Thomas Hampson triumphs in “The Phoenix” premiere

Photo: Lynn Lane

“The cast is exemplary, with the added frisson of legendary superstar baritone Thomas Hampson as Da Ponte. Who wouldn’t want him in their world premiere? He has a rogue’s presence, a pro’s assurance, and that molten voice that caresses and etches space. You immediately know you’re in the presence of someone special.”

Houston Press

“In the sprawling role of the elder Da Ponte — an almost-constant presence, between the framing scenes and the second half of the opera-within-an-opera — Hampson made the poet a dynamo. When Da Ponte addressed his theater audience and depicted his own U.S. life as a shopkeeper and standard-bearer for art, Hampson sang with spirit and an almost theatrical immediacy. In Da Ponte’s more introspective turns during the opera-within-an-opera, Hampson’s mellowness and lyricism helped bring out the music’s heart.”

Texas Classical Review

“Baritone Thomas Hampson cuts a powerful, grizzled presence as the elderly Da Ponte, and he shades the rather simplistic character with deep poignancy and a resonant, burnished voice. His lullaby aria to his dying wife as he cradles her in his arms is devastatingly lyrical, and he infuses the rather egocentric character with a noble dignity, despite his scrupulous behavior.”


“Performing the role of Da Ponte as an older man, Hampson enlisted his mellifluous baritone and acting skill to project the self-assurance of a dramatic genius reflecting on his eventful life.”

Opera Warhorses