“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.”
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.