Thomas Hampson first sang the role of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera on September 25, 2001, to great acclaim; the New York Times wrote, “Thomas Hampson is moving from strength to strength … . His Onegin was truly fine. His voice has deepened and taken on more power, and his connection with his roles seems ever more profound.” Hampson returns to the Met on January 30 for a run of seven performances (through Feb 21) opposite the luminous Karita Mattila as Tatyana, conducted by Jirí Belohlávek.
Performing in Russian, one of at least ten languages that he sings fluently, the versatile American baritone portrays Alexander Pushkin’s unlikeable hero, as interpreted by Tchaikovsky in his 1879 opera. Opera News had this to say about Hampson’s performance of Onegin in 2001:
“Robert Carsen’s spare but richly poetic 1997 production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, sung in Russian, returned to the Met on September 25 in much-improved condition, due to new casting. Thomas Hampson’s subtly calibrated yet increasingly intense singing and acting in the title role made the most difference in upgrading the presentation. He seemed to miss nothing, capturing fully the anti-hero’s suavity in the first scene, his gentle and friendly yet firm and humiliating rejection of Tatyana’s love in the third scene, the conceit toward the party guests, as well as the blind rage at Lensky’s insults in Act II and the equally blind insanity of his futile pursuit of Tatyana in the last act. All this was sung with flawless discipline and charismatic, even glamorous tone.”
It is unusual for the protagonist of such a deeply romantic opera to be so unlikeable, but the tragedy of the haughty man’s undoing – and his complete comprehension of his errors – makes for superb operatic drama.
In December, Hampson made his role debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Athanaël, opposite Renée Fleming in Massenet’s Thaïs. He recorded this opera with Ms. Fleming for Decca and previously performed the role with her in this same John Cox production at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2002. The New York Times found that for Hampson’s latest Met performances “he was in top form,” and the Financial Times wrote, “Hampson sings the susceptible monk Athanaël with incisive urgency, verbal point, and unexpected power.”
Thomas Hampson’s next New York appearance will be at the Met’s 125th Anniversary Gala on March 15, when he will perform the final scene of Wagner’s Parsifal with Plácido Domingo. Between the Onegin performances and the Met Gala, Hampson sings two performances of Mahler’s quintessentially Romantic song-cycle Songs of a Wayfarer with the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach.
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January 30, New York, NY
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin (title role)
Metropolitan Opera / Belohlávek
Additional performances: February 2, 5, 9, 14 (matinee), 18, 21
March 4, 5
Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Orchestre de Paris / Eschenbach
New York, NY
125th Anniversary Gala
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.