American baritone Morgan Smith, begins the 2017-18 season at Lyric Opera Kansas City in his title role debut of Eugene Onegin. He returns to the role of Joseph de Rocher Dead Man Walking at Kentucky Opera followed by performances of Handel Messiah with Kansas City Symphony.
Highlights of last season include returning to the role of Sharpless Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera. He continued 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 traveled to Oper Leipzig for a repeat appearance as Marcello La bohème. The artist joined Arizona Opera to inaugurate the role of vigilante hero John Lassiter in the world wide premiere of Riders of the Purple Sage and appeared in concert with San Antonio Symphony. Other engagements in 2017 included Joseph de Rocher Dead Man Walking at Opera on the Avalon and Beethoven Missa Solemnis at the Oregon Bach Festival.
Past highlights include Sharpless Madama Butterfly at Opèra de Montrèal; Baltimore Symphony in the title role of Don Giovanni highlights with Markus Stenz. He also 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.
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Dead Man Walking, Kentucky Opera
Morgan Smith, as De Rocher, holds a steady, cool demeanor and delivers a conflicted sense of power over his own sense of himself in front of Prejean as he sings his part. At one point, he even sings after doing a string of push-ups.
WFPL Arts and Culture, Elizabeth Kramer, 28 October 2017
Morgan Smith, returning to Kentucky Opera and to this role, is a compelling Joseph De Rocher. His physical size alone is intimidating. Smith's confident baritone is a good vehicle for De Rocher's arrogance and braggadocio in the early parts of the work. Heggie writes some of his most lyrical phrases for De Rocher, and Smith is equally potent in those moments, opening up, finally, to the confession that Prejean has sought all along. The relationship between these two doesn't have quite enough time to explore their early disconnects, but these two performers give full due to those last hours on Death Row.
Broadway World, Keith Waits, 30 October 2017
Eugene Onegin, Lyric Opera of Kansas City
For Onegin, emphatically played by Morgan Smith, it was reversed, from aloof stranger to dismissive neighbor to groveling suitor. You believe his change of affection, but still side with Tatyana’s pragmatic and honorable decision.
The Kansas City Star, Libby Hanssen, 1 October 2017
Morgan Smith, baritone, takes on the titular role with a pompous and arrogant demeanour perfect for the cynical Onegin. His dark timbres provide an ageing quality to the young dandy that helps justify the jaded outlook that Onegin has toward the world and wonderfully compliments González’s youthful tone. In Onegin’s Sermon (“Were I a man whom fate intended”) Smith does well in keeping distance in his voice and not letting much emotion show as he rejects Tatyana’s letter, “the avowal of a trusting heart, the outpouring of an innocent love.” The contrast between the Onegin of the first two acts and the broken, regretful man in the final act is powerful. Smith lets himself fall completely into a tormented state of love, and one can hear the heartache in his voice as he declares his anguish in what is one of the most powerful and abrupt operatic endings.
KC Metropolis, Anthony Rodgers, 1 October 2017
Morgan Smith has a powerfully rich baritone...
Kansas City Independent, Paul Horsley, 2 October 2017
Carmen, Vancouver Opera
Morgan Smith’s Escamillo (the matador) superbly delivered machismo with every cell of his body, especially the famous “Toreador” song, which he sang like a proud cockerel (also, his spoken French made everyone else by contrast sound like they were speaking Air Canada French).
Jason Hall, Vancouver Observer, September 2014
Morgan Smith’s Opera Repertoire
Fidelio (Don Pizarro)
Riders of the Purple Sage (Lassiter)
Peter Grimes (Balstrode)
Lucia di Lamermoor (Enrico)
Morning Star (Aaron Greenspan
Dead Man Walking (Joseph DeRocher)
Die tote Stadt (Frank)
I Pagliacci (Silvio)
Cavalleria Rusticana (Alfio)
Don Giovanni (Title role)
Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Four Villains)
Frau Margot (Ted Steinert)
An American Dream (Jim)
La Giaconda (Barnaba)
Madama Butterfly (Sharpless)
Silent Night (Lt. Audebert)
Guglielmo Tell (Title role)
Samson and Delilah (High Priest of Dagon)
Sweeney Todd (Title role)
Salome (Jochanaan )
The Rake's Progress (Nick Shadow)
Eugene Onegin (Title role)
La Traviata (Germont)
Tristan und Isolde (Kurvenal)
One Touch of Venus (Whitelaw Savory)
The Passenger (Tadeusz)