Reginald Smith Jr. is a studio artist in his second year with the Houston Grand Opera, which means he's part of a small elite group getting an intense course of study and a chance to appear in operas while readying for what he hopes will be a longtime career. At this season's Studio Artists performance, HGO Music and Artistic Director Patrick Summers singled Smith out as someone who's going to be doing great things.
Photo courtesy of HGO Reginald Smith
Smith grew up in Atlanta and says he was always singing along with his two brothers and two sisters. He was in school choir from second grade all the way through college. An eighth grade teacher spotted his talent and told him he should consider going to the city's School for the Arts. His major there was vocal music. "I just wanted to be a good choir singer.
Then in the tenth grade, he attended his first opera. "I thought I've never seen an opera before and it's ten bucks and even if it's boring, I can get out of school. So I went to see it and my first opera, and it was Tosca, a great opera."
"The thing that I can remember that was so amazing to me was that all of the main characters died. When the soprano sang Avante a Dio, most people sort of run and jump off the back of the building. She stood on the ledge and sang Avante a Dio and then jumped backwards. I thought, 'Man, that's pretty intense. I kind of like this stuff.' " Soon after he looked up more about Puccini, and the opera started taking his lessons much more seriously. "It was really then that I thought maybe I should consider more singing. "
What he does:
"I sing the best music in the world. And I think that goes for opera music, that goes for art songs. It goes for French, German, Italian, English. I love singing concert works like Beethoven's symphonies. But also doing wonderful things like 'Unforgettable.' I think I have the best job in the world. I get to sing great music and experience wonderful opportunities in new and interesting places and I get paid to do it! "More »