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Donald Thomas

Lighting Designer

One of opera’s leading Lighting Designers, Donald Edmund Thomas designed productions for companies worldwide including Opéra de Montréal, Seattle Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Washington National Opera, Opera de Puerto Rico, Dallas Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Pacific, the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Baltimore Opera, Opera CarolinaNew Orleans Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Columbus, Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Delaware, Toledo Opera and Sarasota Opera. He was the Principal Designer for the Summer Opera Theatre Company (Washington, DC), from 1990 through 2008, designing over 25 productions. Last season’s projects included a return to the production of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s new classic opera Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre, after its world première at the same house in 2007, which Thomas also designed.

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…most evocative…
 Káťa Kabanová – “Andre Barbe’s abstract set design is a huge, sharply angled wooden parabola, its barren starkness underlining the oppressive provincialism of the Russian town. In addition to presenting some stunning visuals, Donald Edmund Thomas’s remarkable lighting was most evocative in suggesting the characters’ interior motivations.” – Sun Senteniel 
…enriched by Donald Thomas’ light projections…
Faust – “Paul Steinberg’s set design featured little else than a perilously raked, circular wooden bridge, dotted with sparse set dressing and enriched by Donald Thomas’ light projections.” -Opera News
…refined…
Don Giovanni – “Donald Edmund Thomas’ refined lighting is a significant star in this staging,” -Baltimore Sun
One of opera’s leading Lighting Designers, Donald Edmund Thomas designed productions for companies worldwide including Opéra de Montréal, Seattle Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Washington National Opera, Opera de Puerto Rico, Dallas Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Pacific, the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, Baltimore Opera, Opera CarolinaNew Orleans Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Columbus, Fort Worth Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Delaware, Toledo Opera and Sarasota Opera. He was the Principal Designer for the Summer Opera Theatre Company (Washington, DC), from 1990 through 2008, designing over 25 productions. Last season’s projects included a return to the production of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s new classic opera Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre, after its world première at the same house in 2007, which Thomas also designed.

Past projects include, for Seattle Opera, La fanciulla del WestManon Lescaut, Pagliacci, and Carmen, (as a co-production with Lyric Opera of Kansas City).  As a frequent lighting designer with Florida Grand Opera, he designed productions of La Gioconda, Káťa Kabanová, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Die Zauberflöte, and La sonnambula. Additional previous engagements include Picnic and Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and Don Pasquale at Opera Naples. Donald Thomas created the lighting for the world première of David DiChiera and Bernard Uzan’s new classic opera Cyrano for Michigan Opera Theatre. He recreated that work for subsequent productions for the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Florida Grand Opera.  He also designed the lighting for John Pascoe’s Don Giovanni for Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.

For Michigan Opera Theatre, in addition to Cyrano, Mr. Thomas designed ToscaRoméo et Juliette, Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Salome, Macbeth, and Der fliegende Holländer.  With Opéra de Montréal, he designed Il trovatore, Otello, CarmenLa Gioconda, Die Zauberflöte, and Le nozze di Figaro. For Opera Pacific, he designed Die WalküreLucia di LammermoorIl trovatore, and Così fan tutte. With Opera Colorado he designed Rigoletto.

Starting in 1992, he designed over 30 productions for the former Baltimore Opera, including the Werner Herzog productions of Tannhäuser and Die Zauberflöte, plus Les pêcheurs de perles, NormaLa Gioconda, and Falstaff.

Starting in 1985, he designed 52 productions for Florentine Opera, including Porgy and Bess, Die Fledermaus, La bohèmeHänsel und Gretel, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Eugene Onegin, La Cenerentola, Die Walküre, ElektraRigoletto, Der fliegende HolländerTurandotThe Consul, The Pirates of Penzance, Carmen and La fille du régiment.

In recent seasons, his work also included productions of The Mikado and La traviata for Opera Omaha; RigolettoMadama ButterflyAïda, Faust, and Otello with Palm Beach Opera; Il trovatore, Aïda, and Roméo et Juliette with the Atlanta Opera; Tosca and Don Carlo with Arizona Opera; Faust with Madison Opera; Carmen, Roméo et Juliette and Faust with the Virginia Opera; Le nozze di Figaro and Tosca for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Sweeney Todd and La tragédie de Carmen for the Augusta Opera; Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore with Toledo Opera;  and La voix humaine/Pagliacci for Opera Cleveland.

For the new Lyric Opera Baltimore he designed productions of La bohème, Le nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Il barbiere di Siviglia, and Tosca.  For the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra he designed concert productions of Jeanne d’Arc au bucher (Joan of Arc at the stake, by Honegger), which subsequently went to Carnegie Hall, and Mendelssohn’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, with Shakespeare’s text inserted.

Mr. Thomas also works extensively in theater, having designed Alcazar de Paris on Broadway, Fiddler on the Roof for the Theatre Now National Tour, A Moon for the Misbegotten for American Repertory Theatre, Savages for Center Stage Theatre, and The Rise and fall of the City of Mahagonny for the Yale Repertory Theatre. For the Maltz-Jupiter Theatre in Florida, he designed recent productions of Man of La Mancha, (for which he won a Carbonell Award), The BoyfriendBarefoot in the ParkDeathtrapThe Full MontyMaster ClassCrazy for You, The Music Man and Annie.  Mr. Thomas an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in lighting and scenic design. Examples his work can be seen at www.DonaldThomasLighting.com. 

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