Thomas Hampson returned to the Metropolitan Opera this season for his first major Verdi role in the house, the title part in Simon Boccanegra. New York Newsday reported, “It is…a pleasure to spend an evening in the company of such a thinking singer, one who never belts without reason and who knows how to sling a long, noble phrase so that it doesn’t clatter prematurely to the stage,” while the New York Times observed, “The baritone Thomas Hampson as Boccanegra was in very good voice on Monday, projecting also a fine dramatic command of whispered emotions.”
Mr. Hampson sang the tragic role previously at the Vienna State Opera, and returns now to reprise it there, beginning on April 7 (with additional performances on April 10, 14, 17, and 20). Conductor Nicola Luisotti and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto (Fiesco) will also take part in the Vienna performances. Tamar Iveri and Giuseppe Sabbatini will sing the roles of Amelia and Gabriele respectively.
Thomas Hampson is known as well for his recital work as his opera performances, and wears a third hat as a probing researcher and scholar, specializing in American songs and the works of Gustav Mahler, whose songs he has edited and published. He will sing four favorite Mahler Lieder with the San Francisco Symphony in concerts on May 10-13, and on tour with the orchestra and its music director, Michael Tilson Thomas, who shares the baritone’s love of Mahler. “Lied des Verfolgten im Turm,” “Der Tamboursg’sell”, “Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen”, “Revelge”, and “Urlicht” – from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn collection – are on the program with Copland’s “Short Symphony” and Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra. The program will be repeated in Carnegie Hall on May 18, in Vienna’s Konzerthaus on May 22, and in Prague’s famous Jugendstil Municipal House on May 25 as part of the annual “Prague Spring.”
Mr. Hampson’s Mahler scholarship was first documented in his Teldec recording, made with the late Geoffrey Parsons, of Wunderhorn songs in original piano settings that have since been subsumed by later editors’ versions.
According to one critic:
The quality of the performances themselves will be the main consideration and about these there need be no equivocation. Hampson here justifies fully his reputation as one of the leading baritones of our day. His voice is a wonderfully flexible instrument, heard in prime condition. Time and again I marveled at the length of the line he spins, at the dynamic and tonal range that are at his command, seemingly without effort, and at the wondrously even production of the voice throughout its compass. There are several occasions on this disc where Mahler takes his singer up into a taxingly high tessitura. For Hampson such excursions to the heights seem to pose no difficulties at all; his use of head voice is a consistent delight.
– MusicWeb International
In addition to the Simon Boccanegra, Mr. Hampson recently reprised his Mandryka in Richard Strauss’s Arabella at the Vienna State Opera. The Wiener Zeitung described Mr. Hampson and his Arabella, Adrienne Pieczonka, as a “dream pair.” While in Vienna, Mr. Hampson will also sing a “dream pair” of concert performances of Massenet’s Thaïs with Renée Fleming, with whom he has already recorded the opera. Michel Plasson conducts (April 25 and 27).
Further information about Thomas Hampson’s spring and summer engagements will be announced shortly.
Thomas Hampson will fill in as a guest host for Terrance McKnight on WQXR this Thursday, November 5, beginning at 7 pm ET. During this hour, Thomas will celebrate the song repertoire, featuring works by Schubert, Mahler, Ives, and many others. Tune in and learn more about Hampson’s guest host hour via WQXR.
PENTATONE continues its American Opera Series with Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere recording of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix (2019), an opera on the life of Lorenzo da Ponte, Mozart’s favorite librettist. Da Ponte (1749-1838) was an adventurer, who not only travelled the world, but in a way also through time, living across what seem to be impossible moments of history that never should have aligned in somebody’s life.
The documentary by C Major Entertainment “The Animated Story of Jenny Lind”, in which Thomas Hampson is the narrator, has won this year’s Golden Prague Fesitval’s Performing Arts Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious and acclaimed Performing Arts festival for TV and film, with opera, dance, concerts and documentaries from all over the world. It is also on the Shortlist of potential winners of the Prix Italia.
Thomas Hampson makes his Global Concert Hall debut next month, performing with the Orchester Wiener Akademie under the baton of its founder and musical director Martin Haselböck. The concert, filmed at the Brucknerhouse Linz in August 2020, will be streamed on IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall on Thursday, October 15, beginning at 8 pm Berlin / 2 pm New York. The concert will be available to stream through October 22.
Thomas Hampson returns to the stage this month, with a concert at the Stiftskirche Millstatt, and two performances at the Salzkammergut Classic Festival. Beginning on August 2 in Millstatt, Hampson will perform lieder by Gustav Mahler and Johannes Brahms with pianist Christian Koch, and the Carinthia Chor Millstatt will sing Carinthian songs under the direction of Bernhard Zlanabitnig.
For the first time ever, audiences around the world will have a special opportunity to watch the Canadian Opera Company’s 2018 world premiere production of Hadrian, in full, online. On Monday, August 10 at 6:30 p.m. ET, in partnership with Montréal Pride Festival, the COC is hosting a free, one-night-only digital stream of the modern grand opera. The Hadrian Watch Party helps kick off one week of virtual Pride events and will feature a live Q&A session with both the composer and celebrated singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and librettist Daniel MacIvor, a giant in Canadian theatre.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.