“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.”
The Bernstein Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood spotlighted Leonard Bernstein’s wide-ranging talents as a composer, his many gifts as a great interpreter and champion of other composers, and his role as inspiration for a new generation of musicians and music lovers across the country and around the globe. This gala concert featured a kaleidoscopic array of artists and ensembles from the worlds of classical music, film, and Broadway, like Mr. Hampson, Audra McDonald, Midori, Yo-Yo Ma, Nadine Sierra, Susan Graham and Isabel Leonard among others.
On November 18 & 19, Hampson and the ensemble will perform Britten’s War Requiem at the Musikverein Wien. This harrowing work interweaves Latin mass text and text by Wilfred Owen accompanied by the Wiener Sängerknaben and Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien. Hampson shares the stage with star soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, and tenor Werner Güra.
More information and tickets are available via the Calendar page.
Thomas Hampson makes his highly anticipated debut with the Canadian Opera Company in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian. Hampson sings the title role in this epic love story, based on the life of the Roman emperor Hadrian, with libretto by Daniel MacIvor. Led by Johannes Debus, the monumental production by Peter Hinton will open the COC’s 68th season beginning October 13 through October 27.
Thomas Hampson travels to the Tanglewood Festival this month to celebrate the centennial of his late mentor, Leonard Bernstein, and to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“At this pivotal time in history, Americas art song literature provides a means of communicating, in the simple beauty of word and music, the truths of a nation born of an ideology whose language celebrates the individual. This language of heart and mind says everything about the culture that created it. And when we sing our own songs, those who hear us will have experienced the best of what freedom of thought and purpose can achieve in the creation of great art.” -Thomas Hampson
Thomas Hampson and Luca Pisaroni head to Austria and the United States for their successful “No Tenors Allowed” concerts this August.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.