Encore Atlanta - February 2005, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra


[photo credit: Christian Steiner]

Returning in Triumph

by Mark Gresham

Atlanta-born soprano Indra Thomas has emerged as one of today's most exciting young singers, critically hailed as "the next great Verdi soprano." Mark Gresham spoke with her in anticipation of her ASO Classical Series debut on March 3-5.

INDRA THOMAS attended Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, and later the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. "That's when things started to really blossom in the opera realm for me," she says. In 2003, with the Atlanta Opera, she first performed the title role in Aida, one she reprised just this past November for her acclaimed debut with Chicago Lyric Opera. She calls the Chicago Lyric debut 'one of the milestones in my career."

Even so, she also enjoys performing outside the opera house. "It's nice to have a balance between orchestra, recital, and opera," Thomas says. "I like to sing the Verdi Requiem — one of my favorite things to sing." Thomas is also busy with recitals, most notably with pianist David Lofton. "I like to do some song cycles," she says, "but I also have a spiritual recital that I enjoy doing."

She considers the music of Gershwin important to her career, having made both he New York Philharmonic and her European debuts with selections from Porgy and Bess, which she is also singing in March with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs.

I'm very proud to be from a city that has such great orchestra, and very excited about working with Maestro Spano for the first time," Thomas says. And her thoughts of performing before a hometown audience are filled with warmth and gratitude. "I would like to say thank you to all my fans, especially here in Atlanta and Rome, who have been there with me since the very beginning, and for believing in me and giving me their moral support. It is because of that support that I'm still here and [my career is] going higher and higher."

Mark Gresham is a composer, award-winning music journalist, and native Atlantan.

[First published in the February 2005 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra edition of Encore Atlanta, ©2005. Used here by permission of Encore Atlanta.]