Bass-Baritone Božidar Smiljanic
Božidar Smiljanić sings the title role in English National Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro this season, directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins. Following his international operatic debut last season as a new member of Oper Frankfurt’s ensemble, Božidar continues there this season in his debut as Leporello (Don Giovanni) in Christof Loy’s production, Eumée in Corinna Tetzel’s new production of Fauré’s Pénélope, and Farasmane (Radamisto) amongst others, and gives his debut recital in the house. Last season in Frankfurt, he debuted a series of roles including Garibaldo in Claus Guth’s new staging of Rodelinda, Ariodate (Xerxes) under Constantinos Carydis, Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Hunter (Rusalka) and Zuniga in Barrie Kosky’s Carmen.
A regular on the concert platform, Božidar has already developed a relationship 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 and 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. With a particularly extensive concert repertoire, Božidar’s further performances include Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Fauré’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, as well as a large number of Bach’s cantatas which he performed under Masaaki Suzuki on tour in the UK, USA and Germany whilst still a student.
Born and raised in London, Božidar made his professional debut at the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival, and has since debuted with some of the major UK companies, including Scottish Opera (Schaunard in La bohème), Garsington Opera (Haly in L’italiana in Algeri) Glyndebourne on Tour (Masetto), before joining English National Opera as a Harewood Artist last season.
During his studies at the Royal Academy of Music, Božidar amassed a variety of operatic roles and was particularly singled out as Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), with Opera describing his performance as “charismatic and velvet-voiced, simmering with subtle menace beneath his bonhomie and roaring magnificently in defeat”. Further roles include Monterone (Rigoletto), Le Roi (Cendrillon), Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring), Betto (Gianni Schicchi), The Mayor in Rimsky-Korsakov’s May Night and Luka in Walton’s The Bear.