The Spokesman: Thomas Hampson shares history of America one song and poem at a time

The Spokesman

Baritone Thomas Hampson had heard, and even asked, the questions countless times: Who’s the American Brahms? The American Schubert? What about the American DeBussy?

But Hampson, who hails from the Tri-Cities and went to school in Spokane, realized long ago that those were the wrong questions to be asking.

Spokane Public Radio: From the Studio

Grammy Award-winning baritone Thomas Hampson has returned to his hometown for a concert of his own creation, entitled “Song of America: Beyond Liberty,” and he came to our studio to tell us a little bit about it. The show will feature Thomas, acclaimed pianist Lara Downes and an ensemble of musicians from the Spokane Symphony as they explore more than 250 years of American history through music and poetry.

The performance will be at 8 PM on March 1 in the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.

Visit the website for the Spokane Public Radio to listen to the full interview.

Bachtrack – A consummate storyteller: Thomas Hampson in “Schubert Week” recital in Berlin

“Eloquent and elegant as always, baritone Thomas Hampson launched a “Schubert Week” at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin with a solo recital. Together with his longtime accompanist Wolfram Rieger, they performed Schubert Lieder that were far from mainstream and showcased the high art of this genre.

The pièce de résistance was the approximately 20-minute long ballad Der Taucher (The Diver) with text written by Friedrich Schiller in 1797… Hampson, justly famous for his excellent diction, used this long ballad as a consummate storyteller, with dramatic phrasing and pauses just long enough to hold his public in suspense until the bitter end.”


Wiener Staatsoper: Musik ist ein Weg Weiser

Read the article on Page 18 of this month’s Wiener Staatsoper Publications

Boston Classical Review: Hampson and Pisaroni prove a delightful dueling duo in “No Tenors Allowed”

“With their rich, lyrical voices and acting abilities showcased by simple, effective staging, the duo transformed what looked to be a traditional recital into an attractive set of dramatic musical performances. Hampson and Pisaroni make a delightful pair…

In “O Vaterland” from Lehár’s The Merry Widow, Hampson mused upon how drink and love affairs can make one forget one’s patriotism. The singers’ fervent melodies in “And this is my beloved” from Robert Wright and George Forrest’s Kismet ebbed and flowed beautifully. So did Hampson’s rendition of Haydn Wood and Frederick Weatherly’s “Roses of Picardy,” which managed to flower even in its soft, breathy phrases.”

Boston Classical Review

Kultur24 Berlin: Thomas Hampson im Pierre-Boulez-Saal

Kultur24 Berlin

Ein Liederabend der Sonderklasse mit Thomas Hampson

Zum Auftakt einer Schubert -Woche im  Pierre-Boulez-Saal begeisterte Thomas Hampson mit einem außergewöhnlichen Konzert.

Thomas Hampson ist immer für eine neue Musikerfahrung gut, selbst wenn ein scheinbar ganz unspektakulärer Schubert-Liederabend im Berliner Pierre-Boulez-Saal auf seinem  Programm steht. Wie  so oft wagte er sich auch hier in eher unbekannte Nischen vor, um dem lieb gewordenen Genuss des  Altbekannten die Entdeckung des Unbekannten entgegen zu setzen. Die Auswahl aus dem schier unendlichen Schatz der ungefähr 600 Lieder von Franz Schubert, die Hampson zusammen mit Wolfram Rieger, seinem kongenialen Dauer-Partner am Klavier, traf, erstaunte, standen doch nur wenige der immer wieder gehörten „Schlager“ auf dem Programm, stattdessen fiel seine Wahl auf vertonte Gedichte, die in ihrer inhaltlichen Wucht bedrückten, zumindest aber nachdenklich stimmten. „Gebet während der Schlacht“ (Text Theodor Körner) ist in seiner Gott anflehenden Verzweiflung ein furchtbares Manifest gegen den Krieg. Ebenfalls von Körner gedichtet, mit ähnlichem Inhalt, nur weicher formuliert „Amphiaraos“ , der auf Zeus Wort hin seine Rosse in den Abgrund der Schlacht lenkt, „Sehnsucht“ (Text Friedrich von Schiller) ein Ausblick auf den Tod, „ Der entsühnte Orest“  (Text Johann Mayrhofer) ,der sich auf der Liebe Wellen schwebend nach dem jenseitigen Leben sehnt, und als großes Werk in der Mitte des Abends die Schillersche Ballade „Der Taucher“, dessen Tragik, musikalisch atemberaubend gestaltet, nur Schweigen gebietet.

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

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