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

Artist of the Month, July 2018

Anita Rachvelishvili was born in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. She became internationally known on December 7, 2009, the opening night of the Teatro alla Scala season, singing the title role in Bizet’s Carmen. Jonas Kaufmann portrayed the dangerously passionate Don José in this production staged by Emma Date and conducted by Maestro Daniel Barenboim. This performance, which was her operatic career as well as role debut, was televised worldwide. She has since debuted the role Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper München, the Staatsoper Berlin, the Seattle Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Teatro Regio in Turin, the Canadian Opera Company, Teatro all’Opera di Roma, the Arena di Verona, as well as making a return to the Teatro alla Scala in what has become one of her signature roles.

Ms. Rachvelishvili made her Netherlands debut as Dalila in concertante of Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila at the Concertgebouw. She debuted at Carnegie Hall alongside Angela Gheorghiu and Jonas Kaufmann as the Principessa di Bouillon in Francesco Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur. She has also been heard as Dulcinée in Massenet’s Don Quichotte at the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. Her other operatic roles have included Isabella in Rossinis L’Italiana in Algeri, performed at Teatro alla Scala, and the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Castell de Peralada Festival.


Ms. Rachvelischvili was presented at the Staatsoper Berlin as Lyubasha in their new production of Rimsky Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, staged by Dmitry Cherniakov and conducted by Daniel Barenboim. She has appeared as the Konschakowna in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Borodin’s Prince Igor. At the Arena di Verona and Teatro alla Scala she has performed Amneris in Verdi’s Aida, the second of which was a new production led by Maestro Zubin Mehta. She has also performed Verdi’s Requiem at the Salzburg Easter Festival.


This season she will return to Teatro alla Scala in performances of the Verdi Requiem, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in the title role of Carmen, the Dutch National Opera in the role of Marfa in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina and her debut with the Paris Opera as Amneris in Aida. Engagements in future seasons include her Paris Opera debut as Amneris in “Aida”, “Samson et Dalila” in Berlin and Sao Paulo and at the Arena di Verona, and Azucena in “Il Trovatore” at Covent Garden and Opéra Bastille.

Discover more about this wonderful artist at:


Artist of the Month, June 2018

Artist of the month: Lawrence Brownlee, tenor

Named 2017 “Male Singer of the Year” by both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack magazine, American-born Lawrence Brownlee has been hailed by the Associated Press as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors.”

One of the most in-demand singers around the world, Brownlee has performed with nearly every leading symphonic orchestra including the Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Academia di Santa Cecilia, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra. He has appeared on the stages of the top opera companies around the globe, including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, the Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, The Vienna State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie, and the festivals of Salzburg and Baden Baden. Broadcasts of his operas and concerts – including his 2014 Bastille Day performance in Paris, attended by the French President and Prime Minister, have been enjoyed by millions.

Brownlee captivates audiences and critics around the world, and his voice has been praised by NPR as “an instrument of great beauty and expression…perfectly suited to the early nineteenth century operas of Rossini and Donizetti,” ushering in “a new golden age in high male voices” (The New York Times). Brownlee also serves as Artistic Advisor at Opera Philadelphia, helping the company to expand their repertoire, diversity efforts and community initiatives.

Lawrence_and_Placido_at_the_New_Orleans_Gala_Jan_09Brownlee’s latest album, Allegro Io Son, received a Critic’s Choice from Opera News, among numerous other accolades, and followed his previous Grammy-nominated release on Delos Records, Virtuoso Rossini Arias, which prompted New Yorker critic, Alex Ross, to ask “is there a finer Rossini tenor than Lawrence Brownlee?” The rest of his critically acclaimed discography and videography is a testament to his broad impact across the classical music scene. His opera and concert recordings include Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Academia di Santa Cecilia, and Carmina Burana with the Berlin Philharmonic. He also released a disc of African- American spirituals entitled Spiritual Sketches with pianist Damien Sneed, which the pair performed at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, and which NPR praised as an album of “soulful singing” that “sounds like it’s coming straight from his heart to yours.”

Mr. Brownlee has had a busy recital tour this spring that included San Francisco, Boston, Princeton, and more, with numerous performances, often notably featuring his groundbreaking new song cycle Cycles of My Being, composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes. Enjoy a beautiful performance of “Inhale, Exhale” From “Cycles of My Being” here: “Inhale, Exhale” from CYLES OF MY BEING.

Brownlee is the fourth of six children and first discovered music when he learned to play bass, drums and piano at his family’s church in Youngstown, Ohio. He was awarded a Masters of Music from Indiana University and went on to win a Grand Prize in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Alongside his singing career, Brownlee is an avid salsa dancer and an accomplished photographer, specializing in artist portraits of his on-stage colleagues. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State football fan, Brownlee has sung the National Anthem at numerous NFL games. He is a champion for autism awareness through the organization Autism Speaks, and he is a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Inc, a historically African American fraternity, committed to social action and empowerment.

You can explore more about this prolific artist via his webpage:

Met_Armida photo credit: Ruby Washington nyt
Lawrence at the Met in Armida. photo credit: Ruby Washington nyt

About the contributor: Tamara Gallo