November sees Thomas Hampson – a recent inductee into the Gramophone Hall of Fame – return to Lyric Opera of Chicago to help celebrate the Wagner bicentennial, singing Amfortas in the company’s new production of Parsifal (Nov 9–29). Wagner’s conflicted ruler is one of the baritone’s signature roles, and earlier this month he joined Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony for a concert rendition of the opera’s final act. The results, according to the Washington Times, were a “revelation.” Awarding the concert full marks, the review singled out Hampson’s performance as “genuinely electrifying, yet moving at the same time.” Similarly, while impressed by the concert as a whole, the Washington Post nonetheless felt that “it was Thomas Hampson’s Amfortas who showed everyone how it is done. … He effectively carried the end of the evening.” The Washington Times spoke for many in concluding: “We can confidently assure Lyric Opera patrons that their Amfortas will not disappoint.”
As the New York Times noted when the baritone sang the role at the Met, “Hampson has made something of a specialty of the agonized, desperate Amfortas.” Explaining his conception of the complex role, Hampson says:
“The core of Amfortas’s despair is that he has betrayed himself, his own soul, his own heart, his own existence. He must find a way to make himself whole again. In some ways it’s a wound that can be closed only by [Parsifal], who understands and forgives him as he forgives himself—that is the essence of compassion.”
Lyric’s new production comes courtesy of two-time Tony Award-winner John Caird and designer Johan Engels. Hampson will be joined by Richard Tucker Award-winning tenor Paul Groves and mezzo-soprano Daveda Karanas, making their respective role debuts as Parsifal and Kundry, with bass Kwangchul Youn as Gurnemanz, and Sir Andrew Davis on the podium.
For more information about the new production and to purchase tickets go to: www.lyricopera.org
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.