The American baritone continues to successfully promote his country’s classical heritage, as he opens in a star-studded Royal Opera production tonight.
American baritone Thomas Hampson opens in the Royal Opera‘s classic Verdi’s La Traviata tonight. Read it and weep, La Scala and the Met: Calleja – Fleming – Hampson. Not bad for a lineup for Alfredo, Violetta, (everyone’s favourite “doomed courtesan”, as the Royal Opera House’s website has it, with the sort of euphemistic literary flourish you only find in opera synopses – she’s a prostitute), and Germont.
It’s easy to think of opera stars like Joseph Calleja, Renée Fleming, and Hampson as globe-trotting megastars, more interested in which brand of hotel-lobby luxury jewellery or watch they’re going to sponsor, than delving into the psychological depths of operatic characterisation.
But that’s unfair. I met Hampson for this week’s Music Matters, and discovered that he’s one of music’s genuine enthusiasts, and a cyber-philanthropist to boot. Have a look at hampsong.com (clever!), maybe the single most impressive classical singer’s site out there, a bespoke production that gives you access to some of his recordings to stream, links to his appearances on YouTube, photos of Thomas with Alec Baldwin and musical slebs, and the promise of his personal iPhone photos coming soon.
More impressive than all that, though, is Hampson’s Song of America project. He’ll shortly be touring the States with a programme celebrating 250 years of art-song in America (the first was composed in 1759 by Francis Hopkinson, one of the undersigned of the Declaration of Independence), and he told me he plans a free online archive, in association with the Library of Congress, of scores, performances, and scholarly material. When he gets it finished, this could be one of the internet’s great musical resources.
No one has done more to promote American song, from Foster to Barber, from Burleigh to Rorem, than Hampson. They’re lucky to have him as an advocate. Have a listen to this, and see what I mean.
“It’s not only the singing of baritone Thomas Hampson, on top form, that makes this recital so enjoyable; it’s the affectionate new string arrangements, joyously played by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta – as leader Candida Thompson describes it, “a big string quartet” of two dozen players. All but one of the arrangements are by David Matthews, who adds texture and illumination to already radiant songs, refreshing these lilies without gilding them. Intertwining solo violins make the opening of Wolf’s song Anakreons Grab magical; squeaking strings conjure up the rodents in his Der Rattenfänger. Another highlight is Bob Zimmerman’s gossamer version of Schubert’s Ständchen (“Zögernd leise”), the echoes sung by a girls’ choir. Brahms’s Four Serious Songs find Matthews drawing on darker sonorities. Hampson, full of authority, ends on Barber’s masterly Dover Beach, which seems only to benefit from its quartet parts being lent the weight and security of a full string orchestra.”
Erica Jeal – The Guardian
On March 15 at 4pm ET, Thomas Hampson returns to the Manhattan School of Music to lead his 10th Annual Master Class and Live Webcast. The live stream will be available to watch via dl.msmnyc.edu/live, with an archived broadcast available online following the event (details TBA). The 2016 Master Class can now be enjoyed at the following link; complete program details from that Master Class are also listed online in PDF format.
This spring, Thomas Hampson revisits a signature role, Giorgio Germont, in his return to The Metropolitan Opera stage. Sonya Yoncheva and Carmen Giannatasio alternate as Violetta, and Michael Fabiano is Alfredo, in the Willy Decker production which Mr. Hampson originated in Salzburg (2005) to great acclaim:
“Thomas Hampson masterfully portrays the elder Germont as a man torn – moved by Violetta but determined that propriety prevails.” (The New York Times)
BERLIN, February 9, 2017: The award-winning American baritone Thomas Hampson announced today the release of unpublished and exclusive recordings on the classical music streaming service Idagio. The recordings, hidden gems from live archive performances, include: Schubert’s Winterreise, op. 89, D 911 (until today unpublished recording with Wolfram Rieger, piano); the never heard before live recording of Lingua Angelorum, which Hampson commissioned by contemporary composer Sylvie Bodorová; and selected songs by Hugo Wolf. Also released today on Idagio are songs based on Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Mahler, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schönberg ; Schumann’s Kerner-Lieder; and the collection Wondrous Free – Song of America II. The release is accessible now on the Idagio iOS app and with lossless audio on the web app www.idagio.com – and immediately available in over 70 countries.
“Thomas Hampson’s long, thriving career on both sides of the Atlantic has established him as one of the most successful and versatile operatic baritones in the world. More than that, he is regarded as an emblematic figure in US opera – an articulate spokesman, championing its heritage, shaping its future and acting as an example to successive generations of young talent.” (Opera Now)
The complete feature, titled “An American Abroad,” can be viewed via the following formats:
Register here for the complete digital edition of the magazine: http://bit.ly/2kUIufr
The article is also available to enjoy via the following link.
Thomas Hampson und Luca Pisaroni sind nicht nur beide angesehene Opernsänger, sondern auch Schwiegervater und -sohn. Nun haben der Bariton (Hampson, 61) und der Bassbariton (Pisaroni, 41) das brandneue Programm “No Tenors Allowed” geschaffen. Die OÖNachrichten begleiteten das Duo zum “Testlauf” nach Istanbul.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.