Russell Thomas's 'Heroically Scaled' Otello 'Galvanizes The Drama' at Hollywood Bowl

July 20, 2018

“A compelling Otello... His tone was clarion without being imperious, more a wounded, vulnerable leader. It wasn’t Iago who poisoned him with false intimations of Desdemona’s infidelity so much as a society uncomfortable with, and condescending toward, an outsider.”
— Los Angeles Times

American tenor Russell Thomas gave Hollywood Bowl audiences "a great deal to rejoice about" in his Los Angeles Philharmonic appearance as the title character in Verdi's iconic Otello, under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel.

In the 2018/19 season, Thomas will sing his first fully staged performances of the role, first at Canadian Opera Company (April 26–May 26, 2019; tickets via COC) and immediately following at Deutsche Oper Berlin (June 8-20, 2019; tickets via DOB).

Read reviews:

“Out of the tumult tenor Russell Thomas, with all the strength of a commanding general, strode on stage and proclaimed, ‘Esultate!’ For the next three hours there was a great deal to rejoice about. Thomas began as a tower of strength then gradually shattered under the devilish manipulation of…Iago. Thomas is a formidable Otello. As an African American, he genuinely looks the part with an heroically-scaled tenor that more than once brought to mind the ringing tones of Plácido Domingo in his signature role… After the dulcet Tristan-esque duet that ends Act I, Thomas’s performance galvanized the drama. It was an all-in performance that conveyed the power and the emotionally conflicting elements that drive Otello to his doom.”
San Francisco Classical Voice

“Thomas’s entrance had ringing authority, immediately establishing Otello’s primacy. But there was no harshness; Thomas succeeded in keeping Otello a lyrical tenor role.”
Opera Wire

“Its quietly brooding, suspenseful moments get lost in the open air. Still, the cast did not let that cramp their style. In the title role Russell Thomas's tenor came across with its ear-delighting timbre intact…”
LA Observed