Otello in OTELLO

Deutsche Oper Berlin

“Russell Thomas, at his European debut in the role, gave an honest, committed interpretation of Otello. His voice had a very natural, unaffected quality, with great Italian vowels and impressive sound and projection. After a sweet, heartfelt duet in Act 1, Otello’s madness became obvious and devastating already from Act 2. In Act 3 Thomas was perhaps at his best, terrifying and broken at the same time, his “A terra! E piangi” full of sadness as well as rage. His “Dio, mi potevi scagliar” was full of emotion and nuances... Thomas’ was a very successful performance.”
–Laura Servidei, Bachtrack

“Thomas is one of the finest Verdian tenors before the public today and his assumption of this summit of the tenor repertoire was most anticipated. His is a highly unique and completely compelling Otello. He doesn’t have the forward, clarion sound of Gregory Kunde, or the baritonal heftiness of Vladimir Galouzine, for instance. What he does instead, is sing this music with his voice and his technique, with an honesty of approach that makes his breakdown all the more overwhelming. Thomas gives us a man haunted by what he did in battle and desperate for a happiness that he knows, deep down, he will never achieve. There’s a vulnerability to the heroism that I found unbearable to watch, achieved through a masterful use of vocal colour. For instance, the cry of ‘gloria’ in the final act, rather than a defiant shout, became here the sound of man who knows that his life was meaningless. The repeated cries of ‘morta’, each varying the tone, were heart-breaking. He was able to seduce in the love duet, shading the tone down to a thread, filling it with loving warmth. His ‘a terra! E piangi’, rather than being hurled out with venomous force, had a tenderness to the sound that took us into the heart of Otello’s sorrow and regret. Thomas gave us some exhilarating high notes, nowhere more so that in a rousing ‘esultate’ that thrilled and excited for the evening ahead. Thomas is by far the most psychologically incisive Otello I have seen.”
–Gavin Adams, Operatraveller

Beth Stewart18/19