Don Carlo in DON CARLO

Washington National Opera

 “An exciting, incisive cast. Making an auspicious company debut, tenor Russell Thomas brought to the title role a voice of intrinsic warmth and a refined sense of style; his exquisite legato proved especially impressive. The quality of the vocalism was by turns plangent and poignant… Kelsey and Thomas made the famous duet sound quite fresh and vital; the pianissimo they sustained in the second verse was a thing of beauty.”
–Tim Smith, Opera News

“[Crocetto’s] final duet with Russell Thomas’ Don Carlo was one of evening’s highlights. The conflicted Don Carlo may not be the opera’s most interesting character, but Russell Thomas brought both urgency and steadiness to the role. His voice soared easily above the orchestra…”
–Edward Sava-Segal, Bachtrack

“In the title role, Florida lyric tenor Russell Thomas gave an impassioned, vocally secure performance of Don Carlo, the anguished heir to the Spanish throne. Throughout the performance and particularly in the great Verdi ensembles, Thomas was vocally expressive and dramatically convincing.”
–William Burnett, Opera Warhorses

“Thomas [cuts] an impressive figure who emotes with understatement – and sings with a confident, expressive and attractive tenor…”
–Kate Wingfield, DC Metro Weekly

“Tenor Russell Thomas as Don Carlo has a powerful yet natural stage presence. Mr. Thomas particularly shines in his aria in the opening scene when he sings of his love for Elisabeth. Mr. Thomas’ beautiful tenor tones also soar in the wonderful duet of camaraderie that he sings with his friend Roderigo…[and his] duet with Elisabeth as he longs to meet her again in Heaven shines with transcendence.”
–David Friscic, DC Metro Theater Arts

“Russell Thomas [delivered] an immersive performance as the fallen prince. Vocally, he explored the wide range of colors the part has on offer. Verdi gives [Don Carlo] quite a few softer passages to highlight his sensitivity and Thomas was ready for each and everyone of them. Thomas’ voice observed these markings but he also shaped Carlo’s arc with his voice. His singing at the start of the work tended to be full-voiced and potent, rising up to the numerous high Bs without any issues. He threw off the phrases with power and might, emphasizing Don Carlo’s raging pain. It all seemed to reach a climax in the Auto-da-fe scene where his vocal power was at its greatest as he confronted the king and then suddenly turned into a quiet whisper as he processed Rodrigo’s betrayal. From then on the voice took on a muted complexion and its moments of power had more assertiveness and tact. His final duet with Elisabetta, while filled with heroic singing, had a restrained and contained quality that emphasized Don Carlo’s stronger sense of self. Thomas’ voice rang throughout vibrantly, pleading incessantly and increasingly violently throughout the exchange. In this final passage, the softer coloring was soothing her instead, giving a dimension to the evolution of the character. Even the final “Addio” had a muted quality that added to the sense of resignation but also of respect and tenderness.”
–David Salazar, Opera Wire

“Tenor Russell Thomas made an imposing company debut in the title role, impressing with the suavity of his pianissimo tone as much as with the power and consistency of his voice. Thomas molded his voice to blend perfectly with both Crocetto’s Elisabetta and the expansive Rodrigo of baritone Quinn Kelsey.”
–Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review

“As Carlo, Russell Thomas put all the drama into his voice — an appealing tenor with focus, solid support and a taut sense of urgency…”
–Philip Kennicott, Washington Post

“The cast was headed by the young tenor Russell Thomas, whose brash ardor flashed across the stage with an incisive passion… A moving portrayal.”

–Paul du Quenoy, Musical America

“In the title role Russell Thomas sculpted phrases with uncommon richness of tone, exemplary legato and great sensitivity to the text.”
–Tim Smith, Opera Magazine

“In the leading roles, Russell Thomas (Don Carlo) and Leah Crocetto (Elisabeth of Valois) are convincing in their dramatization as well as their vocal abilities. Thomas’ tenor is warm and nimble while Crocetto’s soprano shows restraint and measure in knowing when to unleash – making those moments quite effective.”
–Brett Dodson, MD Theatre Guide

“A top-notch casting… Tenor Russell Thomas made a blockbuster company debut in the title role, noteworthy for suave pianissimo tone as well as power and consistency.”
–Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review “Best of 2018'“

Beth Stewart17/18