REGINALD SMITH JR.
PC: Jiyang Chen
“Reginald Smith, Jr. has one of the most exciting baritone sounds to come along in years. His voice is ample and thrillingly dramatic…”
Grammy and Emmy-winning baritone Reginald Smith, Jr., the 2021 US representative at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, has been lauded as a “passionate performer” (New York Times) with an “electric, hall-filling” (The Baltimore Sun), and “thrillingly dramatic” (Opera News) voice that is “one of the most exciting baritone sounds to come along in years” (Opera News). Reginald, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is a Grand Finals winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.
This season, Mr. Smith returns to the Houston Grand Opera as Pascoe in Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers and makes debuts with the Washington National Opera as the Reverend in Jeanine Tesori’s Blue, with the Santa Fe Opera as Scarpia in Tosca (a role he will have debuted earlier in the season with Opera Memphis) and with both Detroit Opera and Fort Worth Opera as Amonasro in Aida. In concert, Mr. Smith will debut with the San Francisco Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, with the Memphis Symphony in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, return to the New Jersey Symphony in Fauré’s Requiem and perform as the Grinch in holiday concerts with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra. He will also take part in a United in Song concert with the American Pops Orchestra, to be televised on PBS and appear in the Richard Tucker Music Foundation’s annual Gala in David Geffen Hall. He will finally perform in recital at Mercer University and with the Amarillo Opera. Future engagements include a return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Last season marked the baritone’s debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Uncle Paul in Terrence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, with the San Diego Opera as Don Alfonso in Così Fan Tutte and with Charleston’s Holy City Arts and Lyric Opera as Germont in La Traviata. He scored a personal triumph as Castor in the world premiere of Gregory Spears’ Castor and Patience at the Cincinnati Opera. In concert he returned to the Dallas Symphony for holiday concerts, debuted with the May Festival and the Oregon Symphony in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, sang Amonasro in Act 3 of Aida with the Atlanta Symphony and performed Messiah with the Nashville Symphony. Mr. Smith also appeared in solo recital at Kennesaw State University.
Reginald Smith, Jr.’s last season included returns to the Atlanta Opera as Tonio in I Pagliacci (a role debut), the Cincinnati Opera as Don Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and to the Dallas Symphony in a concert honoring the victims of racial violence and injustice. He also sang Jake in concerts of Porgy and Bess scenes with the New Orleans Opera.
Earlier Mr. Smith made his much-anticipated debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Jim in Porgy and Bess, followed by Amonasro in Aida with the Houston Grand Opera and Jake in Porgy and Bess with the Atlanta Opera. His orchestral appearances included Christmas Pops Concerts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
Prior to that, Reginald Smith, Jr. appeared as Jake in Porgy and Bess with Cincinnati Opera, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Opera Memphis, Amonasro in Aida with Opera Idaho, and returned to the rosters of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera. His orchestral engagements included the baritone solo in Carmina Burana for his return to the Houston Symphony and the bass solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at New Jersey Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, and Symphoria.
The 2017-2018 season included Mr. Smith’s company debuts with Opera Hong Kong as Amonasro in Aida, the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Senator Charles Potter/General Airlie/Bartender in Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers and Portland Opera as Monterone in Rigoletto. He returned to Opera Memphis to make his role debut as Taddeo in Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. In conjunction with the University of Michigan Gershwin Initiative’s research, Mr. Smith sang the role of Jake in a concert performance of the new, critical edition score of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Additionally, he made his concert debut with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra as the bass soloist for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, as well as making his Dallas Symphony Orchestra debut as the guest soloist and narrator for the Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops. This spring, he made his Lincoln Center debut as the bass soloist for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the National Chorale. Mr. Smith was thrilled to return to his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, to perform Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Lexington Singers and the University of Kentucky Chorale.
During the 2016 – 2017 season, Mr. Smith made company debuts with the San Francisco Opera, the Dallas Opera, Opera Memphis and Opera Carolina, as well as making his concert debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop.
Mr. Smith has appeared in operatic performances with Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Cincinnati Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Toledo Opera, and Houston Grand Opera. In concert, Mr. Smith has performed with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Lexington Philharmonic, Columbus Symphony Orchestra (GA), North Carolina Symphony, Johnson City Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, and the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Russia. Previous operatic highlights include La Bohème (Marcello), Die Fledermaus (Falke), Madama Butterfly (Sharpless), La Traviata (Giorgio Germont), The Pirates of Penzance (The Pirate King), Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (Capulet) and Le Nozze di Figaro (Count Almaviva). Mr. Smith’s previous concert engagements includes performances of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, the Fauré and Duruflé Requiems, Schubert’s Mass in G, Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon Bonaparte, Handel’s Messiah, and Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette.
In addition to receiving recognition from the Dallas Opera Guild Competition, the Mildred Miller International Vocal Competition, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation Vocal Competition, Mr. Smith has won first place in the National Opera Association Competition: Scholarship Division, Orpheus Vocal Competition: Young Artist Division, George London Vocal Competition: Top Prize (George London Award), Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition: Top Prize, received a 2015 Sarah Tucker Study Grant, and he has received a 2016 Career Grant from the William Matheus Sullivan Foundation.