Thomas Hampson makes his highly anticipated debut with the Canadian Opera Company in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian. Hampson sings the title role in this epic love story, based on the life of the Roman emperor Hadrian, with libretto by Daniel MacIvor. Led by Johannes Debus, the monumental production by Peter Hinton will open the COC’s 68th season beginning October 13 through October 27.

Photo: Michael Cooper. A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s world premiere production of Hadrian, 2018. Composer Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Peter Hinton, set designer Michael Gianfrancesco, costume designer Gillian Gallow, lighting designer Bonnie Beecher, projection designer Laurie-Shawn Borzovoy, and choreographer Denise Clarke.

Hampson shares the stage with Karita Mattila as Plotina, wife of the emperor Trajan who greatly supports Hadrian, Isaiah Bell as Hadrian’s lover, Antinous, Ben Heppner as Dinarchus, Ambur Braid as Sabina, and David Leigh as Turbo. In his second opera, Wainwright wanted to examine this Roman Emperor’s profound grief at the loss of his lover, Antinous, which subsequently leads him down a path of tyranny. On composing Hadrian, Wainwright says:

Hadrian was the first opera I wanted to compose. When I first discovered Hadrian, I was instantly struck with the idea of transforming this historical subject into operatic form. Both its intimate nature and wild grandeur seemed perfectly suited for what opera does best: creating a hyper-illustration of the dark inner lives of people up against formidable outer circumstances while at the same time musically careening through the jagged and surreal dimensions of what lies in between. No other theatrical form truly refracts life into myriad vibrantly bright colors as much as opera does, and the tale of Hadrian, arguably Rome’s greatest ruler, is a diamond perfectly cut for such a task.” (mySCENA)

For more information and tickets visit the Canadian Opera Company website.


News & Press


View all News

In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.

Thomas Hampson