Craig Smith was born in Bolton / England and educated at Manchester University, where he gained his Chemistry degree. He taught Chemistry for almost ten years whilst singing as an amateur and then retrained at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester as a postgraduate student.
In 1993, his professional operatic debut took place as Lord Cecil in Jonathan Miller’s production of Maria Stuarda the for Buxton Festival. In 1994, he entered the Zürich International Opera Studio and the following year the ensemble of the opera, where he sang many smaller roles opposite singers like Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, Agnes Baltsa, Simon Estes, Leo Nucci, Hermann Prey and Alfredo Kraus. In 1996, he sang his first big Verdi role: Nabucco at the Hersfeld Festival in Germany.
Since then, he has sung roles such as Scarpia in Tosca, Michele (Il tabarro), Verdi’s Rigoletto, Ford (Falstaff), Germont (La Traviata), Escamillo (Carmen), Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos), Tonio (Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci), Mozart’s Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) for companies as varied as English National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North and Holland Park Opera.
On the concert platform, Craig Smith has an extensive repertoire including Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius and Händel’s Messiah. He has worked frequently with important British Orchestras such as the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
Engagements of the season 2007/08 included his role debut as Alfio in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana as well as Tonio in I Pagliacci for Lakeland Opera / England, Nabucco at the State Opera Bucharest, as well as Germont in La Traviata for the St. Margarethen Festival and an opera gala with German, French, Belcanto and Verdi arias together with tenor Michael Spyres and the Koblenz Philharmonic Orchestra in Wiesbaden.
In September and October 2008, he gave his Japan debut as Rigoletto in Tokyo and eight other japonese cities and in May 2009 he sang Spencer Coyle in the Austrian premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave in Vienna, directed by Nicola Raab. In February 2009, he sang Michonnet in a concert performance of Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur alongside Nelly Miricioiu and Rosalind Plowright, conducted by Andrew Greenwood at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
The same role he covered in the new production at the Royal Opera Covent Garden in November and December 2010.
In August and September 2009, he added the role of Amonasro in Aida to his repertoire within an open air production in front at several castles in Belgium (in, among other cities, Liège, Namur and La Bruges), a role he repeated in April 2010 with the Warwick Symphony Orchestra. In October and November 2009, he sang Lindorf, Coppélius, Miracle and Dapertutto for the first time for a new production of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann in Baden in the critical edition of Michael Kay.
Other most recent engagements include La Traviata at Loughcrew Garden Opera in Ireland, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Longborough Festival and Lockit in Britten's Beggar's Opera for the Opera Project and a tour throughout the UK of La Traviata with Garden Opera.
In November 2010 he gave his role debut as Luna in Il Trovatore at Burry Port Opera. In April 2011, he made his debut at the Theater an der Wien with a production of Poulenc's Les dialogues des Carmélites, conducted by Bertrand de Billy and in July 2011 he returned to the Longborough Festival for a new production of Falstaff, singing Ford.
In October 2011 and in October 2013 he participated in an operatic gala concert at the Bad Urach Festival.
In 2013 he also appeared in a role debut as Simon Boccanegra with English Touring Opera and as Germont in La Traviata in a tour through the UK.
In 2014 he made his Covent Garden debut as Geôlier in Robert Carsen's new production of Les dialogues des Carmélites, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
Engagements in 2015 and 2016 include Donizetti's L'assedio di Calais, Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo, Lamberto in Pia de Tolomei and Thoas in Iphigénie en Tauride with English Touring Opera.
In 2017 he will sing Scarpia in Tosca with the English Touring Opera and at the Brigitte Festival in Tallinn.