The Metropolitan Opera Guild honors Thomas Hampson, one of today’s foremost singers, with a new installment in its “Mastersingers” series. “Met Mastersingers: Thomas Hampson” takes place on March 22, 2012 at New York City’s Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, and it presents the great American baritone – who makes his company role debut as Verdi’s Macbeth at the Met on March 15 – in an informal conversation with Paul Gruber, the Guild’s Executive Director of Program Development. The evening program will include video excerpts of Hampson’s most celebrated performances, a new video biography created for the occasion, and the honoree performing some of his favorite songs. Details follow below.
Hampson comments: “Having had the greatest privilege co-hosting the Opera News Awards, and the pride of winning an Opera News Award myself, I know firsthand the wonderful events the Metropolitan Opera Guild presents to celebrate our art-form and sustain its celebrated education programs. I am deeply honored to join the company of the previous honorees given the distinction of Met Mastersinger.”
“Met Mastersingers: Thomas Hampson” is the third installment in a series that began in February 2010 with an event honoring soprano Renée Fleming. Last fall, the German bass René Pape was celebrated. Gruber has had conversations with a “who’s who” of great artists at many Guild events over the years, including such luminaries as Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto, Roberta Peters and James Levine, and he looks forward to speaking next with a singer who is as renowned for his work as a concert artist and song recitalist as he is for his operatic mastery. Gruber observes:
“I have enormous admiration and respect for Thomas Hampson, and am delighted that the Guild will celebrate him as this year’s ‘Met Mastersinger.’ In addition to having perhaps the most beautiful baritone voice of his generation, he has never rested in his quest to expand his musical horizons, as well as those of his audience. Thomas Hampson is the very definition of a mastersinger.”
About Thomas Hampson
The American baritone Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as a recitalist, opera singer, and recording artist, and maintains an active interest in teaching, research, and technology. He has performed in the world’s most important concert halls and opera houses with many of today’s most renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. He is one of the most important interpreters of German romantic song and with his celebrated “Song of America” project has become the “ambassador” of American song. Hampson began his 2011-12 season at the San Francisco Opera, where he created the central role in the world-premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis’s Heart of a Soldier, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Other operatic engagements this season include role debuts as Iago in Verdi’s Otello and the title role in Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, both at the Zurich Opera, and his house debut as Verdi’s Macbeth at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
Among other season highlights for Hampson are the opening-night gala concert of the National Symphony Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Munich Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Brahms’s Requiem and Dvorák’s Biblical Songs with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck, and “Song of America” recitals in New York and Cologne. Last month marked the first airing of the “Song of America” radio series, co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago. Hosted by Hampson, the series consists of 13 one-hour programs exploring the history of American culture through song, bringing the “Song of America” project to a national audience of radio listeners.
The Metropolitan Opera Guild at a glance
For more than 75 years, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has provided substantial support to the Met, and has greatly enhanced the public’s appreciation of opera in general. Since its founding by the pioneering philanthropist Eleanor Robson Belmont in 1935, the Guild has contributed more than $245 million to the Met. The organization has one of the country’s most innovative and far-reaching music education programs, which impacts more than 1,800 schools and communities. In August 2010, the Guild received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Arts-in-Education” Model Development and Dissemination Program for its Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) project.
he Guild also publishes Opera News, the world’s largest-circulation magazine devoted to opera, and produces an annual series of major public programs, including the Opera News Awards, and the Met Legends and Met Mastersingers series. The seventh annual Opera News Awards will take place in New York City on April 29, 2012 at The Plaza, celebrating the achievements of five extraordinary artists who have each made an invaluable contribution to the art form: sopranos Karita Mattila and Anja Silja, baritones Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Peter Mattei, and director Peter Sellars.
Thursday, March 22, 2012, at 7:30pm
MET MASTERSINGERS: Thomas Hampson
The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
68th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues)
New York City
The star of the Met’s Macbeth will be on stage with Paul Gruber to discuss his work, watch video excerpts of his performances, and sing some favorite songs.
Tickets are $40 for Guild members and Met patrons, and $50 for all others. Following the program, join the Guild for a champagne-and-dessert reception with the artists: $150 for premium seating and reception. For tickets, call (212) 769-7009, or order online at www.metguild.org.
Thomas Hampson is the baritone soloist on a new recording, featuring Richard Danielpour’s Songs of Solitude and War Songs, along with the orchestral work Toward the Splendid City. War Songs, a song cycle with texts by Walt Whitman, was commissioned by the Nashville Symphony in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
“… baritone Thomas Hampson — a model of dignity, vocal presence, and deep investment in the texts that Brahms so lovingly chose and set.”
David Weininger – The Boston Globe
Thomas Hampson is the baritone soloist in Brahms’ A German Requiem on October 6, 7 & 8 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus, under the direction of Music Director Andris Nelsons. Soprano Camilla Tilling joins for this concert series, which also features Widmann’s Trauermarsch for piano and orchestra, featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman.
“Thomas Hampson, rock solid in the parts of Priest and Angel of the Agony … This is where true artistry shows …” (Financial Times)
After yesterday’s Manon, it was a nice to return to the same venue with such an enlightening concert. Just before his encores, Thomas Hampson addressed the audience saying that it was also special for him to come back to Geneva after so many years …
The Schumann song cycle was presented not as Dichterliebe but as songs from the Lyrischen Intermezzo Buch der Lieder’ after Heine, Hampson specifying that it was closer to Schumann’s original text … the overall characterisation and care for the words were marvels. The long standing partnership between both artists meant that they could find expressive freedom while being attuned to each other …
Er ist ein weltweit gefragter Opernstar und zugleich einer der profiliertesten Lied-Baritone: Der Amerikaner Thomas Hampson. Ein echter Star im Klassik-Betrieb, den er jedoch durchaus kritisch sieht. Anfang der nächsten Woche ist Thomas Hampson in Berlin zu erleben, mit der Staatskapelle Berlin unter Daniel Barenboim: In dem Oratorium “The Dream of Gerontius” von Edgar Elgar.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.