Tenor Tyler Smith is Florestan in Ludwig van Beethoven’s opera Fidelio. The second act opens with “Gott! welch’ Dunkel hier!” which translates in English to “God, what darkness here!” Florestan is in the deepest recesses of a prison for those who have supposedly committed political crimes. Though he is innocent, he has lost all hope. The second section of the aria, and our featured selection is “In des Lebens Frühlingstagen…” which means “In the spring days of life…” Here, Florestan recalls past days of love before his years in the prison. In a moment of glorious foreshadowing, he also sees a rescuing angel “Ein Engel” who is like his wife, Leonore, and a beacon of light to lead him to Heaven. Jesse Reeks is our collaborative pianist.
Dr. Tyler Smith, Tenor
Dramatic tenor Tyler Smith has appeared in numerous operatic and concert performances throughout the United States, Europe, and South America. For his debut as Canio with New Orleans Opera, Mr. Smith stepped in with six hours notice for an ailing colleague. Opera News deemed his performance a “heroic job…[a] powerful voice and was remarkably in touch with the drama.” Notable title roles include, but are not limited to Don Jose in Carmen, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Max in Der Freischütz, Boris in Katya Kabanova, the title role in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffmann, and Belfiore in Argento’s Casanova’s Homecoming. Mr. Smith made his Houston Grand Opera Debut as Carlson in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, which was released on the Albany label.
Jesse Reeks, pianist
Jesse Reeks is the son of two very successful musicians, and he has played the piano since he was old enough to speak! He is also an expert on the accordion and a master-level organist. Jesse is comfortable in any realm of music, from secular to sacred and from classical to jazz. He has been the collaborative pianist for the Opéra Nouvelle series for the past year and a half, and he maintains an active performance schedule, even on the “virtual” level!