As he prepares to make his Australian debut, the veteran American baritone talks Mahler, Bernstein, American art song, and why he finds pandas so adorable.
Thomas Hampson remembers the exact moment that he fell in love with the music of Mahler. It was back in the late 1970s and the renowned American baritone, then still in his early 20s, was studying at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where one of his teachers was the French-born American baritone and pedagogue Martial Singher. Thomas Hampson. Photo © Jiyang Cheng “I think it was the summer of ‘79, and he assigned five of us to sing the Kindertotenlieder. I was assigned the second song. I’d heard of Mahler but didn’t know much about it, so I thought ‘I’d better figure out who this is’. So, I went down to the public library and checked out some cassette tapes, [as you did] back in the day, to listen in the car as I was going to some of my other jobs,” recalls Hampson. “I thought ‘well, I’ll just start at the beginning’, so [I began with] Mahler One with the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein. I found myself on the freeway driving 35 miles an hour, and I thought ‘this isn’t going to work’, so I pulled over.
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.