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.
Three mainstage operas at HGO this season: The Flying Dutchman, Florencia en el Amazonas, and The Phoenix, are part of “Seeking the Human Spirit”, the company’s six-year multidisciplinary initiative designed to highlight the universal spiritual themes raised in opera, and to enable a wider segment of the Houston community to experience opera’s beauty, emotional power, and potential to heal. The theme of this season is “Transformation”.
On April 26, 28, and May 4, 7 & 10, Hampson and Pisaroni will share the stage with a sparkling cast of artists, including Rihab Chaieb as Maria Malibran / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart / Nancy Da Ponte (née Grahl), Chad Shelton as Patrick Kelly / Bishop of Ceneda / Giacomo Casanova / Emperor Joseph II / ‘Opera’ Taylor / Clement Clarke Moore, Lauren Snouffer as Giulietta / Anzoletta / Mary Grahl / Brigida Banti, Elizabeth Sutphen as Faustina / Angela Tiepolo / Annetta / Matilda Grahl / Anna Morichelli. Patrick Summers conducts the HGO Orchestra and Chorus, with the libretto and production by John Caird, and set and costume designs by David Farley.
On June 28 & 29, Thomas Hampson joins the Gewandhausorchester and soprano Kristine Opolais for two free Klassik airleben concerts in Leipzig. Under the baton of Andris Nelsons, Hampson and Ms. Opolais perform arias, duets and orchestral works from the Italian opera tradition. Following, on June 30, Hampson and Ms. Opolais reprise the program with Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, marking the final concert for Nelsons and the Gewandhausorchester this season.
On June 23, Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger travel to Schwarzenberg to present an all-Mahler recital at the Angelika-Kauffmann-Saal. Hot on the heels of their recent Liederabend at the Opernhaus Zürich, together they will perform a program of selections from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and Kindertotenlieder.
WFMT’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra Radio Broadcast Series will broadcast a live performance featuring Thomas Hampson and the CSO, led by Bramwell Tovey, on June 30 at 8 PM (CT). Hosted by Lisa Simeone, the two-hour Chicago Symphony Orchestra broadcasts include dynamic and innovative commentary, which takes the listener behind the scenes and into the music. The performance features a program of American songs and orchestral music by Ives, Copland, Still, and more. Learn more about the broadcast here.
Thomas Hampson returns to the Opernhaus Zürich for a Liederabend with pianist Wolfram Rieger on June 19. Hampson will perform selected songs by Mahler, H.T. Burleigh, Margaret Bonds, Jean Berger, and Leonard Bernstein. He also sings Jennifer Higdon’s Civil Words, dedicated to Mr. Hampson, who first premiered the work in 2015 with Wolfram Rieger. Next season, Hampson returns to the Opernhaus Zürich to take on the role of Jan Vermeer in the world premiere of Stefan Wirth’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
On June 7, Thomas Hampson opens the Whitsun Festival with his superstar colleagues, soprano Nadine Sierra, and tenor Michael Fabiano, in a concert entitled “American Night,” at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. Hampson has long championed the American song, with the help of his “Song of America” project, which aims to explore connections between poetry and music, and history and culture, through the work of American composers and poets.
Photo: Michael Cooper
Canadian Opera Company’s world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian has been nominated in seven categories for the 40th Anniversary Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Additionally, Hampson has been nominated in the “Outstanding Performance of an Individual” category for his performance in the title role. The Dora Mavor Moore Awards recognizes excellence in professional theatre, dance, and opera in Toronto.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.