Praised by the New York Times for his "ceaseless curiosity," Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist, and "ambassador of song," maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology. The American baritone has performed in the world's most important concert halls and opera houses with many renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. One of the most respected, innovative, and sought-after soloists performing today, he was recently inducted toGramophone's 2013 "Hall of Fame"; honored as a Metropolitan Opera Guild "Met Mastersinger"; and presented with the first Venetian Heritage Award (2013) and the Concertgebouw Prize (2011).
On the opera stage in the 2013-14 season, the baritone makes his role debut as the eponymous antihero of Berg's Wozzeck at the Metropolitan Opera, in a production featuring Deborah Voigt and led by James Levine. Hampson also reprises his star turn in the title role of Simon Boccanegra at the Vienna State Opera, and revisits such signature parts as Amfortas in Parsifal at Lyric Opera of Chicago (as well as in concert with the National Symphony); Giorgio Germont in La traviata at the Bavarian State Opera; Mandryka in Arabella at the Salzburg Festival; and Scarpia in Tosca at both the Deutsche Oper Berlin and London's Royal Opera House. In the concert hall, he opens the season in performances of Eisler's Ernste Gesänge with Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden, and sings Brahms, Schubert, and Wolf on a twelve-stop European tour with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Other orchestral collaborations include programs of arias and duets with Luca Pisaroni in Prague, Bratislava, Essen, Baden-Baden, and Paris, and selections from Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the BBC Scottish Symphony. The baritone takes his celebrated lieder recitals to London's Wigmore Hall, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and to Coburg, Heidelberg, Brussels, and Berne.
In the 2012-13 season, Hampson's operatic engagements brimmed with Verdi, from his company role debut as Iago in Otello at the Metropolitan Opera to singing Giorgio Germont at the Vienna State Opera. Having wowed critics in the title role of Simon Boccanegra at Chicago's Lyric, the baritone reprised the Doge – in concert and live recording, which is due for fall release – at Vienna's Konzerthaus, and looks forward to closing the season in the role at London's Royal Opera House. It was as Scarpia that he opened the present season at Santa Fe Opera, and he revisited the role at Zurich Opera, where he also portrayed Wolfram inTannhäuser. He returns to Wagner in summer 2013, singing Amfortas at the Munich Opera Festival, before rejoining the Salzburg Festival as Rodrigo in a new Pappano/Stein production of Verdi's Don Carlo.
Hampson's recent international concert and recital engagements include performances in New York, Munich, London, Vienna, San Francisco, and more. He made gala appearances at Baden-Baden's Festspielhaus on New Year's Eve and celebrated the Concertgebouw Orchestra's 125th anniversary in Amsterdam. His collaborative projects also included a European tour with the Wiener Virtuosen, an appearance with the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, and concerts with the Jupiter String Quartet – featuring a world premiere by Mark Adamo – in New York, Boston, and Davis, California. Other artistic partnerships included performances with the Los Angeles, London, Munich, and Israel Philharmonics, and the National Symphony.
Internationally recognized for his versatility in operatic repertoire both classical and contemporary, the baritone created the role of Rick Rescorla in the San Francisco Opera's world premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis's Heart of a Soldier, which commemorated the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2011. Other important firsts for Hampson in the 2011-12 season included his role debuts as Iago in Otelloand in the title role of Hindemith's Mathis der Maler, both at Zurich Opera, as well as his house role debut as Verdi's Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera.
Hampson was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has won worldwide recognition for thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages, and periods. Through the Hampsong Foundation (www.hampsongfoundation.org), founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. He is one of the most important interpreters of German Romantic song and with his celebrated "Song of America" project (www.songofamerica.net), a collaboration with the Library of Congress, he has become known as the "Ambassador of American song."
The singer's commitment to cross-cultural communication through music and text was showcased in CNN's "Fusion Journeys" series, for which Hampson was filmed in South Africa in a musical exchange with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The past season also saw the debut of the "Song of America" radio series, co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago. Conceived and hosted by the baritone, the series consists of 13 hour-long programs exploring the history of American culture through song, and has aired in more than 250 U.S. markets. A passionate teacher, Hampson will return for master classes to both the Manhattan School of Music's Distance Learning program and Heidelberger Frühling's Lied Academy, of which he is the co-founder and artistic director.
Hailing from Spokane, Washington, Hampson has received many honors and awards for his probing artistry and cultural leadership. Comprising more than 150 albums, his discography includes winners of a Grammy Award, five Edison Awards, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic's first Artist-in-Residence. In 2010 he was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he serves as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Hampson holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, besides being an honorary member of London's Royal Academy of Music.He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences. In 2011 Hampson was again named ECHO Klassik's "Singer of the Year," marking the fourth time he has received that distinction over a 20-year period.
This year marks what would be the 150th birthday of the iconic composer, Richard Strauss, and to pay tribute, Deutsche Grammophon releases Notturno, songs by Richard Strauss performed by American baritone Thomas Hampson. Widely recognized as one of the premiere interpreters of German art song today, Hampson celebrates Strauss' 150th anniversary with several concerts in Europe and North America, along with a new production of the composer's Arabella which took place in April at the Salzburg Easter Festival.
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Richard Strauss' "Himmelsboten," which opened "Strauss and His World," Wednesday's Tanglewood recital by baritone Thomas Hampson and pianist Wolfram Rieger, is one song, but might as well be six: Each stanza gets its own musical milieu. As Hampson impishly asked a sunbeam to enter his beloved's window and kiss her breast, the melodic surge shuffled the harmonies through an entire deck of keys. Some composers create musical order as a refuge from the world's messiness; Strauss fled into excess.
Commemorating this year's Strauss anniversary (the composer's 150th birthday), Hampson and Rieger fashioned eight of his disparate songs into a convincing cycle: young to old, love to loss, light to dark to light again. Among occasional drama - Hampson reached ringing, heroically hopeful heights in "Heimliche Aufforderung," as well as "Sehnsucht," with its similarly grand (if more equivocal) trajectory - the dominant mood was lush and languorous, a "velvet thread through the graying dusk," as "Traum durch die Dämmerung" put it. READ THE FULL Boston Globe REVIEW.
With his infinite and mature talent, American baritone Thomas Hampson has been enjoying a triumphant international career as an opera singer, recitalist and recording artist for decades. All complemented by his passionate interest in teaching and exploring an immensely varied repertoire of songs.
gbtimes talked to Hampson shortly after the release of his latest Notturno album, featuring an exquisite selection of songs by Richard Strauss.
And so we talked...about Notturno and the art of song. READ THE FULL gbtimes INTERVIEW.
If it's a major composer anniversary year, that must mean a batch of new commemorative recordings. Richard Strauss has long been well-served by recording labels: there are more than 2,400 albums of his music, according to one measurement. A new notable addition to the catalog is this week's WQXR - New York 'Album Of the Week. The Deutsche Grammophon recording of - Notturno: Songs by Richard Strauss by Thomas Hampson, baritone, with Wolfram Rieger, piano.
Strauss was one of history's preeminent song composers, his output spanning more than a half-century. American baritone Thomas Hampson presents 18 of the composer's songs in chronological order, spanning the years 1885 (with "Zueignung," or "Dedication") to 1935 (with "Im Sonnenschein," or "In the Sunshine"). The collection offers an attractive mix of familiar and relatively obscure pieces and Hampson, who has already surveyed the songs of Mahler, has a nice feeling for Strauss's word painting. Now in his late 50s, Hampson's voice is still in very good form. Violinist Daniel Hope joins the singer in the title track.
Thomas Hampson is widely regarded as one of the premier interpreters of German art song today. In 2014, the American baritone celebrates Richard Strauss' 150th anniversary with several concerts in Europe and North America and a new production of the opera Arabella at the Salzburg Easter Festival. With this release, he adds to his already considerable discography with an expertly-crafted collection of Lieder by Strauss. Thomas Hampson - Notturno / Strauss: Zueignung Die Nacht, Winternacht & Im Sonnenschein on Deutsche Grammophon are the WFMT - Chicago / 'New Release of the Week.' Featuring Thomas Hampson, baritone; Wolfram Rieger, piano.
Review from Bob Chapman, Host of "WCPE Opera House"
Lke the legendary twentieth-century German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Thomas Hampson has enjoyed an active career both as a song recitalist and operatic performer. Renowned himself for his impassioned championing of the art song, Hampson declares, "You simply have to recognize him as one of the greatest vocal artists of all time. If Fischer-Dieskau is the Encyclopedia Britannica of song repertoire, I would like to be a couple of well-written chapters inside of it."
"Even before I met him," Hampson continues, "I considered Fischer-Dieskau a kind of mentor. I've always been fascinated with the way he looks at music, and the way he sings. I've never heard anything that the man sang or recorded that was not interesting, or did not illuminate some reason why the piece was written in the first place. And I think it's going to take several years, and maybe even generations, to actually digest what this single human being did over a 50-year career and an 80-some year-old life."
The influence of Fischer-Dieskau is very much in evidence in Notturno, Hampson's recently released CD of Richard Strauss lieder on DG. Partnered by German pianist Wolfram Rieger, they offer what amounts to an overview of the Bavarian master's song oeuvre, ranging from the op. 10 "Zueignung" and "Die Nacht" (1885) to the op. 87 "Im Sonnenschein" (1929). Like his mentor, Hampson's high baritone voice has more than a hint of the heldentenor he might have been.
Thomas Hampson - Notturno is WCPE - Wake Forest 'CD Of the Month'- Review from Bob Chapman, Host of "WCPE Opera House"