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 a featured contributor to the newly launched platform MUSAIC, from the New World Symphony and Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas. Mr. Hampson and other acclaimed artists, including cellist Yo-Yo Ma and conductor Pablo Heras-Casado, are featured in various site content including master classes, interviews, and more. Watch and learn today at musaic.nws.edu!
On July 8, Thomas Hampson is a featured artist in an Opera Gala concert, hosted at the Opernhaus Düsseldorf. This special annual event, presented by the Friends of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, includes the talents of the Duisburger Philharmoniker and Deutsche Oper am Rhein chorus, led by Axel Kober. Other soloists for the evening are Lavinia Dames, Luiza Fatyol, and Maria Kataeva, on a programme that includes operatic highlights by Rossini, Mozart, Verdi, and more. A limited number of seats remain for this extraordinary summer concert – purchase your tickets at the following link!
Mr. Hampson sings a recital as part of the Munich Festspiel on June 28. Accompanied by pianist Wolfram Rieger, the Mahler cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn will be performed in its entirety. Composed at the turn of the century, Mahler set this collection of anonymous German folk poems to music, originally written for either soprano or baritone. Mr. Hampson and Mr. Rieger are well-known for their interpretation of this cycle, and have performed it numerous times together in premiere international venues. For example, the pair interpreted the cycle in 2002 in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet, which can be viewed via YouTube. A few years later, Mr. Hampson discussed the importance of the cycle as an Artist-in-Residence with the New York Philharmonic in this discussion.
Hampson and Rieger’s upcoming performance will be held at the Nationaltheater, in the heart of Munich.
On June 16, 17 & 18, Thomas Hampson is the featured soloist with the Orquesta Nacional de España, under the direction of David Afkham. The concert programme is titled “The Origin of the Future” and highlights selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn as well as Schoenberg’s Pelleas et Melisande, Op. 5. Tickets: ocne.mcu.es/programacion/el-origen-del-futuro
This summer, Thomas Hampson and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni reunite for their acclaimed “No Tenors Allowed” programme. They perform with the Gewandhausorchester at the Open Air-Bühne im Rosental on June 23 & 24 under the baton of Alexander Shelley. The programme includes selections by Rossini, Mozart, Massenet, Gounod, and more.
Sony Classical will release a DVD/blu-ray recording of Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann, starring Thomas Hampson as the Four Villains. Recorded last autumn at London’s Royal Opera House, Mr. Hampson is joined by Vittorio Grigòlo in the title role, Sonya Yoncheva is Antonia, Kate Lindsey sings Nicklausse, Christine Rice is Giulietta, and Sofia Fomina is Olympia, with Maestro Evelino Pidò leading from the pit. The production by John Schlesinger premiered to enthusiastic reviews in 1980, and is revered for its rich and enduring portrayal of Offenbach’s opera.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.