Smoak dominated the stage with a performance of consummate wit, inspired clowning, resonant singing, and star power to spare.
– OPERA TODAY
With a voice of "rich presence and power" (OPERA TODAY), American bass-baritone Bradley Smoak has rapidly emerged as one of the stage’s most exciting and sought-after young talents. Known for his compelling presence on both the operatic and musical theater stages, Smoak continues to delight audiences with his “easy charismatic charm” and unique versatility across a wide variety of musical styles and theatrical characterizations.
Having recently completed his tenure as a member of the prestigious Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, he has performed ten roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago since his 2014 debut, and has shared the stage with such operatic legends as Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, and Ferruccio Furlanetto. During the 2016/17 season, Mr. Smoak received critical acclaim as Ghost of Hector (Narbal cover) in Les Troyens, Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen, as well as Chief of the Bandits in Don Quichotte, all at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He moves on to make company debuts with Michigan Opera Theater (Ligniere in David DiChiera’s Cyrano), North Carolina Opera (Stobrod/Blind Man in Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain), and Jacksonville Symphony (Baritone soloist in Faure’s Requiem) to begin the 2017/18 season.
Equally at home performing musical theater and crossover repertoire, Bradley Smoak was awarded the Top Prize at the 2017 Lotte Lenya Competition, showcasing his flexibility while spanning multiple styles and genres. Smoak was also recently named a 2017 winner of The Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation for his work at Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as the Top Award from the American Opera Society of Chicago in 2016. He was also the inaugural winner of the Marc Blitzstein Award from the 2016 Lotte Lenya Competition, highlighting his performance of musical theater from the “Golden Era”.
Past seasons have included a number of important debuts across the US, including Chicago Symphony Orchestra (L’enfant et les sortileges, Pelléas et Mélisande) under the baton of renowned conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, New York City Opera (Alice in Wonderland), Opera Omaha (The Magic Flute, Carmen, Fidelio), Annapolis Opera (La bohème), Opera Roanoke (The Pirates of Penzance) and Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice (Rigoletto, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Otello) where he returns in 2017 to originate the role of Cardinal Richelieu in the World Premiere of Les Trois Mousquetaires.
The 2015/16 season saw Mr. Smoak in several roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago, including Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro and Apprentice #1 (Doctor cover) in a new production of Wozzeck directed by Sir David McVicar and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Also at Lyric, Smoak originated the role of General Benjamín (Hosokawa cover) in Bel Canto, a newly commissioned work by Jimmy Lopez and Nilo Cruz that was featured on PBS as part of their Great Performances series. In addition, the 2015/2016 saw engagements with Pine Mountain Music Festival and Phoenicia Int’l Festival of the Voice, along with a much anticipated return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to perform Colline in La bohème with celebrated director Ron Daniels, of which OPERA NEWS declared “Bradley Smoak, as Colline, had an unhesitating bass that rang out over his costars’ voices.”
Mr. Smoak's 2011/12 season included bows as Zuniga in Carmen with both Opera Charleston (opposite Denyce Graves in the title role) and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where he also portrayed the King of Hearts in the American Premiere of Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland. Of his performance as the King, the CHICAGO CLASSICAL REVIEW lauded “the plush, rolling tones with which he echoed [the Queen’s] orders.” A former member of the esteemed Gerdine Young Artist Program, Smoak has become a household name with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, giving acclaimed performances as Masetto in Don Giovanni under the baton of Jane Glover, Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, 2nd Soldier in Salome, along with many others. His performance in Don Giovanni was praised in the press, with THE RIVERFRONT TIMES stating, “The best comic turns are pulled off by Bradley Smoak and his effortlessly elegant bass voice as the peasant, Masetto.” His 2013 return to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis saw his unforgettable Pirate King in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, for which KDHX exclaimed, “His performance is nothing short of amazing, mixing equal parts comedy, drama, deception and bravado with a cavalier swagger that carries the production.”
In 2009, Smoak made his international operatic debut with Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland, playing Suleyman Pasha in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles as well as Don Alfonso di Pardo in Donizetti’s rarely produced opera Maria Padilla. Mr. Smoak’s 2010 return to Wexford Festival Opera saw him in double duty, with OPERA NEWS praising his “handsome, beautifully produced bass” as Matouš in Smetana’s Hubička, and OPERA TODAY hailing his “warm, focused sound” as Uberto in La Serva Padrona.
The 2009/10 season with Palm Beach Opera also saw many faces of Mr. Smoak in his performances of Montano in Otello, Masetto in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, and Zuniga in Carmen. Of his performance in Carmen, the PALM BEACH ARTSPAPER extolled, “Outstanding was Bradley Smoak as Zuniga, who has great acting chops and a chocolate-rich bass that was easy on the ear.” His 2010/11 season also saw bows with Sarasota Opera in Puccini’s La bohème and Ward’s The Crucible.
Principal credits also include Schlèmil/Wolfram in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Boston Lyric Opera under famed pops conductor Keith Lockhart, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with Opera North, as well as performances with Colorado Music Festival and DuPage Opera, among others.
For a copy of Bradley Smoak's current resume, click here.