Famed Tenor Joins Jacobs School of Music Faculty

(BLOOMINGTON) – The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music has appointed Russell Thomas, an American tenor, as an associate professor of music in voice, effective Aug. 1.

A head-and-shoulders photo of Russell Thomas
Russell Thomas. Photo courtesy Jacobs School of Music

With a “heroically shining tone of exceptional clarity and precision” (Opera Magazine) and “gorgeously burnished power” (The New York Times), American tenor Thomas is known for his elegance and intensity in creating vivid character portrayals on the world’s most important stages.

“Opera has been unapologetically elitist – but that doesn’t mean that it’s not accessible. We need to think of it as, ‘Is this something that I can relate to? Who can’t relate to being loved or loving somebody? Who can’t relate to death or losing someone they love? Who can’t relate to war, especially today? Anyone can relate to these things. That’s what makes opera accessible,” said Thomas.

Thomas has earned particular acclaim for interpretations of Verdi’s leading men, including the title roles in “Otello” (Canadian Opera Company, Washington National Opera, Deutsche Oper Garden) and “Don Carlo” (Washington National Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin) and Manrico in “Il trovatore” (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bayerische Staatsoper).

He has also enjoyed successes in bel canto roles, such as the title character in “Roberto Devereux” (San Francisco Opera) and Pollione in “Norma” (Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia). His verismo repertoire includes Turiddu in “Cavalleria rusticana” (Deutsche Oper Berlin) and Rodolfo in “La bohème” (Metropolitan Opera).

Equally at home on the concert stage, Thomas has collaborated with numerous celebrated conductors, among them Riccardo Muti, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Mark Elder and Sir Simon Rattle.

“I’m honored to have been chosen to join the faculty of such a prestigious institution,” Thomas said. “Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music is one of the premier institutions of higher learning in music and has a long list of distinguished alumni.

“Teaching has long been a passion of mine, and I hope that my professional experience will be an asset to the students of the Jacobs School.”