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Thomas Hammons [Cincinnati Opera]

By Diana Day · June 16th, 2010 · Look Who's Eating
Celebrating 90 years of extraordinary performances, Cincinnati Opera is poised for an incredible anniversary year. While there will be no shortage of opportunities to be a part of the magic, carving out time to chat with acclaimed bassbaritone Thomas Hammons is a rare occurrence.

CB: What was the last great meal you ate and where did you have it?
Thomas Hammons:
Liberty City Barbeque on the bike trail in downtown Loveland. They have fantastic, expertly smoked ribs. We sit outside and eat and I slip the occasional rib bone to my dog. He’s in heaven whenever we visit!

CB: OK, I know it’s a little corny and obvious, but I have to ask: Have you ever had to sing for your supper?
Early during my career in the late ’80s, I landed a job singing at a restaurant in a northern suburb of Detroit.

After spending some time there, it became apparent to me there were probably mobsters in the room. This wasn’t a paying gig. Rather, I was invited to order anything I wanted from the menu.

After ordering an entrée, the wine list was brought to my table. I was invited to order whatever I wanted from this menu as well. Feeling bold, I ordered an $800 bottle of Barolo. Without batting an eye, the server summoned the bottle and I was soon sharing it with a neighboring table. When the server returned later, I was asked if there was anything else I’d like to have. Jokingly, I asked for another bottle of Barolo, which was brought to my table, no questions asked. That night, I knew exactly for whom I was signing!

CINCINNATI OPERA’s “Gala Concert” is Saturday at Music Hall. Go to www.cincinnatiopera.com for details. And read our article about the 90th anniversary of the Cincinnati Opera here.