Known for his riveting dramatic portrayals and the power and beauty of his voice, American baritone Morgan Smith has been entrusted to create 16 roles in world premieres, including Starbuck in Jake Heggie’s widely celebrated Moby-Dick. Mr. Smith has also earned universal praise for performances in traditional repertoire, notably Escamillo (Carmen), the title role of Don Giovanni, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Count Alamaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Four Villains (Les contes d’Hoffmann), and the title role of Eugene Onegin.
Most recently, Morgan’s work as Richard in Kevin Puts’ The Hours has been heard in workshops with Cincinnati Opera (2021) and The Metropolitan Opera (2022), as well as a cover assignment with the Philadelphia Orchestra (2022).
Prior to the impact of COVID, Morgan began the 2019/20 season fresh from two highly successful role debuts with Cincinnati Opera: Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos), and Earl Mann in the widely anticipated and greatly acclaimed premiere of Scott Davenport Richards’ and David Cote’s Blind Injustice. He revisited the role of Eugene Onegin with Livermore Valley Opera before appearing in Seattle as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the Seattle Symphony. Later that season, Morgan debuted with the Atlanta Symphony as soloist in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, and J. S. Bach’s Cantata 29.
Recent successes include Scarpia in Tosca with National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra, Herman in Ben Moore’s Enemies, a Love Story with Kentucky Opera, Paul Jobs in The (R)Evolution of Steve Jobs with Seattle Opera, Tadeusz in Weinberg’s The Passenger with Israeli Opera, Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Welsh National Opera, his title role debut of Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera Kansas City, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera and Opéra de Montréal; the reprise of his critically acclaimed Starbuck at Dallas Opera and LA Opera, Marcello in La bohème with Oper Leipzig and San Diego Opera. Mr. Smith performed Don Giovanni with Arizona Opera, Austin Opera, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He received rave reviews for his riveting portrayal of Joseph De Rocher in Dead Man Walking at Kentucky Opera and Opera on the Avalon in 2017.
Other performances of note included Escamillo in Carmen at Vancouver Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Fort Worth Opera and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Seattle Symphony. He joined the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus at Davies Hall to revive the role of Manfred in Jake Heggie’s poignant For a Look or a Touch (another role he created). Mr. Smith starred as Aaron in the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star at Cincinnati Opera, for which he won outstanding reviews. He sang Adam Brant in Mourning Becomes Electra at Florida Grand Opera; Tadeusz in The Passenger in the US premiere of David Pountney’s production at both Houston Grand Opera and Lincoln Center Festival; and Fritz in Die tote Stadt at Dallas Opera. Mr. Smith was honored to sing the role of Lieutenant Audebert in Silent Night in Fort Worth Opera’s presentation of Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize winning opera.
Smith made his European guest artist debut at the Berliner Staatsoper in 2011, performing Marcello in La bohème. Fully fluent in German, Mr. Smith joined Oper Leipzig in 2009 as a resident artist. Over the following four years he sang Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Billy in The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, Leandre in The Love for Three Oranges, Whitelaw Savory in One Touch of Venus, Marcello in La bohème, and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.
A regular on the concert stage, Mr. Smith made his Dallas Symphony debut in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion under the baton of Jaap van Zweden, 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, Fauré, Mozart and Duruflé; the Mass in C Minor of Mozart, Mass in G Minor and Serenade to Music of Vaughan Williams; Bach’s B Minor Mass, numerous Cantatas, and Weihnachts Oratorium; Handel’s Messiah and L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; and Haydn’s The Creation and Lord Nelson Mass.
Morgan has collaborated with prolific conductors such as Jaap van Zweden, Donald Runnicles, Itzhak Perlman, James Conlon, Ulf Schirmer, Christopher Allen, Robert Spano, Markus Stenz, Jacques LaCombe, Andreas Stöhr, Gerard Schwarz, Matthew Halls, Patrick Summers, Eduardo Mueller, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, Joseph Colaneri, George Manahan, Ramón Tebar, Jack Everly, Joseph Mechavich, James Meena, Emmanuel Villaume, Ken Masur, John DeMain, Ari Pelto, and Antony Walker.