Richard Trey Smagur
Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2017, tenor Richard Trey Smagur has been noted by Opera Today for his “attractive lyric tenor” and “vivid presence.” In the 2018-2019 season, Mr. Smagur returned to the Houston Grand Opera Studio as Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer, conducted by Patrick Summers, Parpignol in La bohème, and the cover of Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles. This past summer, Mr. Smagur returned to Santa Fe in his role debut as Števa in David Alden’s production of Jenůfa, to great critical acclaim. Orchestral engagements include a performance of Dichterliebe at Houston Symphony’s Schumann Festival, his debut as Narraboth in Salome with the Dallas Symphony, under the baton of Fabio Luisi, Mahler’s Das klagende Lied with the Cincinnati Music Festival, conducted by James Conlon, and Handel’s Messiah with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
In the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Smagur made role and house debuts at Houston Grand Opera, including Gastone in La traviata, Young Servant in Elektra, and Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Miller Outdoor Theater. Mr. Smagur also made his house debut at Santa Fe Opera as Tsarevitch Gvidon in The Golden Cockerel, as well as his debut as Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette with Wolf Trap Opera. Orchestral appearances included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Filene Center and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde at The Aspen Music Festival & School under the baton of Patrick Summers.
Operatic highlights include Tamino in The Magic Flute with OK Mozart, covering Des Grieux in Manon as a young artist at Des Moines Metro Opera, the title role in Peter Grimes, B.F. Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Don José in Carmen, and Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore at Indiana University. Concert appearances include Elijah with the Tucson Desert Song Festival and performances as a tenor soloist with the Cincinnati Boy Choir.
A native of Clarkesville, Georgia, Mr. Smagur holds a Performer’s Diploma from Indiana University and Bachelor of Music from Shorter College. He has been a fellow at the Steans Music Institute at Ravinia Music Festival, and was a participant in Houston Grand Opera’s 2012 Young Artists Vocal Academy. Honors and Awards include the Richard Tucker Memorial Award from Santa Fe Opera and being named the 2016 Georgina Joshi Fellow from Indiana University.
“Smagur turned out to be something very special…then he started to sing, his voice at once tender and vulnerable before giving way to an amazing confidence and control that defied his age — 25 years — and sucked us into another place. He followed Fink’s lead and gave a compassionate performance that made you wonder: When will he win his Grammy, or make his Metropolitan Opera debut, and will we be lucky enough to see it and tell people around us, “I saw him when … “?”
“Richard Smagur’s Flower Song, “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée,” with a beautifully balanced range throughout, received a healthy reaction from the audience with his legato phrasing and ending with a lingering diminuendo.”
“Mr. Smagur has an attractive lyric tenor with a vivid presence.”
– Opera Today
“As the Viscount Gastone, Richard Trey Smagur led the way in terms of sheer conviviality and bonhomie, being quite literally the life of the party in voice and stage demeanor.”
“As seen Saturday night, there was more than physical stature to put the title character in bold relief against his social background. Richard Smagur displayed a voice that soared and raged, a glowing tenor that remained firm yet revealing of Grimes’ anguish. His physical carriage made him appear to loom over his fellows even while steadily sinking under the weight of lifelong disappointment and alienation.”
– Jay Harvey Upstage
“The soaring vocal command that Trey Smagur brought to the role [B.F. Pinkerton] heightened the impression of an uncouth American motivated solely by adventure. Yet Smagur, a giant of a tenor in more than the vocal department, also betrayed Pinkerton’s susceptibility to Cio-Cio-San’s charms. The cultural clash represented by this liaison was expertly staged. The first-act love duet that includes some of the score’s most glorious music had striking moments of emphasizing the couple’s incompatibility. We weren’t invited to take this in as another one of those glittering hug-and-bellow numbers so abundant in romantic opera.”
– Jay Harvey Upstage