Jun 10, 2018
Ron Jontof-Hutter – J-Wire
“The highlight of the evening was without doubt Thomas Hampson singing Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, (Songs of a wayfaring Journeyman.) The text, written by Mahler is autobiographical, depicting his journey from place to place as a young conductor gaining experience.
Influenced by one of Mahler’s favourite books on German folk poetry, ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn,’ the poems describe his passionate feelings towards Johanna Richter, a blue eyed singer he was in love with but jilted by her. The first song ‘Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht’ (On my sweetheart’s wedding day) followed by ‘Ging heut’ Morgen ueber’s Feld (I went out this morning into the fields), Ich hab’ ein gluehend Messer (I have a hot gleaming knife) and ‘Die zwei blauen Augen( The two blue eyes) describe a young Mahler wearing his heart on his sleeves, and his sense of despair at unrequited love.
Mr. Hampson is a singer of exceptional artistry and easy to understand why he was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein. He displayed a stage presence that went beyond his rich baritone voice. With each song, he brought out the essence and fullness of Mahler’s emotions. Mr. Hampson not only connected with the orchestra and Maestro Molino’s excellent orchestral accompaniment, but connected with the audience to great effect. His voice was congruent with his body language and facial expression enhanced by excellent diction, dynamics and phrasing.
Following the wistful but lyrical ‘Ging heut’ Morgen…’ Mr. Hampson sang the dramatic ‘Ich hab’ein gluehend Messer’ with such intensity of tone and conviction that I felt as if I was sitting in the room with Mahler as he expressed his grief, pain and torment. The short stabbing articulated quavers depicting the stabbing knife into his chest highlighted Mr. Hampson’s understanding, if not empathy, of the intense grief that Mahler surely felt.
Mr Hampson’s elegant, warm and charming stage manner was highly appreciated by both orchestra and audience. Hopefully he will visit again.”
This month marks the world premiere of composer Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix, starring Thomas Hampson in his greatly anticipated debut and Luca Pisaroni at the Houston Grand Opera. This will be Hampson’s second world premiere of the 2018-19 season, previously starring in the title role of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company. Hampson and Pisaroni play the different ages of Lorenzo Da Ponte as a group of singing actors come together to create a stage adaptation about the colorful life of the scandalous librettist that created the stories of Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, and The Marriage of Figaro.
From September 23 – 28, Thomas Hampson and Melanie Diener, worldwide acclaimed soprano from Waiblingen, teach – for the first time in 2019 – an opera workshop at the Bürgerzentrum Waiblingen to outstanding singers of the new generation.
After his curated Schubert Week at Berlin’s Pierre Boulez Saal this past January, Thomas Hampson returns to the Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg to lead the Heidelberg Lied Academy from March 21-24. As artistic director, Hampson and fellow renowned mentors and pianists, Hartmut Höll and Ammiel Bushakevitz, will work with the Lied Academy Scholars in public and private masterclasses, with the scholars performing a final concert on March 24.
Thomas Hampson sings with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra on March 9 & 10, part of the Classix Series: Trailblazers, bringing a concert full of stories about trail blazers that have shaped history and our world. At the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts, Mr. Hampson joins the orchestra for Michael Daugherty’s song cycle Letters from Lincoln. Hampson debuted the work in 2009 with the Spokane Symphony, which was recorded and released by Koch Records. Purchase links and more information is available via Hampson’s Recordings.
On March 6, Thomas Hampson returns to Tokyo for a special concert with superstar soprano Angela Gheorghiu and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at Suntory Hall. Under the baton of Eugene Kohn, Ms. Gheorghiu and Mr. Hampson perform beloved operatic arias and duets by Bizet, Verdi, Lehár, and more. Hampson and Ms. Gheorghiu have previously collaborated on a number of critically acclaimed records including Verdi’s Il trovatore, Bizet’s Carmen, and Massenet’s Werther. More information is available via Hampson’s Recordings.
Thomas Hampson performs his “Song of Liberty: Beyond America” project in his hometown of Spokane, on March 1 with pianist Lara Downes and an ensemble of musicians from the Spokane Symphony. Marking the west coast premiere of his new project, Hampson performs an all-American program that explores the influential people, poetry and events that helped create and define our nation. At the Martin Woldson Theater, using song, personal anecdotes and historical monologues, Hampson will take the audience on a journey through American history as seen through the eyes of poets and the ears of composers.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.