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Povero Ernesto   Hayden Smith, tenor
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Poverto Ernesto: Don Pasquale (Gaetano Donizetti)
Hayden Smith, tenor
August 2023
H. Smith Headshot.jpeg


American Tenor Hayden Smith, known for his “burnished tenor (that) is blessed with technique and glorious phrasing” (HoustonPress), is making his mark on the bel canto, contemporary, and early music repertoire with unique interpretations and daring vocal pyrotechnics. In the 2023-2024 season, Mr. Smith portrayed the title roles in Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing and Grétry’s Beauty and the Beast with OPERA Iowa. Additionally, he joined MidAmerica Productions at Carnegie Hall as the tenor soloist in Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass. This summer, he joins the esteemed Apprentice Artist program at Des Moines Metro Opera, covering Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville and singing Mr. Sparhawk in the world premiere of American Apollo. The previous summer, he was a Young Artist with Glimmerglass Festival where he sang Tybalt in a new production of Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and portrayed Frank in the world premiere of Morris and Fuentes’s The Rip Van Winkles.

Championed for his work across leading young artist programs in the country, Mr. Smith joined Wolf Trap Opera for three consecutive summers as a Studio Artist. While there, he portrayed Elder Hayes in Susannah, Giuseppe in La Traviata, and covered Le Prince Charmant in Viardot’s Cendrillon and Colin in L’amant anonyme. As a Vocal Fellow with Music Academy of the West in 2019, he sang both Junior and Charlie in Cold Mountain. That same year, he joined Houston Grand Opera’s Young Artist Vocal Academy as a Young Artist, and in 2018, he was a Young Artist with the Chautauqua Institute Voice Program.

Making a home in Houston’s vibrant classical community, Mr. Smith is a graduate of Rice University’s esteemed vocal program. While in the program, Mr. Smith starred as Don Ottavio in 2022’s Don Giovanni and sang Arnalta in their production of L’incoronazione di Poppea. Joining Houston’s Opera in the Heights, he made his company debut as Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore in 2022, a role he debuted with Temple University Opera in 2019. 


A frequent winner in the competition circuit, he was a 2023 Houston District winner in the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and an Encouragement Award winner in the New Orleans District in 2022. He received the prestigious Carolyn Bailey Argento Fellowship through the National Opera Association in the 2022-2023 season and was the 1st Place winner of the NATS TBB Upper College Division in 2021.

Mr. Smith completed his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at Temple University and a Master of Music degree at Rice University.

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