Artist of the month, April 2019


Russell Thomas – “a tenor of gorgeously burnished power…”
– New York Times

“Opera has been unapologetically elitist – but that doesn’t mean that it’s not accessible. We need to think of it as, ‘Is this something that I can relate to?’ Who can’t relate to being loved or loving somebody? Who can’t relate to death or losing someone they love? Who can’t relate to war, especially today? Anyone can relate to these things. That’s what makes opera accessible.”
– Russell Thomas

Russell Thomas on Opera News cover

Russell Thomas headshot

With a “heroically shining tone of exceptional clarity and precision” (Opera Magazine) and “gorgeously burnished power” (The New York Times), American tenor Russell Thomas uses his signature elegance and intensity to create vivid character portrayals on the world’s most prominent stages. This season, Russell Thomas sang his first staged performances of the title role of Otello (Verdi) at Canadian Opera Company, under the baton of Maestro Johannes Debus. He will repeat this role at Deutsche Oper Berlin under the baton of Paolo Arrivabeni. He will make his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany, in the role of Manrico in Verdi’s Il Trovatore under the direction of Maestro Asher Fisch, and in the title role of Roberto Devereux at San Francisco Opera.

Recent highlights include Mr. Thomas’ portrayal of the title role debut of Stiffelio at Oper Frankfurt, Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Cavaradossi in Tosca at Los Angeles Opera and the title role in La clemenza di Tito at the Salzburger Festspiele, which he will reprise this season at Los Angeles opera under the baton of Maestro James Conlon. Other professional and artistic triumphs include his house debuts at the Royal Opera House in London as Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra (Verdi), and Lyric Opera of Chicago in the role of Pollione in Norma (Bellini).

Mr. Russell will make his concert debut at the BBC Proms in Beethoven’s Symphony No.9. He will be featured at Dallas Symphony in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde under Donald Runnicles.

Russell Thomas

Russell Thomas

Acclaimed for his “voice of intrinsic warmth and refined sense of style” (Opera News), Mr. Thomas has enjoyed a string of operatic triumphs in recent seasons, including performances as Don Carlo at Washington National Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin; Cavaradossi in Tosca at Los Angeles Opera and Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Pollione in Norma at Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia. He has debuted as Florestan in Fidelio at Cincinnati Opera, as Stiffelio at Oper Frankfurt, and as Turiddu in Cavalleria rusticana at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Mr. Thomas has sung Rodolfo in La bohème at the Metropolitan Opera, Loge in Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic, Adorno in Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and Ismaele in Nabucco at the Metropolitan Opera and Seattle Opera. His portrayal of the title character in the new Peter Sellars production of La clemenza di Tito at the Salzburg Festival and Dutch National Opera drew praise from the The New Yorker, which noted, “Thomas’s penetrating tenor, which has lately acquired richness and heft, anchored the evening.”

Mr. Thomas’s “ardent expression and spine-tingling high notes” (Cincinnati Enquirer) have been heard in the Verdi Requiem with the New York Philharmonic, Oregon Bach Festival, Theater Basel, and the national symphonies of Washington, D.C. and Barcelona. He has appeared as tenor soloist in Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and the symphonies of Detroit, Atlanta, and Houston; and in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Dallas Symphony, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. Mr. Thomas was first to present the role of Lazarus in the world premiere of The Gospel According to the Other Mary, a passion oratorio by John Adams and Peter Sellars. He has performed the work at English National Opera, Ravinia Festival, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who commissioned it.

Mr. Thomas is an alumnus of the young artist programs at the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, and has received prizes from the George London Foundation for Singers, Liederkranz Foundation, Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, and Richard Tucker Music Foundation. In 2010, he won a combination of the Grand Prize, Audience Prize, and Tenor Prize of the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Spain.

Future seasons include Mr. Russell’s appearances on operatic stages in Berlin, Munich, London, Toronto, Chicago, Houston, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Read more about this remarkable singer on his webpage here:

Video Examples

Roberto Devereux – Russell Thomas as Roberto Devereux

With Anja Harteros – Don Carlo – Ma lassu ci verdremo