American tenor Russell Thomas is now one of the most sought-after tenors of his generation having established his reputation in key lyric roles such as Don Carlo, Manrico (Il trovatore), Don Alvaro (La forza del destino) and Pollione (Norma). As an alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program, Thomas most recently returned there as Don Carlo in David McVicar’s staging and under the baton of Carlo Rizzi, and previously performed as Rodolfo (La bohème) and Ismaele (Nabucco), the latter of which was broadcast worldwide via the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series.
In 2021, Thomas became the first Artist in Residence at LA Opera, a new role which takes him to the heart of the company not only as a performer but as a curator of the new After Hours recital series and as a mentor to the Russell Thomas Young Artists, alongside performances of Aida (Radames) and his “heart-breakingly beautiful” (LA Times) Otello, under James Conlon last season. In the 2022/23 season, Thomas sang in the world premiere of Fire and Blue Sky, a concert work commission by Thomas and inspired by his personal journey as an artist, written by Emmy Award-winning composer Joel Thompson.
Highlights in 2023/24 will include Thomas’ house debut at Den Norske Opera as Don Alvaro (La forza del destino) under Paolo Arrivabeni; his house debut at Staatsoper Hamburg in the title role of Peter Konwitschny’s Don Carlos under Leo Hussain; and his role debut as Parsifal with Houston Grand Opera. Thomas will also return to Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Cavaradossi (Tosca) under Alexander Soddy.
Significant European debuts in recent seasons have included Don Alvaro (La forza del destino) at Opéra national de Paris; as the same role in Frank Castorf’s new production Deutsche Oper, Berlin; and his first performances of Manrico on stage at the Bayerische Staatsoper under Asher Fisch. Further notable role debuts include Stiffelio for Oper Frankfurt and Turiddu (Cavalleria Rusticana) for the Deutsche Oper, Berlin. He returned last season to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Calaf (Turandot) conducted by Antonio Pappano, following his performance in the previous season in the title role of Otello conducted by Daniele Rustioni. While at home in the USA, he returned to Lyric Opera Chicago as the title role in Ernani and Cavaradossi (Tosca) and he sang Florestan (Fidelio) in San Francisco Opera’s new production directed by Matthew Ozawa under the baton of Eun Sun Kim.
Thomas has enjoyed a long collaboration with renowned director Peter Sellars, notably creating the role of Lazarus in John Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary in the world premiere performances with Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel, now released on Deutsche Grammophon. This partnership continued at the Salzburger Festspiele where he made his debut in the title role in La clemenza di Tito, under Teodor Currentzis, returning in the 2018/19 season in a new staging of Idomeneo.
Thomas is in great demand on the concert platform and his notable performances include his debut with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia for Das Lied von der Erde under Tugan Sokhiev; his first Loge (Das Rheingold) with New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert; Beethoven Symphony No.9 in the Vienna Konzerthaus’ annual New Year series under Gianandrea Noseda; on tour to Hamburg with Wiener Philharmoniker under Andris Nelsons and in the title-role of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex in concert performances under Esa-Pekka Salonen in Helsinki.
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