Pollione in NORMA

Los Angeles Opera

"All three roles were brilliantly sung in the production by youngish singers at the top of their powers: Angela Meade, Jamie Barton and Russell Thomas... Pollione's character may be downplayed in the opera when compared to Norma or Adalgisa, but Russell Thomas at his L.A. Opera debut sang the role with immense strength and presence."
–Marc Haefele, KPCC Off-Ramp

"Tenor Russell Thomas was a robust and fiery Pollione. Thomas's meaty tenor has a spinto sheen that when added to his interpretative skills places him solidly in the top tier of tenors. In addition to his appealing vocals, Russell was a wholly believable anti-hero."
–James Sohre, CNY Cafe Momus

"Tenor Russell Thomas is strong and, particularly in Act Two, impassioned as Pollione, who realizes too late the devastating ramifications of his wayward ardor.
–Lyle Zimskind, LAist

"Tenor Russell Thomas' Pollione, who casts off Norma for the younger Adalgisa, presents an unusually believable combination of haughty authority and punishing vulnerability."
–Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

"Norma requires three exceptional voices to make it sail, and L.A. Opera has gathered together a most impressive trio... Sung with heroic thrust by tenor Russell Thomas, he [Pollionel is a man emotionally conflicted between his role as head of an occupying army that is determined to do away with Druid culture, and his love for not one, but two, Druid ladies."
–Jim Farber, Los Angeles Daily News

''The rest of the cast included standout tenor Russell Thomas, who sang a fiercly [sic] stentorian Pollione. His is a strong, exciting voice..."
–Matthew Richard Martinez, Bachtrack

"It was the perfect marriage of orchestra and voice as Thomas matched the power of the formidable Meade and Barton. The character of Pollione, an un-heroic, fickle lover, is far less nuanced than the soprano roles, but Thomas and his ringing tenor managed to bring a tortured yet determined quality to the part, whether in his scenes with his friend, Flavia, or in his anguished duets with Adalgisa or Norma."
–Jane Rosenberg, Seen and Heard International

“Russell Thomas, in his LA Opera debut, threw an interesting perspective on Pollione, who was not quite as creepy as he can be. Thomas brought some beautiful shading to Pollione’s vocal line; he has fine stentorian tones, but also produced a moving sotto voce.”
–Simon Williams, Opera News

“Russell Thomas was a stylish Pollione, displaying a secure tenor with a nice ring to it…”
–James C. Taylor, Opera Magazine

Beth Stewart15/16