Russell Thomas
Tenor

“Thomas deployed a plangent tenor sound, rock solid intonation and…a formidable presence as the Roman consul who causes Norma’s and Adalgisa’s personal distress.” (Seen & Heard)

Contacts

Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Biography

American tenor Russell Thomas has made a number of notable debuts in recent seasons including at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Gabriele Adorno (Simon Boccanegra) under Antonio Pappano, Canadian Opera Company in the title role in Les contes d’Hoffmann under Johannes Debus, English National Opera as Lazarus in John AdamsThe Gospel According to the Other Mary, and, most recently, at Oper Frankfurt as Stiffelio under Jérémie Rhorer.

This season, Russell makes his debut at the Salzburger Festspiele in the title role in La clemenza di Tito. At home in the US, he returns to The Metropolitan Opera as Ismaele (Nabucco) under James Levine, LA Opera as Cavaradossi (Tosca) under James Conlon, and to both Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company as Pollione (Norma).

American tenor Russell Thomas has made a number of notable debuts in recent seasons including at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Gabriele Adorno (Simon Boccanegra) under Antonio Pappano, Canadian Opera Company in the title role in Les contes d’Hoffmann under Johannes Debus, English National Opera as Lazarus in John AdamsThe Gospel According to the Other Mary, and, most recently, at Oper Frankfurt as Stiffelio under Jérémie Rhorer.

This season, Russell makes his debut at the Salzburger Festspiele in the title role in La clemenza di Tito. At home in the US, he returns to The Metropolitan Opera as Ismaele (Nabucco) under James Levine, LA Opera as Cavaradossi (Tosca) under James Conlon, and to both Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company as Pollione (Norma). He sings his first Loge (Das Rheingold) with the New York Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, and gives concert performances as Florestan (Fidelio) with Houston Symphony Orchestra under Andrés Orozco-Estrada, and as Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by the composer himself.

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Contacts

Ian Stones +44 (0)20 3725 9104
Georgina Wheatley +44 (0)20 3725 9185

Reviews

“In fact, Wagner’s characters all feel human here…The fire god Loge (Russell Thomas, sounding bronzed and burnished) isn’t the usual sprightly trickster, but wry and thoughtful.” (Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, June 2017)

“Russell Thomas brought tremendous swagger as Loge, the fire sprite of Wotan’s court…he offered a lean, sunny tenor, giving an energetic account of his extended narrative monologue.” (New York Classical Review, June 2017)

“Russell Thomas contributed a hearty rather than traditionally slimy Loge.” (Financial Times, June 2017)

“In fact, Wagner’s characters all feel human here…The fire god Loge (Russell Thomas, sounding bronzed and burnished) isn’t the usual sprightly trickster, but wry and thoughtful.” (Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, June 2017)

“Russell Thomas brought tremendous swagger as Loge, the fire sprite of Wotan’s court…he offered a lean, sunny tenor, giving an energetic account of his extended narrative monologue.” (New York Classical Review, June 2017)

“Russell Thomas contributed a hearty rather than traditionally slimy Loge.” (Financial Times, June 2017)

“As Mario Cavaradossi, tenor Russell Thomas’s rendition of “Recondita armonia” was suitably fervent and well-projected; the further up he went on the three-level painter’s scaffold, the better he sounded in the big hall.” (LA Times, April 2017)

“As Tosca’s doomed lover, Mario Cavaradossi, American tenor Russell Thomas was just as strong, exuding a properly robust heroism while maintaining a smoothly vibrant melodicism.” (LA Weekly, April 2017)

“Russell Thomas was a thrilling Pollione, a role suited to him dramatically.” (Opera Magazine, March 2017)

“The soprano and mezzo were strongly matched by Thomas’ ardent proconsul [Pollione]. The American dramatic tenor mustered the requisite clarion declarations, and he sent frissons of excitement through the theatre when he simply stood back and let his firm, hefty voice rip…he softened and coloured the sound most becomingly for the duet in which Pollione implored Adalgisa to run away to Rome with him.” (Chicago Tribune, January 2017)

“He sang with heroic tone and dedication as the weak-willed Roman proconsul…Thomas was at his best in the final scene of mutual self-sacrifice, both vocally and dramatically.” (Chicago Classical Review, January 2017)

“Russell Thomas was in fine voice as her lover Ismaele, finding a noble bearing and singing with robust, caramel tone.” (NY Classical Review, December 2016)

“Russell Thomas, a tenor of gorgeously burnished power, and Jamie Barton, whose mezzo pours out like lava, are luxury casting as the star-crossed lovers, Ismaele and Fenena.” [this can go on both their pages] (Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, December 2016)

“[Russell Thomas]’s Flower Song was beautifully sung” (Opera Magazine, September 2016)

“Thomas was thrilling, powerful vocally and without excess.” (Los Angeles Times, July 2016)

“Russell Thomas was an excellent vocal match in the role of the wrongfully imprisoned Florestan. He unleashed a tenor of formidable power as he cried out “Gott!” singing like a force of nature before collapsing into a fetal position on the prison floor.” (Cincinnati Inquirer, July 2016)

“Though he has made several Cincinnati appearances, the fine singer Russell Thomas was unexpectedly commanding in the role of Florestan…Where many a tenor comes to grief in this music, Thomas shone with a clarion top voice, especially in his intelligent delivery of his “Gott, Welch’ Dunkel hier!”” (Seen & Heard, July 2016)

“[The new production] served as a potent framework for the gripping performance by Russell Thomas in the title role, brilliantly playing the injured outsider” (Opera Magazine, June 2016)

“Thomas’s voice was most intense in moments of heightened drama and his tone nodded toward a young Pavarotti.” (Toronto Star, April 2016)

“Thomas was especially interesting in his portrayal of Don José…Thomas gave Don José a lot of strength…with his magnificent tenor voice and commanding stage presence, gave us a José more sure of himself at the beginning of the opera, and therefore more conscious of his degradation at it’s end.” (Globe & Mail, April 2016)

“Russell Thomas (also making his LA Opera debut) was a stylish Pollione.” (Opera Magazine, April 2016)

“As Stiffelio, Russell Thomas brings a powerfully meaty tenor, and a passionate portrayal of a man of God” (Offenbach Post, February 2016)

“From Miami, tenor Russell Thomas as Stiffelio makes every second count with an incredibly exciting tone throughout each register of his voice” (Musik Heute, February 2016)

“American tenor Russell Thomas maintains a great urgency in his powerful voice, never waning at any point in the evening.” (Allgemeine Zeitung, February 2016)

“At the centre of it all is Russell Thomas as the priest Stiffelio…The Miami tenor has power and charisma, HE can sound intense and beautiful, he brings out every sob and every ounce of swagger – all in all, perfectly cast.” (Frankfurter Rundschau, February 2016)

 “Russell Thomas’s heroic lyricism gave more backbone to Ismaele’s vacillations than is usual and blended well with Jamie Barton’s mellifluous Fenena.” (Opera Magazine, January 2016)

“The men in “Norma” normally matter little. But tenor Russell Thomas’ Pollione, who casts off Norma for the younger Adalgisa, presents an unusually believable combination of haughty authority and punishing vulnerability.” (LA Times, November 2015)

“Tenor Thomas introduced a solid and disciplined Pollione, thankfully free of distracting mannerisms or exaggerated emotions…for the final scene [he] was genuinely touching.” (Orange County Register, November 2015)

“The character of Pollione, an un-heroic, fickle lover, is far less nuanced than the soprano roles, but Thomas and his ringing tenor managed to bring a tortured yet determined quality to the part.” (Seen & Heard, November 2015)

“The rest of the cast included standout tenor Russell Thomas, who sang a fiercely stentorian Pollione. His is a strong, exciting voice.” (Bachtrack, November 2015)

“The men in “Norma” normally matter little. But tenor Russell Thomas’ Pollione, who casts off Norma for the younger Adalgisa, presents an unusually believable combination of haughty authority and punishing vulnerability.” (LA Times, November 2015)

“Giving his all to the part, tenor Russell Thomas acted well as the drink soaked love-rat Turiddu…Singing incisively, the American tenor revealed impressive tone quality.” (Seen & Heard, September 2015)

“Ismaele, tenor Russell Thomas, sang with a clarion tone quality, polish and power.” (Seattle Times, August 2015)

“Russell Thomas used his robust tenor to shape Verdi’s rich melodic lines with heartfelt expression.” (Backtrack, August 2015)

“what a joy it was to hear the stunning tenor voice of Russell Thomas as Manrico. He sang consistently with ardent expression and spine-tingling high notes. His pairing with Barton was believable and magnetic.” (Cincinnati Enquirer, June 2015)

“Thomas made an inspiring Manrico, his voice literally rising to the occasion, including his showcase aria, “Di quella pira,” where he vows to save Azucena.” (Music in Cincinnati, June 2015)

“Russell Thomas makes his debut with MOT as the title character. The American tenor gives a soulful performance as the conflicted character, showcasing the emotional role with every perfectly pitched note.” (The Oakland Press, May 2015)

“Tenor Russell Thomas as Faust brought impressive vocal power to the role” (Detroit Free Press, May 2015)

“Tenor Russell Thomas, portraying Faust, has a robust, clarion voice…he nailed the top C squarely in his gorgeous aria “Salut! Demeure chaste et pure.” The effect was like a sunburst after a storm.” (Detroit News, May 2015)

“The tenor Russell Thomas was tireless and impassioned, especially in his arias framing the Passover scene at the end of Act I.” (Opera Magazine, December 2014)

“Russell Thomas produced the two outstanding vocal moments of the evening…his voice has a glorious combination of warmth, legato and heroic abandon.” (Bachtrack.com, November 2014)

“Heroic tenor anguish and energy pour, as in the Barbican concert performance, from Russell Thomas.” (Arts Desk, November 2014)

“Russell Thomas revealed a world-class spinto tenor every bit as resplendent...  Mr. Thomas has money notes to spare, tossing off high A-naturals nonchalantly in the tricky “Kleinzach” aria from Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann and finishing the concert on a ringing top B in “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto.” (James Jorden, New York Observer, June 2014)

“... one of the finest casts Opera Rara has assembled for Donizetti. Joyce El-Khoury (Antonina) and Russell Thomas (Alamiro) are outstanding.” (Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, October 2013)

“The fluently musical young American tenor Russell Thomas was nothing short of sensational as Belisario’s lost son” (The Telegraph, October 2012)

“As Lazarus in the world premiere of John Adams' "Gospel According to the Other Mary" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic: “The first act closes with a tenor aria set to Primo Levi’s poem ‘Passover’. The serene melody of its opening line — ‘Tell me: How is this night different from all other nights?’ — gradually becomes heated before easing back into tranquility. Mr. Thomas sang the closing couplet — ‘This year in fear and shame,/Next year in virtue and in justice’ — with ringing power. As he finished at the final rehearsal earlier on Thursday, my eyes filled with tears.” (The New York Times, June 2012)

“As Hoffmann in "Les Contes d’Hoffmann" with the Canadian Opera Company: “Another impressive debutant was Russell Thomas as the drunken protagonist of the title. This American’s pure, ringing tone and crystalline diction were a joy to hear. And they remained so to the bitter end, a point worth making, this being one of the longer hauls in the tenor repertoire.” (The National Post, April 2012)

“As Oedipus in Oedipus Rex with the Boston Symphony: “Russell Thomas was an appealing Oedipus, his tenor a mix of ardency and sweetness.” (Boston Globe, January 2011)

Discography

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