Arizona Opera Cast Members & Creatives
Wm. Clay Thompson
American Bass Wm. Clay Thompson has been praised by Opera News for his “mahogany-timbred” voice. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Thompson recently completed his second year as a Resident Artist with Minnesota Opera, and is known for his "...strong, rich, and warm color, yet the ability to cross over into bass-baritone repertoire."
Thompson’s 2019/20 Season included reprising the role of Suleyman Pasha in The Ghosts of Versailles at the Chateau de Versailles Spectacles in France, Handel’s Messiah with Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, a series of Opera UNTRAPPED online concerts with Wolf Trap Opera, and his return the Minnesota Opera as Leporello in Don Giovanni (cancelled). This season’s engagements include postponed or cancelled performances as Zuniga in Carmen with Arizona Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Thompson’s 2018/19 Season at Minnesota Opera included performances as Dottore Grenvil in La traviata, the French General in Silent Night, Crébillon in La rondine, and Charles Comiskey in the world premiere of Joel Puckett's The Fix. Additionally, he returned to The Glimmerglass Festival in the summer of 2019, where he performed as Suleyman Pasha in The Ghosts of Versailles, Dottore Grenvil in Francesca Zambello's La traviata, and the title role in Benjamin Britten's Noah's Flood. The 2017/18 Season saw Thompson in roles at Minnesota Opera including Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, Second Prison Guard in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, and Palémon in Thaïs, as well as having covered Don Bartolo (Le nozze di Figaro), Warden Benton (Dead Man Walking), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), and the title role in Don Pasquale. As a member of the Young Artist Program at the Glimmerglass Festival, he was seen as The Poacher in E. Loren Meeker’s new production of The Cunning Little Vixen, Father Palmer in Kevin Puts’ Silent Night, and Gladhand in Francesca Zambello’s production of West Side Story.
As a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera for their 2016 and 2017 seasons, Thompson sang Benoit and Alcindoro in La bohème, Suleyman Pasha in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, Yakuside in Madama Butterfly, and covered the role of Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia. As a Young Artist at the Seagle Music Colony he performed the roles of Olin Blitch (Susannah), Mordred (Camelot), and the Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring).
Thompson sang the role of Zuniga in Carmen at Fort Worth Opera’s 2017 Festival, and in previous seasons has been seen as Colline in La bohème with SOO Opera Theatre, Raymond Buck in the world premiere of JFK with Fort Worth Opera, and Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West with Kentucky Opera.
Thompson was a winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Kentucky District in 2013, and was Encouragement Award Winner in New Orleans District in 2014, and the Tulsa District in 2016 and 2017.
A graduate of the University of North Texas, Thompson performed the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Daniel Webster in Birgal Thomson's The Mother of Us All, and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni. With the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre his roles included Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro, and the Police Sergeant in The Pirates of Penzance.