Australian debut reviews: “The George Clooney of opera is a class act”
“Mahler was never in safer hands than those of Thomas Hampson. This is a veteran musician who knows the exact meaning behind every word and every note – and probably what Gustav was doing the morning he wrote it.
Nothing is overlooked. It’s a partnership that has borne innumerable iconic performances, and proven beneficial for both composer and singer.”
“Thomas Hampson is a very rare bird indeed: a singer who brings all the musical and emotional power of opera to the world of the art song. During this attractively varied program at the start of his first-ever Australian tour, there was never any doubt that everything Hampson sang, he sang from the heart. His extraordinarily expressive face confirmed that here was a supremely musical communicator who totally inhabited the world of each song.
It is hard to find adequate superlatives to describe the prodigious artistry and musicianship that was on display at this recital. Most importantly, music was made and effectively shared. It really doesn’t get much better than this. If you are in a position to hear Hampson live, don’t hesitate!”
“The first half of the program featured songs from Schubert and from Mahler, each sequence filled with gently haunting music and soulful yearning. A man of remarkable height, Hampson has the ability to convey a myriad of emotions while keeping his body and facial expression completely still; the glorious sound just poured out and filled the Hall as the audience sat in rapturous attention.
Hampson’s baritone has a completely unblemished purity that is a pleasure to hear, especially in a venue like this, which carries and blends music with warmth and clarity. Hampson’s musicianship extends to crisp diction and excellent German and French expression.”
“A notable interpreter of Mahler’s vocal music, Hampson concluded the first half of the program with five songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. A graceful, smiling Frülingsmorgenwas followed by Aus! Aus! with its marching rhythms and opportunities for humour, which he fully exploited. Poignantly expressed grief, a homesick deserter’s sad tale of capture and, finally, the fluctuating emotions of Der Schildwache Nachtlied(The Sentinel’s Song), which ended on the softest head resonance, had listeners removed to other worlds.”
“Hampson’s stage presence was commanding, and his engagement with music and text was visceral: the apparent effortlessness of his voice, his perfectly expressive face, nothing was contrived. He was the composer embodied. He breathed in the orchestra around him and was the wayfarer for the entire journey – we could hear the sorrow and the pain, even while he described the beauty of nature. His superb honey tone colour and sense of line allowed the expansive phrases to maintain a sense of movement throughout. The red-hot knife in his chest needed no fake blood to transmit his deep pain – the sound and the body language sufficed. Every word of the text was clear, and every note that was played by the orchestra was part of the Hampson wayfarer’s world.”
“Mr Hampson is a singer of exceptional artistry and easy to understand why he was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein. He displayed a stage presence that went beyond his rich baritone voice. With each song, he brought out the essence and fullness of Mahler’s emotions. Mr Hampson not only connected with the orchestra and Maestro Molino’s excellent orchestral accompaniment, but connected with the audience to great effect. His voice was congruent with his body language and facial expression enhanced by excellent diction, dynamics and phrasing.”