Feb 22, 2013
Following performances of songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Indianapolis Symphony February 22 and 23, Thomas Hampson heads to San Francisco for a recital with pianist Wolfram Rieger. Their program at Herbst Theatre on Tuesday, February 26 features music by Schumann and Barber, as well as the world premiere of a new song cycle by Michael Hersch. Hampson discusses the new work in the commentary that follows:
I’m thrilled to be going back to San Francisco for this recital, which will feature an important world premiere. Composer Michael Hersch has written a beautiful cycle for me, Domicilium, based on poetry by Thomas Hardy. I’ve known Michael for several years – in fact, one of the first conversations that he had about writing vocal music was with me and the Pittsburgh Symphony about 15 years ago, when he wrote that orchestral piece for them [Ashes of Memory], a powerful work that Mariss Jansons felt very strongly about. Michael and I have regular contact since then, and this new cycle is the first project we’ve done together.
I think it’s wonderful that this young American composer has focused on the poetry of such an important and influential English author as Thomas Hardy, whose poems are known to music lovers through well-known settings by Finzi. The cycle is comprised of five songs and the first one is only for the piano. In typical Hersch fashion, he’s gone to using “extracts” – almost Haiku-esque poems of Hardy that are extremely abstractionist. The story in these poems is in the bits that aren’t actually said! It’s hard to describe the effect in words, but Hersch has created a soundscape of supposed memory and implied emotions. It’s very powerful stuff.
I’m so pleased that this important new work is on a great program that starts with a quintessential song cycle by Schumann, his Liederkreis Op. 39. This cycle, which features poems by Eichendorff, is, in its own way, abstract. We’re also doing a number of songs by Samuel Barber. I find Barber and Schumann very close compatriots in the landscape of the soul in song. Together with the Hersch work this will be a challenging but I think very engaging recital.
For ticket and additional information visit: http://sfperformances.org/performances/1213/ThomasHampson.html
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.
“It helped that La Scala had, in the title role, Thomas Hampson, who deeply understood the ideas of the production … This, Hampson’s first opera role at La Scala, was one of the baritone’s finest portrayals.”
Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger are featured in recital at two of Europe’s premiere venues this season. On June 12 the duo performs works by Schubert and Wolf at Vienna’s Musikverein; tickets and additional programme information is available at the link.
Thomas Hampson’s latest recording, Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius will be released July 7 by Decca Classics. Recorded under the baton of Daniel Barenboim with the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Rias Kammerchor, Hampson sings both the role of the Priest and Angel of the Agony. Tenor Andrew Staples joins, singing the role of Gerontius, with mezzo-soprano Catherine Wyn-Rogers as the Angel. Hailed as Elgar’s finest choral composition, The Dream of Gerontius explores a soul’s journey from near-death to the throne of judgement. Performed in concert at the Berlin Musikfest last year, Hampson was hailed as “rock solid” by the Financial Times, and as “filling the room with an angelic aura” by Kultur Radio.
Pre-order your copy here: decca.lnk.to/bar
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.