Bachtrack – “Where time stands still”: Thomas Hampson on the magic of song


“You compose because you want to somehow summarise in some permanent form your most basic feelings about being alive, to set down some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today.” Aaron Copland’s quote describes best what first drew the American baritone Thomas Hampson to the art of song: the unique combination of two independent art forms that expresses human emotion in an unbelievably condensed way. With a beautiful snowy landscape glaring through the windows of his Zurich home and into the camera of his laptop, Hampson reflects on the art of American song and the importance of a liberal arts education.

“Hampson brings swagger, sensitivity to American songs with CSO”

“There is no finer advocate nor any living artist more committed to the cause of American song than the celebrated baritone from Elkhart, Indiana… Hampson brought tender sincerity and a striking freedom of phrasing and rubato to “Simple Gifts.” While he now has to artfully negotiate the high notes in “The Boatman’s Dance,” his hearty swagger was delightful, complete with drawled Yankee R’s. The singer’s storytelling qualities were manifest in a characterful take on “The Golden Willow Tree,” rendered with impressive agility”

Chicago Classical Review

Schmopera – Talking with Singers: Thomas Hampson

Jenna Simeonov | Schmopera

“Nude was always off the table,” says Thomas Hampson of the much-anticipated love scene he would stage as the title role in Rufus Wainwright’s second opera, Hadrian. “There were various contemplations of clad and unclad, for both of us.” For all the experience in Hampson’s career – three decades, over 80 roles, and 170 recordings – a homosexual love scene was a first for the famed baritone.

Director Peter Hinton noted that this wordless scene, musically scored with great care by Wainwright, is a rare onstage moment of tenderness and love between two men. Though audience members may have been voyeuristic in their curiosity over the scene – and perhaps the chemistry between Hampson and up-and-coming Canadian tenor Isaiah Bell, who sings the role of Hadrian’s lover Antinous – the creative team behind Hadrian was focused instead on defining deep intimacy between the two men.

Critical acclaim for Rufus Wainright’s Hadrian (World Premiere)

“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.”


World premiere of the COC’s “Hadrian”: baritone Thomas Hampson visits “Classical Mornings”

The New Classical FM

The distinguished American baritone Thomas Hampson spoke with co-hosts Mike and Jean about portraying the title role of “Hadrian”, a Canadian Opera Company commission making its world premiere Saturday night. The story delves into the epic gay love story of the married Roman Emperor Hadrian and his young lover Antinous.

Concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic

“It’s rare in Buffalo to see a master singer, a real star, show what he can do. Hampson is an enchanting performer. When he sings, he steps into a dream.”

Buffalo News

Thomas Hampson Sings ‘Songs From Chicago’ On New Cedille Records Album

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone and a champion of the art of classic song, makes his Cedille Records debut with an album of songs by early mid-twentieth-century composers from Chicago.

On Songs from Chicago, available September 14, 2018, Hampson sings settings of poetry by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Rabindranath Tagore composed by Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton (Cedille Records CDR 90000 180).

All of them, Hampson says, “have distinguished themselves in history as great voices of the artistic American narrative.”

Take 5: Thomas Hampson

This edition of Take 5 features renowned American baritone Thomas HampsonSongs from Chicago, his debut album on Cedille, is a program of songs by five composers of the early 20th century associated with the city of Chicago: Ernst Bacon, Florence Price, John Alden Carpenter, Margaret Bonds, and Louis Campbell-Tipton. All of them, Hampson says, “have distinguished themselves in history as great voices of the artistic American narrative.” The poetry used in these songs is equally distinguished and includes poem by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Rabindranath Tagore, the Bengali poet who became the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Songs from Chicago is available September 14, 2018.

Times Union: Tunes that have a national appeal

The European masters Schubert, Mahler, and Wolf figure heavily in most every season of concerts by the top baritone Thomas Hampson. In a typical year he travels the globe giving song recitals and performing with big orchestras and major opera companies. But Hampson doesn’t neglect the music of his homeland. An increasing part of his repertoire is devoted to American songs, from the 1700s to contemporary times.

Thomas Hampson receives the ORF III Media Prize

Thomas Hampson has been awarded the ORF III Media Prize at the Austrian Music Theater Awards for his cultural merit.

SWR2 Music Lesson with Thomas Hampson: Speaking Baritone

Thomas Hampson talks about his Hampsong Foundation and his passion for art song with Ines Pasz at SWR2.

J-Wire: An Evening with Thomas Hampson and the MSO

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.

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