American Bass Wm. Clay Thompson has been praised for his “mahogany-timbred” voice and “imposing presence” (Opera News) and is gaining recognition in major festivals, opera houses, and competitions, both nationally and internationally. He is a two-time Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions as well as a Semi-Finalist in the 2020 Fort Worth Opera McCammon Voice Competition.
A member of the Ryan Opera Center Ensemble, Thompson is set to make his Lyric Opera of Chicago debut this season as Zuniga in Carmen. He will also perform as Chevalier deux and covered the role of Le Gouverneur in Le Comte Ory, Il Moine in Don Carlos, Jago in Ernani, and Arnie Duncan in the world premiere of Proximity. This summer, he makes his highly anticipated debut as Méphistophélès in Gounod's Faust and a special recital titled "Night and Day, USA" with Steven Blier, returning to Wolf Trap Opera.
Recently, Mr. Thompson made his Arizona Opera debut as Zuniga in Carmen and joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of Master of Ceremonies in the special holiday production of Cinderella, as well as perform as the Octet Singer in Brett Dean's Hamlet.
He has also appeared as an Apprentice Artist with Santa Fe Opera, covering the role of Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and as a Filene Artist with Wolf Trap Opera, participating in virtual performances of arias and scenes from Eugene Onegin (Prince Gremin) and The Rake's Progress (Nick Shadow) during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
From 2017 to 2019, Mr. Thompson served as a Resident Artist at Minnesota Opera, covering leading roles and performing as Dottore Grenvil in La traviata, Crébillon in La rondine, Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro, Second Prison Guard in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Palémon in Thaïs, Charles Comiskey in the world premiere of Joel Puckett's The Fix, and a live recording in Kevin Puts' Silent Night as French General.
He appeared in a number of roles at The Glimmerglass Festival including Harašta, The Poacher in E. Loren Meeker’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen, Father Palmer in Silent Night, and Gladhand in Francesca Zambello’s production of West Side Story in the 2018 season. He returned to The Glimmerglass Festival in 2019 where he performed in all new productions as the title role in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, Suleyman Pasha in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, and Dottore Grenvil in La traviata.
Mr. Thompson later made his European debut at the Château de Versailles Spectacles (2019) in the role of Suleyman Pasha, a role which he premiered in addition to Benoit and Alcindoro in La bohème, and Yakuside in Madama Butterfly as a Studio Artist with Wolf Trap Opera for their 2016 and 2017 seasons. Other career highlights include Zuniga in Carmen with Fort Worth Opera, 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. As a Young Artist at the Seagle Music Colony he performed the roles of Olin Blitch in Susannah, Mordred in Camelot, and the Superintendent Budd in Albert Herring.
Mr. Thompson attended the University of North Texas where he performed the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Daniel Webster in Virgil 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 Police Sergeant The Pirates of Penzance.