Roberto Devereux in ROBERTO DEVEREUX

San Francisco Opera

“In the title role, tenor Russell Thomas made an indelible impression. His sturdy physique and clear, unforced tenor yielded an ardent Act I duet with Sarah, and he sang with elegant line in his Tower of London aria, ‘Come uno spirito angelico’.”
–Georgia Rowe, Opera News

“As the object of both women’s desire, tenor Russell Thomas made an endearingly strong first appearance in the title role. He unfurled lyric charm and verve in his arias and duets, and was particularly moving seeking to defend Sara’s honor in the touching Act 3 aria “Como uno spirto angelico,” delivered while being locked up in the Tower of London. While Thomas wins the audience’s sympathy, Roberto doesn’t redeem himself …”
–James Ambroff-Tahan, San Francisco Examiner

“Radvanovsky had valiant, expressive colleagues by her side — mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and tenor Russell Thomas, the same ensemble that had contributed to the splendor of that “Norma”… Thomas brought tonal clarity and rhythmic vigor to the title role…”
–Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

“Vocal beauty was a hallmark of Thomas’ performance… Thomas’ vocal performance in duets and a splendid ‘Come uno spirto angelico’ were to be treasured.”

–Janos Gereben, Classical Voice North America

“The whole ensemble delivers near flawless singing and acting. Russell Thomas shows his versatility as the proud yet anguished Roberto. He extends his expertise with a clear voice that bridges styles and ranges, with highlights including his duet ‘Nascondi freni i palpiti’ with Radvanovsky and his prison lament ‘Come uno spirto angelico.’”
–Victor Cordell, Berkshire Fine Arts

“Without doubt, Russell Thomas is an outstanding tenor of indisputable quality, and although many have insisted on casting him as a Mozartian or bel canto tenor, his full-bodied voice suggests an affinity for other roles.”
Una voce poco fa

“[Radvanovsky] was well matched by a world class cast including Russell Thomas in the title role and Jamie Barton as Sara who both gave warm, well-developed performances. A prime chance to see an A-level cast in a rarely performed opera.”
–Brian Holt, Out West Arts

“Russell Thomas’s Roberto Devereux [is] a smirking, conceiting poppycock, speaking noble-sounding words while flaunting the ring he knows will save him. He is at his most sympathetic in the third act, when he realizes he may not escape his fate. There, Thomas’s hefty, mobile voice gains a buttery softness and breaks off achingly at the end of phrases.”
–Ilana Walder-Biesanz, San Francisco Classical Voice

“The leading trio of Radvanovsky, Barton, and Thomas really could not be improved upon… Thomas's…got a beautiful, burnished tenor voice and he's an excellent actor - also a handsome man, which never hurts! Among current tenors singing dramatic roles, how many have Donizetti and Wagner, Bellini and heavy Verdi, in their repertory and sing them all so well? He sang with even more subtlety and emotional range as Devereux than as Pollione.”

–Lisa Hirsch, Iron Tongue of Midnight

“Tenor Russell Thomas as Roberto and mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Sara have such extraordinarily creamy, gorgeous voices that you wanted them to run away together for a happy ending.”

–Michael Strickland, Civic Center

“The real reason for mounting this opera is certainly for the singers. Tenor Russell Thomas did not disappoint in the title role. His Act I ‘Nascondi, frena i palpiti’ is convincing. He also sang "Come uno spirto angelico... Bagnato il sen di lagrime" with great beauty.”
–Charlise Tiee, The Opera Tattler

“Tenor Russell Thomas, Norma’s Pollione, was Devereux; and he sang with exquisite tone, neither too light nor too hefty.”

–James Roy MacBean, Berkeley Daily Planet

“Tenor Russel Thomas as Roberto Devereux produces a limpid yet lush tenor sound throughout his full register, including its stratospheric tenorino reaches.”
–Michael Milenski, Opera Today

“American tenor Russell Thomas’ did the job smartly and robustly in the title role, the smoothness, resonance and clarity of his voice imparting genuineness and intent. Of significance, Thomas played his part with great sensitivity and understanding in his various duets with Radvanovsky and Barton. But the best of Thomas’ performance came in his final aria, ‘Come uno spirto angelico...’ when, behind the bars of his cell, he sang achingly of Devereux’ refusal to betray Sara.”

–Paul Selar, OperaChaser

“Her performance is well matched by tenor Russell Thomas as Devereux. Thomas’s voice is remarkably powerful but always under careful control. His physical strength is astounding. At one point he seems to sing virtually non-stop for perhaps twenty full minutes, never flagging or losing clarity.”

–Charles Kruger, TheatreStorm

“San Francisco Opera has managed to complete a trio of stars. The role of the Earl of Essex, in particular, is a substantial role that is often completely buried by the force of nature that is Elisabetta. This has not been the case with Russell Thomas, who has given us a particularly charismatic and confident Devereux. This produces a satisfying contrast when, baffled, he contemplates his destiny in the masterful Tower scene. This tenor’s voice is completely suited to the role and Thomas always sings with pleasure and intention behind each word.”

–David Yllanes Mosquera, Codalario

“With a pure, focused tenor sound, remarkably even from top to bottom, Thomas managed to convey both the nobility and anguish of the title character, pressured to name the queen’s rival for his love. If his Act I aria, ‘Nascondi, frena i palpiti,’ emphasized vocal beauty over the underlying nervous energy, he created a time-stopping moment as he awaited his execution with his Act III aria, ‘Bagnato il sen di lagrime.’”
–Harvey Steiman, Seen and Heard International

“Barton and tenor Russell Thomas…both gave extraordinary performances last Saturday. Thomas made the difficult title role sound like child’s play and he imbued his performance with swagger and confidence. He seemed almost cocky. His Roberto wasn’t a wimpy one, and that made his bewilderment at the Tower Scene more pronounced. That Tower Scene was a sight to behold…”
Michael Anthonio, Parterre Box

Beth Stewart18/19