Robert Dean Smith

born 2 May 1956 Kansas City


Picture of Robert Dean Smith

Robert Dean Smith sings Die Walküre: Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond
In RA format

Robert Dean Smith sings Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Fanget an!
In RA format
Smith studied saxophone (he played it professionally in several ensembles, both classical and jazz) and voice in Pittsburg and at Juilliard School, New York. He began as a lyrical baritone in Germany (Bielefeld 1983–86, Wiesbaden 1986–89), then he restudied as a tenor, and made a second debut in 1989.

After contracts in Kassel, Augsburg and Bremen, he arrived at the Nationaltheater Mannheim (1995–99). He specialized in Wagner, and in 1997, he made his Bayreuth debut, stepping in for Peter Seiffert as Stolzing; he was a big success, and hence returned to Bayreuth almost every year until 2012, singing also Lohengrin, Siegmund and notably Tristan. His everyday work was now at theaters like La Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, Paris Opéra, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Staatsoper Dresden, Teatro Real Madrid, Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Covent Garden London, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Opernhaus Zürich, Metropolitan Opera New York.

Other than the roles already mentioned, he sang Tannhäuser, Erik, Parsifal, Florestan, José, Alvaro, German, Kaiser, Bacchus, des Grieux (Manon Lescaut)... an heldentenor as far as repertory, but with no heft, no metal, no voice, an early example of the trend towards sorely underpowered voices that has now led to tenori di grazia singing Pollione and Arnold.

Smith had a long career, and at age 66, he was still fully active.

Reference 1; reference 2: Kutsch & Riemens

I would like to thank Thomas Silverbörg for the recording (Meistersinger) and picture.

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