Opera Scotland

Russell Smythe Suggest updates

Born Dublin,19 December 1949.

Irish baritone.

Russell Smythe studied in London at the Guildhall School of Music and the London Opera Centre. He worked with the major British companies and frequently at continental houses.

He began his career with English Music Theatre in 1976, singing the Ballad Singer in the UK premiere of Britten's Paul Bunyan at Aldeburgh. He also created the title role in Stephen Oliver's Tom Jones. Roles with Welsh National Opera included Monteverdi (Ottone); Britten (Billy Budd), Tchaikovsky (Yeletsky, Eugene Onegin), Mozart (Papageno, Count Almaviva), Rossini (Figaro), Donizetti (Malatesta) and Handel (Garibaldo in Rodelinda). The last two were televised.

For the Royal Opera he sang Ned Keene, Malatesta, Dr Falke and Guglielmo. With English National Opera his roles included Pelléas, Papageno, Figaro, Tarquinius, Andrei Bolkonsky (War and Peace), Guglielmo and Albert (Werther). At Opera North he sang Figaro and Henri in Le roi malgré lui (Chabrier). He also appeared at the Buxton Festival in Donizetti's Torquato Tasso (title role) and the English Bach Festival as Oreste (Iphigénie en Tauride).

Appearances in Scotland began with Papageno (a visit to Glasgow by WNO). He worked with Scottish Opera as Figaro, Falke, Eugene Onegin, Balstrode and Peter in Hansel and Gretel.

Appearances abroad include the Hamburg State Opera (Tony in West Side Story, Guglielmo, Figaro, Harlekin, Pelléas, Papageno); Vienna Volksoper (Count Eberbach in Der Wildschütz, Falke, Papageno); Paris Opéra (Harlekin, Dr Faustus); Lyon (Sherasmin in Oberon); Basel (Oreste, Germont); San Sebastian (Malatesta); Madrid (Ned Keene); Catania (Papageno); Vancouver (Papageno); Amsterdam (Nardo in La finta giardiniera).

Recordings on CD include Edward III in Donizetti's L'assedio di Calais. He can be seen on DVD in the ENO Rape of Lucretia and the Warner Video recording of Sullivan's Cox and Box.

Roles in Scotland

Papageno a bird-catcher
Zauberflöte 1979
Figaro a barber
Barbiere di Siviglia 1985
Falke a notary and friend of Eisenstein
Fledermaus 1988
Eugene Onegin Lensky's friend
Eugene Onegin 1993
Captain Balstrode a retired sea officer
Peter Grimes 1994
Henri (Henri de Valois) leader of a revolutionary cell in Moldavia, secretly 'The Runaway Prince'
Roi malgré lui 1994
Peter a broom maker and father of Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel 1996

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