Described as a ‘honeyed bass-baritone’ with ‘a lively voice with strong textures and tonal definition’ and ‘surely a Fine Figaro and Leporello in waiting’, young British Bass-Baritone of Serbian descent, Božidar Smiljanić, is steadily being recognised as a singer of international quality. This season, he will sing the title role in English National Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins.
Božidar is a member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt where his roles in the 2019/20 season will include Leporello in a revival of Christoph Loy’s production of Don Giovanni, Eumée in Corinna Tetzel’s new production of Pénélope and Farasmane in Radamisto among others. In his first season at Oper Frankfurt (18/19), Božidar performed the roles of Garibaldo in Claus Guth’s staging of Rodelinda, Ariodate in Xerxes under Constantinos Carydis, Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Hunter/Gamekeeper (Rusalka), and Zuniga in Barrie Kosky’s Carmen.
Božidar made his professional debut in 2014 at Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Captain (Eugene Onegin) under Omer Meir Wellber and returned as Masetto (Don Giovanni) on the Glyndebourne Tour. Božidar since debuted at several major UK companies including Garsington Opera as Haly (L’italiana in Algeri) under David Parry, and at Scottish Opera as Schaunard (La Bohème). As a Harewood Arist of English National Opera, Božidar performed the roles of The Marquis in Daniel Kramer’s production of La Traviata) and Schaunard in Jonathan Miller’s production of La Bohème.
With a particularly extensive concert repertoire, Božidar is a regular on the concert platform and has already developed relationships with a number of key conductors and orchestras with recent highlights including Bach’s Mass in B minor with Nathalie Stutzmann and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with John Wilson and Brander in Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust with Ed Gardner, both with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Masetto (Don Giovanni) with Jakub Hrůša with the Bamberger Symphoniker in Bamberg and at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, and Handel’s Messiah with Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel, Trevor Pinnock and Das Neue Orchester Köln, and Richard Cooke and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s Royal Albert Hall. This season, Božidar will reunite with Hervé Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel and with Richard Cooke and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for performances of Messiah at the Philharmonie de Paris and Royal Albert Hall respectively.
Božidar studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he received the Principal’s Prize for exceptional all-round studentship. With the support of a full scholarship, he trained at the Academy for four years under Professor Mark Wildman and Iain Ledingham. Božidar’s highly-lauded student performances included the title role in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, The Mayor in Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night, many Cantatas by JS Bach including BWV 82: Ich habe genug, BWV 56: Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen and BWV 158: Der Friede sei mit dir and wide selection of song and oratorio repertoire.
Božidar was born and raised in London and gained a degree in Law at the University of Nottingham before embarking on a performance career.
Božidar’s studies at the Royal Academy of Music were supported by the generosity of numerous benefactors and trusts. He is most heartily grateful for all the support he received from the Robert Easton Award, the Charles Mackerras Opera Scholarship, the Matthew & Sally Ferrey Scholarship, the Friends of Clumber Music Studio, the Leverhulme Trust, the Fishmonger’s Company, interested persons in Lincoln, Help Musicians UK (Ian Fleming Award), the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Josephine Baker Trust.
1, 6, 11, 15 Dec 2019; 11, 17, 23 Jan 2020
Oper Frankfurt – Opernhaus, Frankfurt
29 Dec 2019; 4, 12, 18 Jan 2020
Oper Frankfurt – Opernhaus, Frankfurt
14, 19, 21, 25, 31 March; 2, 9, 14, 16, 18 April
English National Opera – London Coliseum
Conductor: Kevin John Edusei (James Henshaw Apr 14,16,18))
Director: Joe Hill-Gibbins
Figaro: BOŽIDAR SMILJANIĆ
Susanna: Louise Alder
Count Almaviva: Johnathan McCullough
Countess Almaviva: Sophie Bevan
Cherubino: Hanna Hipp
Marcellina: Susan Bickley
Dr Bartolo: Andrew Shore
Don Basilio / Don Curzio: Colin Judson
Barbarina: Rowan Pierce