The opera tells the remarkable story of Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte (played by baritone Thomas Hampson) and the multiple scandals, artistic successes and commercial failures that shaped his life. Da Ponte (1749-1838) lived through a turbulent period of change that was reflected in his travels across Europe and on to America, where he eventually settled. The opera tells his story with wit and deep affection, touching on universal themes of artistic endeavour and human perseverance.
The Phoenix was commissioned, premiered and recorded by Houston Grand Opera in 2019. It was devised in collaboration with librettist John Caird, who also directed the first production. Led by Hampson, the cast also includes bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, tenor Chad Shelton, mezzo soprano Rihab Chaieb and sopranos Lauren Snouffer and Elizabeth Sutphen, all playing multiple roles. Patrick Summers conducts the orchestra and chorus of Houston Grand Opera.
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