Jess Thomas

Picture of Jess Thomas

Picture of Jess Thomas

I wish to thank Valdimir Efimenko for the pictures.

Picture of Jess Thomas
I wish to thank Richard Boijen for the picture.

Picture of Jess Thomas
I wish to thank Roberto Falcone for the picture.

Jess Thomas (August 4, 1927, Hot Springs, South Dakota- October 11, 1993, San Francisco, California) was a lyric and Wagnerian tenor. As a child he took part in various musical activities and later studied psychology at the University of Nebraska and Stanford University. He was awarded the Wagner medal at Bayreuth, Germany in 1963. His many appearances in North America and Europe between the late 1950s and early 1980s included 15 seasons in 95 performances of 15 roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Thomas made his operatic debut in 1957 for the San Francisco Opera performing in Der Rosenkavalier as the Haushofmeister. In 1958, he made his debut in the title role of Lohengrin for the Karlsruhe Staatstheater at the commencement of a career in Germany. Thomas appeared as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Munich Festival. It was at Bayreuth that he established his reputation as a Wagnerian tenor performing in the following roles:
Parsifal 1961-63, 1965;
Lohengrin 1962, 1967;
Walther in Meistersinger 1963,1969;
Tannhauser 1966-67;
and Siegfried 1969, 1976.
In 1963, he joined the cast of the Metropolitan Opera appearing in 95 performances for 15 years. Amongst the highlights of his career with the Metropolitan Opera was appearing at the opening of the new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in the first performance of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra with Leontyne Price. Thomas's farewell performance took place in Washington DC in a guest performance of Parsifal by the Metropolitan Opera in 1982. His recordings include Die Meistersinger (with Claire Watson, 1963), Die Frau ohne Schatten (1963), Siegfried (conducted by Herbert von Karajan, 1968-69), Ariadne auf Naxos (conducted by Karl Bohm, 1969) and, from Bayreuth, Parsifal (led by Hans Knappertsbusch, 1962) and Lohengrin (with Anja Silja and Astrid Varnay, 1962).

Jess Thomas sings Die Walküre: Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond
In RA Format

Jess Thomas sings Der Troubadour: Lodern zum Himmel
In RA Format

Jess Thomas sings Tosca: Und es blitzen die Sterne
In RA Format

I wish to thank Vladimir Efimenko for the recordings (Tosca, Trovatore) and notes.
Thomas as Baritone

Back to Index