Mar 03, 2013
Beginning March 11, Thomas Hampson gives his company role debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera as the treacherous Iago in Verdi’s Otello (five performances through March 30). Hampson first sang the role at Zurich Opera in fall 2011, and it joins other key Verdi roles – including Simon Boccanegra and, last season, Macbeth – that Hampson has sung in recent seasons at the Met. Hampson joins Argentinian tenor José Cura (Otello) and Krassimira Stoyanova (Desdemona) for this, Verdi’s penultimate opera, which received its triumphant world premiere (20 curtain calls for the composer!) at Milan’s La Scala in February 1887. Hampson discusses his first Met Iago in the commentary that follows:
I am tremendously excited to be returning to the Met again this season. Last year, we celebrated 25 years since my debut with the company, and I was deeply moved by their show of affection for me and for their years of generous support. To sing in a Met Otello is a milestone in any singer’s career, and I’ve waited for quite some time to sing Iago because I think you need a lot of experience with other Verdi roles to begin to understand it. I’ve come to really love this role, which I was very afraid of at first. But it really fits my vocal and theatrical abilities, perhaps even better than some of the other bigger Italian repertoire that I’ve done at the Met. José Cura and I have done these roles together often, including last season in Zurich. He’s a very dynamic, unpredictable, and exciting performer on stage, and one of the nicest colleagues you can work with. Krassimira Stoyanova is an old friend and one of my closest colleagues in the business. We’ve worked together frequently in Europe and she is one of the most beautiful and classy singers in the business today. If you really want to learn about singing, just listen to what she can do. Our conductor is Alain Altinoglu, a shooting star if there ever was one – he is very energetic and extremely capable. I’ve seen this classic Met production many times, and look forward to what promises to be an extremely gratifying experience for both the performers and audience alike.
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
On March 15 at 4pm ET, Thomas Hampson returns to the Manhattan School of Music to lead his 10th Annual Master Class and Live Webcast. The live stream will be available to watch via dl.msmnyc.edu/live, with an archived broadcast available online following the event (details TBA). The 2016 Master Class can now be enjoyed at the following link; complete program details from that Master Class are also listed online in PDF format.
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