Tom Randle

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Los Angeles born Tom Randle began early studies in conducting and composition, but a scholarship to study singing soon meant a change in career direction. He made his début with the English National Opera as Tamino The Magic Flute and has repeated the role with great success at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Hamburg, New Zealand and the Covent Garden Festival, swiftly followed by his Royal Opera House debut in 1994 as Essex Gloriana with Phyllida Lloyd and Opera North, a production later released as a feature film for BBC Television. Subsequent roles for ROH include Johnny Inkslinger Paul Bunyan, Fool Gawain and Macheath The Beggar’s Opera and Song of the Earth for The Royal Ballet. Well known for his vivid and committed stage portrayals and a unique ability to embrace a wide variety of repertoire, Tom has emerged as one of the most exciting and versatile artists of his generation.

Recent and future engagements include Loki/Helgi/God The Monstrous Child (ROH), Ulysses The Return of Ulysses (Longborough Festival), Goro Madama Butterfly, Al Wasl and Grandfather / Chief Pay-Pay-See-See-Moo Migrations by Will Todd (world premiere, Welsh National Opera), Malatestino dall’Occhio Francesca da Rimini (Opéra National du Rhin), Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (Handel and Haydn Society and with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra), Mozart's Requiem (Handel and Haydn Society).

Further roles have included Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress (Théâtre des Champs-Elysees, Netherlands Opera, Lausanne and Bordeaux); Benedict Beatrice and Benedict (Welsh National Opera); Ferrando Cosi fan tutte (Geneva and Brussels); Don Ottavio Don Giovanni (Munich and Los Angeles Opera); title role Idomeneo (Scottish Opera and La Monnaie, Brussels); Achilles King Priam (ENO and Nederlandse Reisopera); Alfredo La Traviata (Opera North); the title role in Hasse’s Solimano (Innsbruck Festival and Staatsoper Berlin); Števa Jenůfa (ENO and Opéra de Lille); title role Orlando Paladino with René Jacobs at the Staatsoper Berlin and the Innsbruck Festival; Jack in Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain and Admète Alceste (Teatro Real); Don José Carmen (NBR New Zealand Opera); Maler/Neger Lulu (La Monnaie); Hauptmann Wozzeck (ENO, La Monnaie, Brussels, and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra); Gabriel von Eisenstein Die Fledermaus (ENO); Aegisth Elektra (Berlin Staatsoper, Aix-en-Provence, Gran Teatre del Liceu and Teatro alla Scala); Narrator Owen Wingrave (Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse), Snaut in Fujikora’s Solaris (Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Opera de Lille, and the Opera de Lausanne); Pelléas Pelléas et Mélisande (Paris and London); Gerald Lakmé (Australia); Joe Carmen Jones (Washington); title role Peter Grimes (Antwerp); Das Rheingold and Orfeo (ENO, and Boston's Handel and Haydn Society); Die Soldaten (Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires); Katya Kabanova and Khovanshchina (WNO); Death of Klinghoffer (Rotterdam); Tamerlano (Scottish Opera); The Fairy Queen (Aix-en-Provence); Henze’s Bassarides and Messiaen's St François d’Asisse (Amsterdam) and The Beggar's Opera (ROH's Linbury Theatre).

Tom is very active in the field of contemporary music with several world premières to his credit, many of which were written especially for him. This includes the role of Dionysus in John Buller's The Bacchae (ENO), the world première of Peter Schat's Symposium (Netherlands Opera), and the world première of John Taverner's oratorio The Apocalypse (BBC Proms). He also created the roles of Captain in Wolfgang Mitterer's Marta (Opéra de Lille), Nunez in Turnage’s The Country of the Blind (written for the 50th Anniversary of the Aldeburgh Festival), and premiered and recorded Penderecki’s oratorio Credo (Oregon Bach Festival). His intense portrayal of Judas in the world première of Birtwistle’s Last Supper under Barenboim (Staatsoper Berlin and Glyndebourne) won him outstanding critical acclaim.

Tom is equally at home on the concert platform and has been seen with many of the world's leading orchestras including the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, The London Symphony, Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras, the Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and The English Concert with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Harry Christophers, Myung-Whung Chung, Sir Colin Davis, Ivan Fischer, Richard Hickox, Trevor Pinnock, Ghennadi Rozhdestvensky, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Yan-Pascal Tortelier. Recordings include title role in Handel’s Samson (Harry Christophers/Collins Classics), Vaughan Williams’ A Cotswold Romance (London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox/Chandos) and orchestral works by Luigi Nono (EMI). Tom also appeared as Molqui in the ground-breaking film version of John Adams’ Death of Klinghoffer for Channel 4, released on DVD, and as Monostatos in Kenneth Branagh's film of The Magic Flute.

As a composer, his works have been performed in the Buxton and Presteigne Festivals, Lille Opera and the Broad Stage Concert Hall in Los Angeles. His latest opera A Telephone Call premiered in 2015 with Second Movement, and formed part of that year’s Tête à Tête Opera Festival. Tom’s music has been performed at both the Dartington and Edinburgh International Festivals. In 2017, his new work, Los Nacimientos, a dance and theatre piece based on a new song cycle comprising settings of poems by Pablo Neruda, premiered at the Buxton International Festival. Following the success of A Telephone Call Tom's opera Love me to Death was premiered as the final event at the 2018 Tête à Tête Opera Festival.

Migrations - Welsh National Opera

Teacher Tom (Tom Randle) was also well sung

Opera Wire (July 2022)

Tom Randle...stood out

The Observer (July 2022)

Goro - Madama Butterfly - Welsh National Opera

Tom Randle’s Goro was suitably oleaginous.

Seen & Heard (October 2021)

Tom Randle’s sleazy but plausible Goro, helped locate the production’s moral centre.

The Spectator (October 2021)

Tom Randle’s Goro was suitably oleaginous.

Seen and Heard (October 2021)

powerful cameos from the likes of Tom Randle (a wheeler-dealing Goro)

BachTrack (October 2021)

Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, Longborough Festival Opera

Throughout this long, hot (literally – the heatwave had just arrived in Gloucestershire) and grimy evening, Randle’s Ulisse conveyed both the craftiness and the courage of his character (the way his voice opened out and blazed as he prayed to Minerva for aid was one of the most thrilling sounds in a an evening filled with terrific singing), while still suggesting an inner struggle – a man of action, incapable of laying down arms until exhausted, grimy, and finally alone with Penelope, the mask finally cracked, then fell, and he wept.

The Arts Desk (July 2021)

An especially memorable performance is delivered by Tom Randle as a gruff, sensitive, brilliant, heroic, and sly Ulisse, matched perfectly by Lucia Cervoni as the virtuous, intensely troubled, and strong Penelope. Randle is vocally powerful, effulgent yet able to scale back movingly for sensitive moments. He is a memorable exemplar of this role both dramatically and visually. His brooding controlled anger and frustration are imminent from his first entrance. He believably embodies the exhaustion and the violence of his war experiences and of his wanderings. He conveys both the heroic and flawed characteristics of Homer’s Ulysses throughout, even when he is simply sitting still. (This production now compels me to read the highly-praised 2017 translation of The Odyssey by Emily Wilson.) The updating of the opera to some unknown, current war – Afghanistan? Serbia? Yemen? – is handled with complete unselfconscious naturalness, enhanced by the design of April Dalton.

On the night I attended, Randle was also heroic in person. Someone in the audience collapsed just at the end and when Randle realised what was happening he rushed from the stage and assisted. Once the audience member was revived and taken for proper care, and once we all knew that he was not seriously ill, Randle resumed his place on the stage and was, immediately, Ulysses again – having just killed his evil rivals and now desperate to convince a skeptical Penelope that he was truly her long lost husband.

Plays to see (July 2021)

There’s no flying trapeze, yet this is still a daring venture with a terrific cast, though given that director Polly Graham emphasises Homer’s violence and gore, it’s not exactly all the fun of the circus. Underlining that myths should be for all time, with contemporary resonance, Ulisse is not the conquering hero returning to his Greek island home, but a war-scarred soldier returning to an American, gun-toting Ithaca.

Tom Randle’s Ulisse conveys all the vulnerability of the man, his neurotic fingering of the zip of his fatigue jacket as telling as his head-in-hand despair. The horror of the appalling suitors who proposition his long-suffering wife, Penelope (Lucia Cervoni), is all too real given the thuggery and vocal heft of Benedict Nelson’s Anfinomo, Matthew Buswell’s Antindo and Sophie Goldrick’s Pisandro. Their get-up brings an element of comic edge, while the clowning belongs to Iro, he of the mohican haircut, jeered at as “Captain Pot-Belly” – because of the haze of pot around him, he has no gut. Oliver Brignall milks this role for all its worth. Llio Evans similarly vamps her Melanto. Ben Johnson’s Eumete is impressive, with Andrew Irwin an impassioned Telemaco.

Randle balances the awkward transition between the intrinsic nobility of Ulisse and his disguise as the old beggar, and is at his most musically convincing in the moments of tenderness, and when bursting with the sense of empowerment given him by the goddess Minerva, the latter fiercely sung by Claire Wild.

The Guardian (July 2021)

And what a troupe of singers, uniformly impressive and too many to name them all. All sing with a full-blooded open-heartedness that’s remarkable, throwing themselves entirely at the mercy of the music’s expressive power. Tom Randle draws out the physicality of the war-ravaged Ulisse, yet moves us at the reunion with his son Telemaco (Andrew Irwin).

The Times (July 2021)

Longborough fields an outstanding cast, notable above all for singing their florid vocal lines with verbal relish; text is key to performing Monteverdi, and everyone is supported in this by Robert Howarth, conducting from the harpsichord a small band of period instrumentalists (La Serenissima). Few if any of the singers are period specialists, yet their free declamation flows stylishly.

In the title role, Tom Randle is the most senior member of the cast, yet despite his playing up the character’s agitation, his beefy tenor suggests grounded musical authority.

Daily Telegraph (July 2021)

Carmen, New Zealand Opera

As the hapless Don Jose, Tom Randle moves from a repressed Mother's boy to a man consumed by the idea of love rather than its destructive reality. It's a deeply human performance fuelled by a hard-edged, sinewy voice which projects a deeply disturbed character moving towards mental destruction with a chilling realism.

Stuff NZ (July 2017)

From the start, we sensed that Don José [Tom Randle] was an unbalanced man and by the end he was in an absolutely tortured state, a simple man driven completely out of his emotional and psychological depth. This was shown vocally as well as physically – there was a creepy intensity in the final pianissimo notes of the Flower Song and his many outbursts at Carmen were arresting in their raw intensity. He also provided some striking vocal effects, from his gentle and perfectly-blended final phrases in the duet with Micaëla to his intense long-breathed lines in the finale.

Bachtrack (June 2017)

Both singing and acting are strong right across the board. Surguladze is impossible to ignore...So too is the heroic, desperate tenor of Tom Randle's Don Jose. His aria ‘La fleur que tu m'avais jetée’ is a stunner, and like the other setpieces with him and Carmen it is brilliantly staged.

Scoop Culture (June 2017)

Le Vin herbé, Welsh National Opera

Caught between overwhelming passion and chivalric duty, Tristan and Iseult – sublimely sung by Tom Randle and Caitlin Hulcup – can neither live nor die without the other. Their struggle is at once liminal and physical; grounded in designer April Dalton’s matt black innards of a set, it and they are exposed in lighting now starkly monochrome, now lustrous with sudden colour.

The Independent (February 2017)

A Child of our Time, Oregon Bach Festival

Randle’s lean, focused tenor gained in strength and ardency as it ascended. [...] The standout soloists were [...] and Randle, partnered by Allan Vogel’s lovely oboe obbligato. [...] Randle is a veteran still in his prime who appears on several opera DVDs: his Bajazet, the tragic father in Handel’s “Tamerlano,” and his Molqi, the lead terrorist in Adams’ “Death of Klinghoffer,” are unforgettable.

Oregon Live (July 2012)

Tenor soloist Tom Randle created a sense of urgency with his powerful and beautiful voice, especially when he cut above the chorus in “Nobody knows the trouble I see, Lord.” [...] Tenor Tom Randle excelled in the Quoniam, and his performance included impressively holding a note for an extra-long time

Oregon Music News (July 2012)

Waiting for Miss Monroe, Netherlands Opera

Steven Sloane conducts with utmost precision, and fine performances come from [...] Tom Randle (a a vocally powerful DiMaggio) [...]

The New York Times (June 2012)

The Return of Ulysses, English National Opera and Young Vic Co-pro

Tom Randle’s Ulysses is a masterpiece of intelligent acting and focused singing.

The Stage (May 2011)

...the role of the damaged returning soldier is one to which tenor Tom Randle brings all his considerable magnetism and experience.

The Guardian (March 2011)

Tom Randle is an outstanding Ulysses in this production. His strong, clear tenor voice has just the right amount of warmth for the role...

The Express (April 2011)

Tom Randle gives a full-frontal portrayal of a soldier emotionally scarred by war and...makes every word tell

The Financial Times (March 2011)