After yesterday’s Manon, it was a nice to return to the same venue with such an enlightening concert. Just before his encores, Thomas Hampson addressed the audience saying that it was also special for him to come back to Geneva after so many years …
The Schumann song cycle was presented not as Dichterliebe but as songs from the Lyrischen Intermezzo Buch der Lieder’ after Heine, Hampson specifying that it was closer to Schumann’s original text … the overall characterisation and care for the words were marvels. The long standing partnership between both artists meant that they could find expressive freedom while being attuned to each other …
The second half gave us the baritone in the repertory he is simply peerless. If the Schumann cycle is mostly from a single person perspective, Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn are a collection of small operas in miniature where the singer is portraying various roles. These are Mahler’s most theatrical songs. Hampson with his range and expressiveness revelled in them and showed the worlds of depth and imagination there are behind the seemingly simple marches and folk-music Mahler uses. Technically, they fitted him like a glove allowing him to shine in his middle register and requiring less head voice than the Schumann.
Mahler aficionados could make a guess that both artists had listened to the two classic Welte-Mignon Piano Rolls featuring the composer himself and: ‘Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald’ and the Fourth Symphony last movement ‘Das himmlische Leben’ as they were following his rubato and care for expressivity.
This was an evening of supreme distinction. The audience was unusually mesmerized and concentrated. Hampson before his encores also explained that this concert was for the benefit of the ‘Gustav Mahler Médiathèque’ – a must see at http://www.mediathequemahler.org/ – established by his friend and ultimate Mahler Scholar Henry-Louis de La Grange to whom he dedicated the two superb encore: ‘Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder!’ and ‘Liebst du um Schönheit’ from the Rückert Lieder.
There will be later many recitals at the Théâtre des Nations from the likes of Camilla Nylund, Christian Gerharer, Karita Mattila, Patricia Petibon but by the time we hear better Mahler singing, we will all be ‘Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen’ and the composer will be conducting.
Antoine Lévy-Leboyer – Seen and Heard International
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.