Described by Pierre Boulez as “un musicien formidable” and “unflaggingly robust” by Opera Magazine, tenor Brian Smith Walters began his musical career as a French horn player before turning to singing. In his career, Walters has performed over 75 roles, including such roles as Tristan in Tristan und Isolde, Siegfried, Parsifal, Siegmund in Die Walküre, Paul in Die tote Stadt, Samson in Samson et Dalila, Captain Vere in Billy Budd and Peter Grimes. He has worked with conductors Valery Gergiev, Sir Mark Elder, and Christoph Eschenbach in festivals such as Lucerne, Schleswig-Holstein, Longborough, Buxton, Grange Park, and Aldeburgh with additional work at the Barbican and Royal Opera, Covent Garden.
Recent career highlights have included performing the role of Mark in Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers as part of the centenary of women’s suffrage, participating in the finals of the prestigious Lauritz Melchior International Singing Competition, and making his New York debut, singing Siegmund in Carnegie Hall for Manhattan Opera working with staff from the Metropolitan Opera.
In 2021, Walters sang Menelas in Strauss’s Die ägyptische Helena, making him the fourth tenor to sing the role this century. And in early 2023, Walters sang Andrei in the English premiere of Tchaikovsky’s The Oprichnik.
In contemporary music, he has premiered various works by Nicola LeFanu, Michael Torke, Domenic Muldowney, and Ailis Ni Riain and has also collaborated with Harrison Birtwistle, Oliver Knussen, and Pierre Boulez on performances of their works. As a student, Walters was the United Kingdom’s sole representative to the first Lucerne Festival academy for contemporary music.
Walters has performed on BBC Radios 3 and 4; SWR Radio (Switzerland); NDR Radio and Television (Germany); and African Television.
The Financial Times called Walters “full-blooded;” The Times acclaimed his “bravura” as Menalas; Seen and Heard International described him as “Every inch a Heldentenor;” and Harmony Magazine said, “In short, he knocked it so far out of the park that the search for the ball had to be called off.”