Thomas Hampson presented a Carnegie Hall recital on February 9, featuring an affecting and thoughtfully curated program:
“In classical music, the difference between art and artifact is made up by context . . . But give that music some meaning in terms of our own memories and cultural experiences, and it comes alive. No one in classical music does this better than baritone Thomas Hampson . . . Hampson and Reiger played some explicitly martial music, but for the most part they gave the audience music that turned war from policy into consequence: loss, death, haunted memories . . . There were two Langston Hughes songs, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” composed by Margaret Bonds, and Jean Berger’s great “Lonely People.” Bonds’ song may not be a masterpiece, but Hampson sang it like one . . . A true masterpiece finished the concert, Bernstein’s setting of an unpublished Whitman poem, “To What You Said,” from the composer’s Songfest . . . Bernstein’s song is one of the great art songs, of any time, in any language, and Hampson’s singing it is always one of the great experiences in music.”
George Grella – New York Classical Review
“Hampson sang the nostalgic “Tom Sails Away” and “The Things Our Fathers Loved” with misty-eyed melancholy in his voice, and his reading of “In Flanders Field” was stark and haunting . . . The second half of the recital opened with the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Civil Words, which anchored the war theme of the recital . . . With his superb diction and careful attention to musical and poetic phrasing, Hampson was the ideal interpreter of this wordy yet emotionally packed cycle . . .”
Steven Jude Tietjen – Opera News
Hampson’s role debut as The Four Villains in The Metropolitan Opera’s Les contes d’Hoffmann was also heralded by critics for his “peerless” performance; “commanding” and full of “electricity”:
“In the antagonistic role of Lindorf and the other three villains was the peerless Thomas Hampson. The American baritone was an imposing figure in every single scene he was involved, providing a strong counterpoint to Grigolo’s increasingly unstable Hoffman. His voice also had a dark edge that oozed with venom. At any moment he could ignite into a rage filled with his trademark attention to text like few other singers could. He made a quick coloratura flourish in the second act trio frightening in its unpredictability and he was the devil himself in the Act 2 confrontation with Antonia. In the famous “Scintille, diamante,” in which Dapertutto conjured up a diamond that he plans to use to lure Giuletta, his voice took on an elegant polished quality, every phrase delivered with a reserved romantic ardor. The aria culminated in a fascinating high note that threw the audience into a frenzy.”
David Salazar – Latin Post
“(Prologue) Thomas Hampson established himself early as the dominant theatrical force, forging the character of Lindorf with swagger and panache, and establishing the electricity of the four villains . . . (Antonia) Here Hampson was at his most commanding, oozing evil out of every pore of Dr Miracle . . . (Giulietta) Hampson once again stood out in bas-relief, here his suavity and sinister cape containing the essence of evil and its domination of Hoffmann’s mad universe.”
Fred Kirshnit – Classical Source
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
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.