April 2, 2019
American tenor Russell Thomas is featured on the cover of the May issue of Opera News, America’s most widely read classical music magazine.
Life on the road is sometimes challenging for Thomas, a single father who lives in Atlanta with his four-year-old son. Thomas is an engaging, easy conversationalist; he admits with a grin that he has “a lot of opinions,” but they are impressively well argued and delivered without a trace of arrogance. He speaks frankly and thoughtfully about the challenges of being a gay black man in an industry that has not traditionally nurtured black men as performers—or celebrated them as stars. “When I was in college [at New World School of the Arts in Miami], I began to hear those things that a lot of gay men in opera and the arts hear—‘Keep your personal life to yourself, don’t talk about that whole gay thing.’ But I have always felt that if I were going to be a singer—and I have wanted this career since I was eighteen—that I needed to be open about myself. I believe that people who aren’t open about who they are don’t share as much, emotionally, onstage as the people who own who they are. Singing has always been therapeutic for me. It helps me to be free. If I were closed off about who I was, I don’t know if I would be able to do that.”
Read the full interview in the May issue of Opera News!