Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Opera News: Russell Thomas: A tenor who loves to make great music

Opera News, May 2019: Russell Thomas: A tenor who loves to make great music
By F. Paul Driscoll

Photographed in Oakland at Drexl by Chris Patey

Grooming by Joshua Conover

RUSSELL THOMAS walks briskly into the lobby of my Chicago hotel ten minutes early for our scheduled Saturday-afternoon interview, looking sharp and stylish in a dark topcoat.  He is halfway through a run at Lyric Opera in Il Trovatore, the latest high-profile engagement in a very busy and very successful season for him.  Trovatore's Manrico is a daunting assignment for any tenor, but Thomas thrives on its challenges.  I have admired his singing for more than a decade, and his Trovatore performance the night before our interview was typical of his best work, convincingly impassioned but never frantic or sloppy.  Thomas capped "Di quella pira" with a good, solid high C, although his singing is never about showing off or grandstanding.  The most striking element in a Thomas performance is its inevitable ring of truth: he always sounds fully invested in his characters emotionally as well as musically.

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