John Charles Thomas
John Charles Thomas was a popular American opera, operetta and concert baritone known for his exuberant singing style and virile, well trained voice.
John Charles Thomas was born in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. He was the son of a Methodist minister of Welsh descent while his mother, of German immigrant stock, had been an amateur singer. His father possessed a good natural voice, too, and with such a musical background, it was inevitable that Thomas should join the church choir as a boy. After studying initially for a medical career, he won a scholarship to the Peabody Institute in Baltimore in 1910. He remained there for two years, receiving vocal tuition from Adelin Fermin.
In 1912, Thomas left the Peabody and toured briefly with a musical troupe. He then went to live in New York City, where he performed with a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta company before being contracted by the Shubert Brothers to perform in the show The Peasant Girl, which opened in March 1913. For the next nine years, he starred in a series of hit Broadway musicals including Her Soldier Boy, Maytime, Naughty Marietta, and Apple Blossoms. Thomas sang in a concert performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Sadko at New York’s Carnegie Hall in December 1924. His debut in a fully-staged opera occurred in March 1925, as Amonasro in a production of Verdi’s Aida, presented by the semi-professional Washington National Opera.