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Superstar Tenor Russell Thomas on Being a Black Queer Man in Opera

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Blessed with a golden, honeyed voice that fills the halls of stages around the world, out and proud tenor Russell Thomas could be content with being one of the rising stars in opera.

Instead, he uses his Black and queer identity to change what we see onstage and off.Thomas’s voice has had great impact his entire life. “I was a child of very unfortunate circumstances,” he says. “Music was always a thing for me.

Ever since I was very young, I knew I could sing. I sang in church from a very young age. When I got to high school, I met this teacher who said that I could be an opera singer.

I took her up on that offer.” In college, he sang in the chorus of the Miami Opera, auditioning and quickly getting jobs and into training programs. “I was lucky enough to meet and sing for representatives of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artist Program and then got invited in 2002 to audition at the Met,” he recalls.

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