Press Room

Thomas Hampson: War Requiem, Thaïs, and Eugene Onegin

Thomas Hampson, who recently appeared in PBS’s broadcast of Carnegie
Hall’s opening night gala honoring the 90th birthday of Leonard
Bernstein, will sing Benjamin Britten’s searing War Requiem
on November 9 for Armistice Day, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of
the end of World War I. Hampson is well known for his performance of
the work and has recorded it with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt
Masur. This new performance, produced by the Royal Opera House Covent
Garden at the Royal Albert Hall, will coincidentally be given on the
70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” during
which thousands of Jewish businesses, dwellings, and places of worship
were destroyed or damaged by rioting Nazi SA members and participating
citizens, in 1938.

On a less somber note, the baritone
will co-host the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s Fourth Annual Opera News
Awards at New York’s Hotel Plaza on November 16, joining mezzo Susan
Graham at the dais and steering guests through the gala ceremony for
honorees John Adams, Natalie Dessay, Marilyn Horne, Renée Fleming, and
Sherrill Milnes.

Thomas Hampson has just been appointed
the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist in Residence, for next season
– Alan Gilbert’s first as Music Director. This one-year assignment will
include several performances with the orchestra, besides touring,
teaching, and having programming input.

A musical
scholar and dedicated champion of the art of the recital as well as of
American song, opera, and other musical genres, Thomas Hampson recently
received a lifetime achievement award from the association of German
record critics, the Deutsche Schallplatten. The citation covered his
entire discography, ranging from a variety of operas and songs in
German, French, Italian, Russian, and English, to Jerome Kern’s
immortal Show Boat and Bernstein’s On the Town.

Thomas Hampson will also appear on television screens across the U.S. over the coming year as one of the in-studio hosts of a Great Performances special on PBS, titled Domingo, Netrebko, & Villazón: Three Stars in Vienna.
Presented by Thirteen/WNET New York in high definition, the broadcast
is led by French conductor Bertrand de Billy, directing the Vienna
Radio Symphony Orchestra. The program begins airing on Thirteen/WNET in
New York on November 30 and later in other markets (check local

In recent seasons, Hampson’s visibility in
the United States has increased exponentially, in opera as well as in
concerts and recitals. He has sung at the Metropolitan Opera nearly
every season, and over the last three has performed as many role debuts
at the Met, including Wagner’s Amfortas in Parsifal, and Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and Don Carlo in Ernani. Having sung opposite Renée Fleming on opening night this season in one act of La traviata,
as the older Germont, Hampson – as the lovesick monk Athanaël – joins
the soprano on December 8 in a John Cox production of Massenet’s Thaïs,
which is new to the Met. The two received rave reviews in a production
of the opera at Lyric Opera of Chicago two seasons ago. Hampson was
singled out by the Chicago Tribune for a “distinguished performance from one of America’s best baritones”, and Britain’s Opera
magazine stated, “In his belated Lyric debut, the American baritone
didn’t put a sandal wrong, stealing the show, and investing Athanaël
with a dramatic weight, dignity, and credibility that carried the
opera.” There will be ten performances of this new Thaïs production (presented jointly with Lyric Opera of Chicago), ending on January 8, 2009.

On January 30, Hampson resumes the title role of Tchaikovsky’s tragic Pushkin-based Eugene Onegin opposite Karita Mattila’s Tatyana, for a run of seven performances, through February 21.

Thomas Hampson: Performance Calendar

Nov 9; Royal Albert Hall, London, England
Britten: War Requiem; Orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera House

Dec 8, 11, 17, 20, 23, 27, 30, Jan 2, 5, 8, 2009; New York, NY
Massenet: Thaïs (Athanaël); Metropolitan Opera / López-Cobos

Jan 30, Feb 2, 5, 9, 14, 18, 21; New York, NY
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin (title role); Metropolitan Opera / Belohlávek

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