“Leonard Slatkin has a reputation for off-the-radar programming, and that was made strikingly evident in his Carnegie Hall appearance with the Orchestre National de Lyon, for which he has served as music director since 2011. In 1910, Maurice Ravel was commissioned to write Antar, a suite based on Rimsky-Korsakov’s Symphony No. 2 (“Antar”) and other music, but Ravel’s score was never published and lay dormant, until the Lyon ensemble decided to resurrect it in 2014. But they went further, in effect creating a new piece by adding commissioned text from Amin Maalouf … Of course, it doesn’t hurt if said narrator is Thomas Hampson—a shrewd choice, since his boldly present singing voice is complemented by an equally boldly present speaking one. Slight amplification, expertly done—coupled with his impressive diction and projection—helped him ride just a few notches above the orchestra, as if he were the perfect bedtime-story-reader.”
Bruce Hodges – New York Classical Review
“Additionally, one could not hope for a better narrator than Thomas Hampson, who displayed all of the characteristics that make him one of the foremost American baritones of today. Imposing and refined in both manner and speech, his diction was impeccable to the point that the printed text was virtually unnecessary. Hampson’s lifetime of dedication to art song was apparent as he deliberately and dramatically delivered the lines of the story while subtly adapting his voice to suit each character. He equally embodied the personalities of the young and battle-eager Antar and the reproachful, loving Abla. In the final scene following Antar’s death, his delivery of the words, “…take comfort. Death too is a mirage” captured the visceral feelings of great joy and unyielding sorrow of one who has felt pure love and happiness but then lost everything to tragedy. One can only hope that Ravel’s Antar receives many more performances by the Orchestre National de Lyon, ideally with Thomas Hampson in the role of Narrator.”
Lauren Alfano – I Care If You Listen
“The narrator was the eminent baritone Thomas Hampson. He, of course, has a beautiful speaking voice, and read the text with immense feeling. The music by Rimsky-Korsakov was reminiscent of his “Scheherazade” with its Arabian Nights flavor.”
Barry Bassis – The Epoch Times
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.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.