Describe your role with Portland Opera and how long you've been involved with the organization.
I got involved with Portland Opera through my father, John Hampton. John was a tireless advocate for the opera. He used to say it involved all his favorite aspects of great art: music, singing, theater, spectacle, drama. He was on the board for many years, chaired the board, and raised a lot of money for the organization. He orchestrated the acquisition of the Opera's home on the Eastside of Portland. When John was sick with cancer towards the end of his life, Jeff Evershed, Board Chair at the time, wanted to honor him by naming the center after him. John never wanted his name on things (other than his business). Evershed came to me..."How can we get him to agree to this? It's so important for the opera and for Portland." We went to Dad: "If we name the opera center after you, it will inspire more people to support the opera." He agreed immediately. Thus The Hampton Opera Center was established.
What is your favorite Portland Opera memory?
Working with the Portland Opera on Carmina Burana led to the formation of my dance company, BodyVox. Carmina was a collaboration between former Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano, my partner Ashley Roland, and me. We hired 11 dancers for the production. Several of them stayed with us after the production and we formed BodyVox. 23 years ago! That's my favorite opera memory...performing in front of a 65-person chorus belting out "Oh Fortuna". Bone chilling.
What would you like our audiences to know?
People need to know that without healthy major arts organizations (opera, symphony, ballet, theater, museum) the entire arts ecosystem of Portland suffers, as well as the vitality of the entire downtown cultural district...restaurants, galleries, hotels. Healthy arts are critical to the economic vitality of our city.