followed. Audiences heard him as Escamillo at Fort Worth Opera and Morales and Zuniga at Los Angeles Opera; and as Dandini La Cenerentola at Portland Opera.
Renowned in contemporary repertoire, Morgan Smith created the role of Ted Steinert in Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot in the world premiere at Fort Worth Opera and on the recording (Albany Records); he covered Gerald Finley as Robert Oppenheimer in the world premiere of John Adams’ Dr. Atomic, commissioned by San Francisco Opera; he sang the world premiere of Richard Cumming’s Aspects of Hippolytus with Hartford Symphony, and created the title role in the Tony Kushner/Maurice Sendak adaptation of Hans Krasa’s children’s opera, Brundibar (recorded by NAXOS). Other roles in the artist’s repertoire, including those in preparation, include Belcore L’elisir d’amore, Joseph DeRocher Dead Man Walking, Malatesta Don Pasquale, title role Billy Budd, Wolfram Tannhaueser, Zurga Les Pecheurs de Perles, and Rodrigo Don Carlo.
A regular on the concert stage, Mr Smith made his Dallas Symphony debut in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and debuted with the San Antonio Symphony for the North American premiere of Vier Präludien und Ernste Gesänge, Detlef Glanert’s orchestral adaptation of the beloved cycle by Brahms. Other concert repertoire includes Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Requiems of Brahms, Faure, Mozart and Durufle; the Mass in C Minor of Mozart and of Vaughan Williams, Bach’s B Minor Mass and numerous Cantatas, Weihnachts Oratorium, Handel’s Messiah and L’allegro Spirituoso, Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass.
Conductors who have joined him on the podium include Jaap van Zweden, Patrick Summers, Donald Runnicles, Gerard Schwarz, Eduardo Mueller, Ulf Schirmer, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, George Manahan, Richard Buckley, Vyekeslav Sutej, Christopher Larkin, Joseph Colaneri, Richard Cummings, Jack Everly, William Lacey, Dean Williamson and Ken Masur.
Future engagements include the artist’s debut in the title role of Eugene Onegin.