“In the title role, Thomas Hampson is stellar. His strong body, handsome face, and kind smile is suited perfectly to the beloved Emperor. He plays his Hadrian as proper, reserved, and polite yet with this undercurrent of charisma roiling beneath the surface. The singing is outstanding. Often skirting the line between operatic and musical theatre production (similar to Wainwright’s score), Hampson takes us on a viable emotional journey in an accessible and visceral way; his aria in Act II reveals layer after layer of a man torn between honoring his true self and the conquering, ever-masculine Roman Emperor at the time of Jesus’s rise to prominence.”
“Thomas Hampson is magnificent as Hadrian, bringing expressive depth and broken regality to the ailing emperor, caught between Turbo and Plotina’s counsel and a paralyzing grief over Antinous. He makes excellent use of the range given to his character: at the opera’s outset, Hadrian remains collapsed on the floor, singing only his lover’s name in a melancholic, exhausted voice (Act I sees Hampson singing for lengthy periods of time while seated, an affecting and demanding choice from director Peter Hinton). His grief—though often present—is never one-note, but layered. When he goes back in time to the night he first met Antinous, he is a man transformed, his voice rich and full of vigour.”
“There was honest chemistry between Thomas Hampson (Hadrian) and Isaiah Bell (Antinous); Hampson is an endearing mix of vigorous and weathered, and Bell has a gorgeous arc from young caution to mature confidence. And perhaps this is the first time I’ve thought this in an opera, but the sex scene – much hyped and beautifully done, I thought – helped us connect with the two men.”
“Hadrian is a huge sing, and Thomas Hampson at age 63 did an amazing job… he sang strongly and indefatigably, commanding the stage with a mix of regal dignity and vulnerability.”
“A courageous performance”
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
“Toronto playwright Daniel MacIvor provides us with a simple plot: the early-second-century Roman emperor (excellently sung by American baritone Thomas Hampson)…”
“Renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson makes his COC debut in the title role. He delivered solid singing throughout…”
“Hampson is solid as a rock in his portrayal, and for the most part the one we’re watching throughout.”
On May 26, Thomas Hampson joins the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin to sing Mahler’s lyrical Rückert Lieder. A champion of Mahler’s music, Hampson has described his song cycles as dialogues between the singer and orchestra or pianist, rather than just sung melody and accompaniment.
May 16 & 17 at the Herkulessaal in Munich, and on May 18 at the Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg. Also on the program, Jansons will lead the orchestra in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, and Respighi’s Pini di Roma.
Thomas Hampson and Luca Pisaroni talk to Brent Stevens at KHFM Classical Public Radio about their upcoming performance of “No Tenors Allowed” in Santa Fe.
The performance will be at 7:30 PM on May 2 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.
This spring, Thomas Hampson and Luca Pisaroni bring their ‘No Tenors Allowed’ program to Toronto and Santa Fe. Beginning in Toronto at Koerner Hall on April 30, they will perform highlights from the operatic repertoire, greatest hits from Broadway musicals, and timeless classical and popular songs, accompanied by pianist Vlad Iftinca. Their second performance will take place on May 2 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe.
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.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.