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Geert Smits (Baritone)

Born: 1965 - Helden, Limburg in the south of Holland

The Dutch baritone, Geert Smits, studied at the Konservatorium in Tilburg and at Sweelinck Konservatorium in Amsterdam, graduating 1990/1993. Among his principal teachers were Bernard Kruysen and Margreet Honig. In 1997 he was awarded the prestigious Nederlandse Muziekprijs which enabled him to continue his studies with Robert Holl, Walter Berry, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elio Battaglia (Italy) and Mikael Eliasen (USA). With his accompanist Hans Eijsackers he received the 1992 silver Vriendenkrans of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. The following year brought him a prize at the London Walther Gruner Song Competition. He was a laureate at the 1994 Cristina Deutekom Competition and reached the final round of the 1995 Plácido Domingo Contest. In 1997 he was awarded the Vienna and Hamburg State Opera Prize at the Belvédère Contest, Vienna.

Geert Smits joined in 1993 the opera-studio in Cologne, where he appeared a.o as Valentin in Faust (Charles Gounod). In 1996 he debuted at the Salzburg Festival in Oberon by Weber, (conducted by John Eliot Gardiner). He also sang the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro (Lyon), and Silvio in Pagliacci (France). He is a regular guest at the Nederlandse Opera at the Concertgebouw matinée. With the Nederlandse Opera he sang in L'Orfeo and in Tosca and he could be heard also in concert performances of a.o. Lodoiska (Luigi Cherubini) and as Alfonso in La Favorita (Donizetti).

In 1995 Geert Smits and Hans Eijsackers were discovered at the Bad-Kissingen Festival when they were asked to take over a Lieder recital at the last minute. Their debut recital at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw took place in January 1997. He is also familiar with the oratorio repertoire. 1996 and 1997 he toured with the Nederlandse Bachvereniging (J.S. Bach's Matthäus-Passion (BWV 244) with CD and TV recordings), and sang The Seasons in the 1996 Melbourne Festival with the Australian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Julian Reynolds.

The 1998-1989 season brought Geert Smits a Vienna State Opera contract. He made his debut with them as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos. He sang roles as Ottokar in Der Freischütz, Heerrufer in Lohengrin, Don Fernando in Fidelio, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, Moralès in Carmen, Silvio in I Pagliacci, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Donner in Das Rheingold, Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier and the Einäugigen in the premier of Die Frau ohne Schatten (December 1999). Further he could be heard as Melot in Tristan und Isolde (re-performance in October 2000), Donald in Billy Budd (in the premier of February 2001), Master en Cardinal by Lothringen in Palestrina, as well as priest and Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte. In May 2002 he also sang the role of Wolfram von Eschenbach in Tannhäuser.

This season (2004-2005) Geert Smits sings a.o. the Holländer in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer with Opera Zuid and Donner in Das Rheingold - also by Wagner - with the Nederlandse Opera.

Geert Smits made several CD recordings: Monteverdi's Orfeo under René Jacobs, Pijper's Merlijn under David Porcelijn, Bach's St.Matthew's Passion (BWV 244) under Jos van Veldhoven and at the label Erasmus Geert Smits together with pianist Hans Eijsackers released a CD: Im wunderschönen Monat Mai with Lieder by Schumann (Dichterliebe), Schubert (lieder from Schwanengesang) and Johannes Brahms, all on text by Heinrich Heine.

Source: Mostly from Dutch Divas Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (July 2003)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works

Conductor

As

Works

Riccardo Chailly

Bass

BWV 244 [1st]

Bruce Dickey

Bass

BWV 118 [w/ Concerto Palatino]

Roger Norrington

Bass

BWV 244

Jos van Veldhoven

Bass

BWV 244 [1st, Jesus]

Links to other Sites

Geert Smits - Dutch baritone (Dutch Divas)

Geert Smits (Wiener Staatsoper) [German]

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Last update: ýFebruary 28, 2013 ý10:23:51