“No Make-Up!”…Russell Thomas

American tenor Russell Thomas, lauded for both the power and beauty of his voice, has already distinguished himself in appearances across the United States and abroad, in many of the most beloved, as well as often performed, opera roles. This summer, Mr. Thomas appeared as Loge in the semi-staged performances of Wagner’s Das Rheingold at Geffen Hall, and made his debut at the Salzburg Festival, singing the title role in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. He then joined the Boston Symphony Orchestra at their summer home, Tanglewood, for two concerts conducted by Andris Nelsons: the first as a soloist, singing Cavaradossi in Act 2 of Tosca, with Kristine Opolais and Bryn Terfel and the second as the tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony #9.
Previously he was heard at the Metropolitan Opera, performing Ismaele in Nabucco (broadcast worldwide Live in HD), and returns in the fall as Rodolfo in La bohème, before assuming the role of Henri in the French version of Verdi’s Les vêpres siciliennes with Oper Frankfurt. In the future, Mr. Thomas will return to sites of past acclaim, including the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Los Angeles Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and Oper Frankfurt. He will also debut with the Houston Grand Opera and the Bayerische Staatsoper.
Define yourself with three adjectives…
Sensitive, Determined, and Intelligent.
Which is your star sign?
I’m a Sagittarius.
Are you superstitious? And if yes, about what? Is there any particular ritual related?
Only about black cats and splitting a pole when walking in groups. no rituals.
Are you a spiritual person?
Very spiritual.
Have you ever envied someone? And if yes, who?
Too many people to remember. I’ve envied the success of some colleagues.
What would you have done if you did not become an opera singer?
Military and politics. 
Did your family influence your choices?
No. Actually, they discouraged them a lot.
Which is your most cherished memory?
The day my son was born.
What’s the smell you associate with your childhood?
The smell of freshly baked desserts.
The moment you felt the proudest?
Winning the Viñas Competition.
The greatest disappointment?
I don’t have a greatest disappointment. I try to learn from all of my life experiences. Good or bad.

What’s missing in your life today?
I can’t think of anything. I’m happy with my life as it is.
Do you get emotional easily?
Yes, I do.
What are you afraid of the most?
Loneliness scares me very much.
What bores you?
Staying in one place too long.
What makes you laugh?
A good joke or seeing people laughing and having a good time.
Do you believe more in love or friendship?
Friendship, definitely. Love alone isn’t enough.
Do you have a recurrent dream?
No, I don’t.
How important is money to you?
It’s very important as it represents a certain level of security and stability.
Which is the item you like spending money on the most?
I’m fond of nice bags.
Do you collect anything? And if yes, how did this collection start?
No, I don’t: I’m not the collector kind of guy.
Which are your favorite readings?
I can’t start my day without the news each morning.
Which city or cities do you relate to the most?
Miami, Florida; Madrid, Spain; Berlin, Germany.

Favorite color?
Blue – rich ones like royal blue.
Favorite flower?
Don’t have a favorite, but lilies and orchids are alluring.
Your favourite singer(s)?
I’ve got plenty of favourite singers: Carlo Bergonzi, Nina Simone, Mario Filippeschi, Gwyneth Jones, Stephanie Mills, Tom Jones, Edita Gruberova and Shirley Bassey.
Which is the first record you ever bought?
La Traviata with Anna Moffo.
The film you love the most?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a happy movie from my youth.
Your favorite season and why?
Winter, because I like the cold and I look nice in winter clothing.
How is your relationship with technology and which is the electronic gadget you can’t do without?
I am obsessed with all of my Apple products. My iPhone is like a vital organ.
How’s your attitude towards TV?
A big waste of time, but I have my favorite shows that I must watch.
How is your relationship with politics?
I am very concerned and very active politically.
Do you have causes that are very important for you?
I have many causes that are important to me: currently, mentoring younger minority singers.
Day or night?
Night, undoubtedly.
Which is the situation you consider the most relaxing?
Being on or near a beach.
Tell us your ideal day.
Good food, a few hours of studying, and spending time with my son.

The holiday or the trip you’d like to take?
I wish I could go on an African safari.
How would you define your relation with food?
I love food. I can eat almost anything.
Your favourite dish?
Anything Cuban.
Can you cook? What’s your specialty? And what’s the dish you cook more quickly?
I can cook, but often I bake to relieve stress. I cook anything with chicken because it’s easy and fast.
Red or white wine?
Red, all the way.
Was music a vocation?
Yes, it was: it couldn’t have been otherwise.
What would you want someone who doesn’t know your voice to listen to?
Any performance of the Verdi Requiem or Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 from Wigmore Hall.  How do you monitor the evolution of your voice?
I don’t monitor it. I try to stay healthy and always learn new things.
If you were granted the chance to choose a role, which one would it be?
Definitely, Tannhäuser!
Do you enjoy success?
I sure do, yes. Who doesn’t?
What do you do an hour prior to go on stage?
Nothing. Just relax.
What’s never missing in your dressing room?
My iPhone, water and a pastille.
What do you think of when looking at yourself in the mirror?
I think of how grateful I am to the Creator for giving me these opportunities.
Your mood at the moment?
Intense studying.
What’s your motto?
Put good energy into the world and you will receive good energy back. And always try to be honest.