A native of Miami, Tenor Russell Thomas is quickly establishing himself as one of the most exciting vocal and dramatic talents on the international opera and concert scene, most recently as the First-Prize winner of the prestigious “Competizione dell’Opera” in Dresden.
Russell Thomas’ current season begins with his role debut as Pinkerton in MADAMA BUTTERFLY for his return to the Welsh National Opera. He will then be heard in two operas at his home company, the Metropolitan Opera, first as Foresto and Uldino in a new Pierre Audi/Riccardo Muti production of Verdi’s ATTILA, then as the Steersman in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER. Later in the season, Mr. Thomas will add two more Verdi parts to his repertoire: the tenor solo in his MESSA DA REQUIEM for the Basel Opera and Cassio in OTELLO with the Cincinnati Opera. Future plans include returns to the Metropolitan Opera and a debut with the Frankfurt Opera, all in leading roles.
Mr. Thomas’ recent projects included Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE at the Metropolitan Opera, his debut as the Duke of Mantua in RIGOLETTO with the Arizona Opera, and the Steersman in DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER with Atlanta Opera. Russell Thomas also reprised his role of the Prince for John Adams’ A FLOWERING TREE with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Perth International Festival and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Among other notable debuts were the role of Mao Tse-Tung in Mr. Adams’ NIXON IN CHINA with the Pittsburgh Symphony and the composer conducting as well as concerts of Schubert’s MASS NO. 6 with the Houston Symphony and Hans Graf. He also performed George Walker’s LILACS with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall and Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium, conducted by Charles Dutoit, as well as the tenor soloist in Michael Tippett’s A CHILD OF OUR TIME as part of the Honor! Festival at Carnegie Hall/Stern Auditorium. In addition, Mr. Thomas appeared at Carnegie’s Weill Hall for the Marilyn Horne Foundation in a joint recital that was part of the mezzo’s 75th birthday celebration. Further engagements included Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE for Welsh National Opera, Malcolm in MACBETH for the Metropolitan Opera, as well as appearances at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence where he reprised his role of the Sultan in ZAIDE and A FLOWERING TREE at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, among other concert and recital engagements.
In the 2006/2007 season the tenor returned to the Metropolitan Opera to cover Tamino in DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE, while creating the role of the Prince in the world premiere of John Adams’ A FLOWERING TREE for Peter Sellars’ New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna. The work was also the vehicle for his Berlin Philharmonic debut under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, as well as his San Francisco Symphony debut. Other engagements this season included debuts with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Michigan Opera Theatre as Tybalt in ROMEO ET JULIETTE, concerts with the London Symphony at the Barbican Centre in London and recitals in Miami and NYC with renowned pianist Ken Noda.
In the 2005/06 season the tenor covered Tamino and performed the 1st Prisoner in FIDELIO at the Metropolitan Opera, and returned to the Seattle Symphony for Mozart’s MASS IN C-MINOR, and the finale of Strauss’ IDOMENEO. Other appearances included the Sultan in Mozart’s ZAIDE at the Vienna Festwochen, the Barbican Centre in London, and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in a new Peter Sellars production. During the 2003/04 Season Mr. Thomas performed Orff’s CARMINA BURANA with the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, Ernesto in DON PASQUALE with Spokane Opera, and appeared in recital in NYC, Miami, and Manchester, VT. In the 2004/05 Season he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as the Herald in DON CARLO and covered Tito in Mozart’s LA CLEMENZA DI TITO. Other appearances that season included debuts with the Seattle Symphony and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and a summer at the Marlboro Music Festival where he returned in 2006 to perform Mozart’s IDOMENEO. In 2006 he was awarded 1st Place at the Liederkranz Competition as well as the George London Foundation Competition and was a major award recipient of the Lee Schaenen Foundation. In 2005 he was a winner in the Young Concert Artist Competition, George London Foundation Compeition, and the Loren L. Zachary Society Competition, as well as 1st place winner of the 2004 Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition.
Mr. Thomas has also performed with the Florida Grand Opera (Roderigo in OTELLO, Mayor Upfold in ALBERT HERRING, Ivan in Wargo’s THE MUSIC SHOP, Male Chorus in THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA), Seattle Opera (Tamino in THE MAGIC FLUTE and Rodolfo in LA BOHEME) and Tulsa Opera (Nemorino in L’ELISIR D’AMORE, Borsa in RIGOLETTO, Ruiz in IL TROVATORE, Janicku in Janacek’s DIARY OF ONE WHO VANISHED).
Other notable appearances include his 2001 Tulsa Philharmonic debut with Simon Estes in a benefit for the Simon Estes Foundation, Handel’s MESSIAH with the New Jersey Symphony, Rossini’s STABAT MATER with Florida Grand Opera Chorus, and the U.S. Premier of Lorenzitti's MESSE A GRANDE SYMPHONIE with the Miami Bach Society. Mr. Thomas also recorded Thomas Sleeper’s ACELDAMA: FIELD OF BLOOD for Albany Records.
An alumnus of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera, Russell Thomas was also a member of Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, a Roger R. Hinkley artist at the Florida Grand Opera, a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of St Louis, an apprentice at the Sarasota Opera and was proud to take part in the 2005 and 2006 Marlboro Music Festivals. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Music in Performance from the New World School of the Arts.