American baritone Morgan Smith, begins the 2018-19 season in the role of Count Almaviva The Marriage of Figaro at Inland Northwest Opera. The artist returns to Kentucky Opera as Herman Broder Enemies: A Love Story before he travels to Seattle Opera in the role of Paul Jobs The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. At Israeli Opera Morgan makes his house debut as Tadeusz The Passenger in revival performances of a new production by David Pountney, which ran with great success in recent seasons at Houston Grand Opera and at Lincoln Center.
Role debuts in recent seasons include the title role Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera Kansas City, Joseph de Rocher Dead Man Walking, Sharpless Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera, Scarpia Tosca in concert with National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra and Four Villains Les contes d’Hoffmann at Madison Opera.
At Dallas Opera Mr Smith revived his highly-lauded portrayal of the First Mate Starbuck in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, a role he sang at San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera; he also appeared in the national PBS broadcast of the piece and the DVD which was released for commercial exploitation. Enjoying a long artistic collaboration with Heggie, he joined San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Hall to inaugurate the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s For a Look or a Touch.
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Enemies, A Love Story, Kentucky Opera
And speaking of vocal dexterity, it was wonderful to have Morgan Smith return to the Kentucky Opera stage as Herman. When last in Louisville he was the condemned Joseph in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. I dare say that Mr. Smith may have improved even more in that short amount of time. Very rarely did I hear his voice waiver from a full powerhouse baritone, even as he was lying down, he could always be heard. Not to mention that he has the kind of voice that one can sink their teeth into.
Arts-louisville, Annette Skaggs, 13 November 2018
The Marriage of Figaro, Inland Northwest Opera
Behind the fuming and fluster, one senses an implacable intention by the character to have his way. This determination was projected by Smith’s mastery of the vocal challenges of his part: his immaculate diction, as well as the firmness and solidity of tone throughout the full range of the part. His dramatic presence is also commanding, not least in his portrayal of the Count’s final remorse and contrition for the humiliation he has brought on himself and his devoted wife.
The Spokesman-Review, Larry Lapidus, 23 September 2018
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)