James Smith-Parham has a varied career singing opera, oratorio and musical theater. “Captivating performance … fervor of a priest … he soared … nice balance of forceful vigor and poignantly muted tone. When he sang at full throttle, the power and beauty of his vocal instrument were mesmerizing … diction is superb, allowing the listener to clearly hear every nuance of sound and meaning,” said the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He has sung with Virginia Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Memphis Opera, and Connecticut Opera. Operatic roles include Count Almaviva in “Le Nozze di Figaro,” Marcello in “La Boheme,” Guglielmo in “Cosi fan Tutte,” Lescaut in “Manon,” Sharpless in “Madama Butterfly,” Gianni Schicchi in “Gianni Schicchi” and Aeneas in “Dido and Aeneas.” Smith-Parham has sung under conductors Max Rudolph, Anton Guadagno, Michael Tilson Thomas, Richard Woitok, Peter Mark and Lucinda Carver and was a student of the opera buffa legend, Italo Tajo. Many roles in the oratorio repertory include Brahms’ “Requiem,” Mozart’s “Requiem,” Durufle’s “Requiem,” Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and “St. Paul” and Faure’s “Requiem.” Musical theater roles of importance are Archibald Craven in “Secret Garden,” Papa Charlie in “Shenandoah,” Father in “Children of Eden” and El Gallo in “Fantastics.” He has appeared in concert at the White House, the National Cathedral of Washington, D.C., the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. and St. Bartholomew’s in New York City. Smith-Parham has toured extensively, performing in Europe, the Middle East, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Antigua, Cuba and Panama. He teaches on the voice faculties of VCU and the University of Richmond, where he is the director of the Opera Workshop.