Described as 'unflaggingly robust' by Opera Magazine and 'un musicien formidable' by the late Pierre Boulez, Brian is an operatic tenor, based in London (UK), freelancing around Europe and the United States. As a lyric Heldentenor, his favourite roles have been Siegmund in Die Walküre, Paul in Die tote Stadt and the title roles of Tristan, Parsifal, and Peter Grimes.
Recently, Brian sang Menalas in Richard Strauss's Die ägyptische Helana as part of the UK premiere of the Viennese version of this challenging work, making him the fourth tenor this century to sing the role. In 2020, he was selected for the live finals of the prestigious Wagnerian Lauritz Melchior International Singing Competition in Denmark. Brian had the pleasure of singing the rarity of Mark in Ethel Smyth's The Wreckers, as part of the centenary of Women's Suffrage. Additionally, he was honoured to revisit Siegmund, making his New York City debut in Summer 2019, singing in Carnegie Hall.
Brian teaches most vocal styles, having had extensive training in classical and music theatre techniques. Additionally, he has music directed a number of musicals over the last decade. This, combined with being an active performer and teacher in UK institutions for over 10 years, gives him a unique amount of experience and expertise for singing students.
Wagner News: 'Brian Smith Walters clearly relished the opportunity to sing Act III while in his freshest voice. His bright, clean-edged tenor was like a clarion call, and he was wonderfully bolshy and, frankly, unsympathetic in his uncomprehending conflict with the Wanderer.
And he didn't just sing! As Selwyn launched int the Interlude, Smith Walters produced a French horn and played the horn solo with tremendous elan. It took my breath away. Has any other Siegfried quite literally blown his own horn?
The Times: 'Brian Smith Walters's bravura as Menalaus'
Tim Ashley, Opera Critic for the Guardian: 'Superb singing from everyone, with [Brian Smith Walters] and Luci Briginshaw outstanding as Menelas and Aithra.'
Planet Hugill: 'The result was wonderfully engaging, and in the performances of the two principals, Brian Smith Walters as Menelas and Justine Viani as Helena, completely riveting...Smith Walters brought a touching sense of realism to his portrayal, and he sang with heroic firmness and amazing stamina so that the final reconciliation was indeed rapturous.'
Seen and Heard International: 'Every inch a Heldentenor, with that historic semi-baritonal hue so characteristic of Wagner roles, Smith Walters offered a moving, vulnerable portrayal.'
The Arts Desk: 'Maybe in this space and given the small instrumental forces, we don't need an heroic-dramatic soprano and tenor, but he's found them in Justine Viani and Brian Smith Walters...both impress in the beaten-bronze middle ranges'
Harmony magazine: 'Brian Smith Walters as Menelas (Menelaus) had the evening's hardest task. I consider it quite possible that one major reason for the scarcity of performances of this opera is that Menalas is possibly the most brutal that Strauss, rarely noted for kindness to his tenors, ever wrote. Technically, it should be unsingable. Smith Walters deserves a medal for attempting it in the first place and another for succeeding so magnificently. He sang with sustained splendour, depicted the character's trauma with deep conviction, and even made the constant shifts of recall and amnesia credible.
In short, he knocked it so far out of the park that the search for the ball had to be called off.'
Mark Berry, author of the Cambridge Companion to Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen: 'Brian Smith Walters and Gweneth-Ann Rand offered pretty much everything one could hope for in the Volsung lovers. The former's Heldentenor thrilled vocally as any Siegmund must; there was, though, much more to him than that. Like the rest of the cast, he took advantage of the lack of full staging to show just how much character narrative can develop through words and music. From outlawry and dejection to apparent victory, only to be snatched away from him by the chief of the gods himself (ever unknown to him as his father), this was a story that demanded to be told.'
Wagner News: 'Brian Smith Walters gave Siegmund a sumptuous regality of voice allied to acute dramatic sensitivity. His 'Winterstürme' soared with the triumph of a Siegfried and the tenderness of a Preislied.'
Opera Magazine: 'Brian Smith Walters showed himself here as a Tristan every inch a Heldentenor. As vividly communicative in words as in music, Smith Walters paced his performance wisely, with as keen a developmental edge as any listener might wish for, culminating in shattering agonies and sweetly long-for release.'
Wagner News: 'He unflinchingly traced the trajectory of the proud hero, humbled by love and racked with guilt, to an agonised, hallucination-ridden Act III of such Vickers-like intensity that one feared both for the character and the singer. His wondrous bronze trumpet of a tenor made the music sound almost insolently easy, and his communication of the text was amazingly vivid.'
The Boulezian: 'For all the surrounding metaphysics, this was a profoundly human journey'