Apr 12, 2012
Last fall, Thomas Hampson was invited by CNN International to travel to a foreign locale of his choice to participate in the inaugural installment of a new series titled “Fusion Journeys”. This voyage of cultural discovery led Hampson to Durban, South Africa, where he met Joseph Shabalala and his male vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The result of their remarkable encounter will air on the daily CNN news program Connect the World, beginning the week of April 16. The show airs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:00pm GMT (check local listings for local airtimes).
Hampson’s interaction with the group, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban, features the singers and their founder teaching Hampson a popular Zulu song, “Homeless” – perhaps the group’s biggest hit – while Hampson shares with them Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times,” one of the many American folks songs that Hampson has championed throughout his ongoing “Song of America” project.
Shabalala founded Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 1960, and it existed for 30 years under South Africa’s apartheid. The group rose to worldwide prominence after appearing on Paul Simon’s Grammy Award-winning Graceland album and has since won many other awards. Hampson, who has won equal acclaim on both the opera and concert stages as well as for his song recitals, recently performed the title role in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth. He is currently in Germany giving master classes at the Heidelberg Lied Academy, where he is artistic director; the academy is part of the Heidelberger Frühling music festival and trains young singers in text-based song interpretation.
The idea behind “Fusion Journeys,” which is described by CNN as “part culture show, part travel show,” is to take an important creative personality to a place he or she would like to visit, and show viewers how this cultural encounter inspires him or her to create something new. Hampson – one of the six stars that will be showcased in the series between April 9 and May 18 – quickly makes friends with his South African hosts, and is clearly deeply moved by the experience of hearing their voices and their stories. “We are all musicians,” Hampson tells us, in one of the three approximately five-minute segments that will air. “Though we drink from different wells, we all swim in the same river.”
For further information, visit CNN International’s “Fusion Journeys” website: www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/fusion-journeys.
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.