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.
Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger present two recitals in September, at two of the European continent’s most renowned venues. The duo performs works by Loewe, Schubert, and Schumann on September 9 at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig – please note a limited number of tickets remain for this performance. Check availability at the following link. Hampson and Rieger perform works by Schumann and Mahler on September 13 at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. Seating availability for this event is also extremely limited.
„Gentleman”, diese Bezeichnung trifft es auch wieder nicht ganz. Zwar ist Thomas Hampson der wichtigste amerikanische Lied-Bariton bislang aller Zeiten. Sein nobles Timbre, ein leichter Womanizer-Touch, dazu die Super-Seriösität seines Auftretens, all das qualifiziert ihn zu einem Sänger von allergrößter Besonderheit. Und zu einer chevaleresken Alternative innerhalb des Liedgesangs. Und doch ist da noch mehr. Da gibt es offenbar ein Paar kleine Falltüren hinter der vertrauenerweckenden, geputzten Fassade. Ein Quäntchen Rabiatheit? Auf jeden Fall Unberechenbarkeit.
“400 years ago, William Shakespeare died: A good reason for Thomas Hampson and Wolfram Rieger to devote half of their Lieder recital to rare Shakespeare settings of the 20th century … Already composed in 1905, Quilter’s “Three Shakespeare Songs” sounded amazing … Overall, the Finzi cycle with its pliant-original style and highly varied songs and moods was perhaps summed up by at most one, not at all the least by the resilient syncopal of “Who Is Sylvia?”: A solid festival worthy gift.”
In our second annual Classical Classroom Summer Music Festival Series, we hit the (sound)waves at the Music Academy of the West in sunny Santa Barbara, California! Library of Congress “Living Legend” and Grammy Award-winning baritone Thomas Hampson has reached a point in his life and career at which one might use the term “venerable” to describe him.
Thomas Hampson, along with soprano Diana Damrau and tenor Vittorio Grigolo, are the featured soloists in an Open-Air Gala Concert on August 20, held at the Burgkirche Ingelheim. Francesco Ciampa leads the Nordwestdeutschen Philharmonie for this performance, which features arias, duets, and trios from operas by Bellini, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi, and more. On August 31 Mr. Hampson sings works by Barber, Copland, Daugherty, and Bernstein in concert with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Kristjan Järvi leads from the podium for this performance, part of the Musikfest Bremen at Die Glocke.
FALSTAFF: Herr Hampson, Sie sind einer der gefragtesten Baritone unserer Zeit, reisen viel und singen über hundert Vorstellungen im Jahr. Dennoch wirken Sie verblüffend relaxed. Wie finden Sie Ihre innere Mitte?
Thomas Hampson: Ich habe das Privileg, meinen Beruf zu lieben und damit genau das machen zu können, was mir Spaß macht. Da muss man die innere Mitte nicht finden, man hat sie nie verloren. Und privat ist eine wunderbare Familie mein Fundament.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.