Otello in OTELLO

Los Angeles Philharmonic

“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.”
–Jim Farber, 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.”
–Gordon Williams, Opera Wire

“A spinto tenor with an expansive sound [and] clarion tone…”
–James C. Taylor, Opera Magazine

“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…”
–Donna Perlmutter, LA Observed

“Thomas gave notice that he has the making of a compelling Otello, which he will perform on the opera stage for the first time next year for Canadian Opera. 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."
–Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

Beth Stewart18/19