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 April 3, Thomas Hampson and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni bring their famed “No Tenors Allowed” concert to the Wiener Konzerthaus. The event is featured as part of the “Great Voices” series, hosted in the Great Hall. Mr. Hampson and Mr. Pisaroni are joined by conductor Pavel Baleff and the Max Steiner Orchestra for the programme, which includes selections by Mozart, Verdi, and more. Please note an extremely limited number of tickets remain; visit Konzerthaus.at for current availability.
On this week’s episode of He Sang/She Sang, hosts Merrin Lazyan and Julian Fleisher are joined by dramaturg Cori Ellison to discuss Verdi’s mythical and timeless masterpiece, La Traviata. We also speak with baritone Thomas Hampson, who has been singing the role of Germont for 25 years. Hampson tells us how the complex and beautiful dilemmas that we find in this opera help us to better understand who we really are.
Picks from across the week on In Tune with Sean Rafferty: opera singers Thomas Hampson, Michael Fabiano and Tara Erraught …
Back in 2007, baritone Thomas Hampson gave a Distance Learning Voice Master Class at the Manhattan School of Music. In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of that event, the American singer and the renowned conservatory are rejoining forces for the same program.
“Thomas Hampson is a proper stuffed-shirt as Alfredo’s father Germont senior as he persuades Violetta to leave his son for the sake of the family honor and adding a fine “Di Provenza il mar,” one of the great baritone arias, in Act II.”
Wilborn Hampton – Huffington Post
“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
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.