Kevin Thompson, Bass
The American Bass, Kevin Thompson, possesses a commanding stage presence and a voice with extraordinary range, depth, and color: “A mountain of a voice, with resonance from the Escorial of Philip II, the throne of Boris Godunov, and the majestic court of Sarastro… Thompson delivered all the goods...” (San Francisco Classical Voice).
Mr. Thompson begins the 2016-2017 with a return engagement at New York City Opera reprising the role of the Old Gypsy in Aleko which he performed to critical acclaim last season. Company debuts include Angelotti in Tosca with Opera Tampa; with the St. Louis Symphony in the Mozart Requiem; with Tallahassee Symphony in the Verdi Requiem. Debuts as Banco in Macbeth and Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia are also scheduled.
Last season 2015-16 Mr. Thompson made numerous role and company debuts including with the National Philharmonic Stefano Colona in Wagner’s Rienzi a performance praised by the Washington Post as “stentorian in the best sense”; with Opera Carolina as as The Old Gypsy in Rachmaninoff Aleko; “the vocal highlight of the opera” (Classical Voice North Carolina); with Festival Opera and the Oakland Symphony as Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail; “powerful, capacious and indefatigable singing…handled it all with terrifying ease” (San Francisco Chronicle);with the Colour of Music Festival in the Beethoven Ninth Symphony; with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center in the Verdi Requiem. He returned to Opera Santa Barbara as Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni; ; returned to New York City Opera in the cast of Tosca for the Company’s reopening at Lincoln Center where he will also make his role debut as The Capitán in Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas.
During the 2014-15 Mr. Thompson debuted with Santa Fe Opera as the Fifth Jew in Salome (capturing the attention of the NY Times) and covered Sparafucile in Rigoletto. In New York, he sang in the Dvorak Stabat Mater; at the Kennedy Center, in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the award-winning Washington Chorus; and he returned to Opera Santa Barbara as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. With West Bay Opera, he made his role debut as Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, praised as a “landmark performance…big time opera” (San Francisco Examiner), and returned there later in the season to enthusiastic acclaim as Mephistophélès in Faust: “Kevin Thompson is brilliant in every regard; an audience favorite...his every move as Mèphistophélés is compelling” (San Jose Mercury News Peninsula).
Mr. Thompson is at home on both the opera and concert stage, appearing since 2008 as Ramfis and Il Re (Aida); Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte); Mephistophélès (Faust); Oroveso (Norma); Sparafucile (Rigoletto); Grand Inquisitor (Don Carlos); Il Commendatore (Don Giovanni); Lodovico (Otello); Colline (La Boheme); Dr. Grenvil (La Traviata) ; Ned (Treemonisha); Judge Turpin (Sweeney Todd); Hans Schwartz (Die Meistersinger); the Verdi Requiem; Mozart Requiem;Haydn's The Creation and the Lord Nelson Mass; Stravinsky’s Les Noces - in venues throughout the world: Hannover Staatsoper, Fundacion Teatro Nacional Sucre in Ecuador, Teatro Verdi Trieste, Teatro Regio Parma, Opera Kiel, the Gasteig in Munich, Wexford Opera House in Ireland, La Folle Journee, New York City Opera, Ash Lawn Music Festival, Sarasota Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Knoxville Opera; and, in Augusta, Shreveport, the American Cathedral in Paris, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Pentagon and Library of Congress.
Mr. Thompson appeared in the world premiere of Die Weisse Furstin in Munich and in the US premiere of Haggadah shel Pesah (Passover in Exile) at Carnegie Hall in New York. As a permanent part of the Smithsonian Institute's Hirschorn Gallery in Washington, D.C., Mr. Thompson is featured singing “Old Man River” in occurring audio walk artwork exhibit entitled “Words Drawn in Water” by artist Janet Cardiff.
He has performed under the baton of a distinguished roster of conductors that includes Edoardo Muller, Andreas Delfs, Julian Wachner, Christopher Allen, Grant Gershon, Leon Botstien, Joel Revzen, Alexander Kalajdzic, Mark Flint, Dean Williams, James Meena, David Zinmin, and the late Julius Rudel. “The excitement his performances generate has captured international attention: “… voluminous bass with exquisite overtone-rich timbers and rafter-shaking sonority” (Kieler Nachrichten).
Mr. Thompson is an alumnus and career grant recipient of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Program, an alumnus of the Santa Fe Opera Program, the Juilliard School in New York, AIMS Graz (American Institute of Musical Studies) and Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Thompson is recipient of numerous awards including those from the Olga Forrai Foundation, National Symphony Competition, Liederkranz Foundation, Florida Grand Opera, Career Bridges, Don Giovanni International Competition, Meistersinger Competition, Marian Anderson Scholar, Paul Robeson Competition, and the Rosa Ponselle Competition.