Met Guild Honors Mastersinger Thomas Hampson
The Metropolitan Opera Guild honors Thomas Hampson, one of today's foremost singers, with a new installment in its "Mastersingers" series. "Met Mastersingers: Thomas Hampson" takes place on March 22, 2012 at New York City's Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, and it presents the great American baritone – who makes his company role debut as Verdi's Macbeth at the Met on March 15 – in an informal conversation with Paul Gruber, the Guild's Executive Director of Program Development. The evening program will include video excerpts of Hampson's most celebrated performances, a new video biography created for the occasion, and the honoree performing some of his favorite songs. Details follow below.
Hampson comments: "Having had the greatest privilege co-hosting the Opera News Awards, and the pride of winning an Opera News Award myself, I know firsthand the wonderful events the Metropolitan Opera Guild presents to celebrate our art-form and sustain its celebrated education programs. I am deeply honored to join the company of the previous honorees given the distinction of Met Mastersinger."
"Met Mastersingers: Thomas Hampson" is the third installment in a series that began in February 2010 with an event honoring soprano Renée Fleming. Last fall, the German bass René Pape was celebrated. Gruber has had conversations with a "who's who" of great artists at many Guild events over the years, including such luminaries as Teresa Stratas, Renata Scotto, Roberta Peters and James Levine, and he looks forward to speaking next with a singer who is as renowned for his work as a concert artist and song recitalist as he is for his operatic mastery. Gruber observes:
"I have enormous admiration and respect for Thomas Hampson, and am delighted that the Guild will celebrate him as this year's 'Met Mastersinger.' In addition to having perhaps the most beautiful baritone voice of his generation, he has never rested in his quest to expand his musical horizons, as well as those of his audience. Thomas Hampson is the very definition of a mastersinger."
About Thomas Hampson
The American baritone Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as a recitalist, opera singer, and recording artist, and maintains an active interest in teaching, research, and technology. He has performed in the world's most important concert halls and opera houses with many of today's most renowned singers, pianists, conductors, and orchestras. He is one of the most important interpreters of German romantic song and with his celebrated "Song of America" project has become the "ambassador" of American song. Hampson began his 2011-12 season at the San Francisco Opera, where he created the central role in the world-premiere production of Christopher Theofanidis's Heart of a Soldier, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Other operatic engagements this season include role debuts as Iago in Verdi's Otello and the title role in Hindemith's Mathis der Maler, both at the Zurich Opera, and his house debut as Verdi's Macbeth at New York's Metropolitan Opera.
Among other season highlights for Hampson are the opening-night gala concert of the National Symphony Orchestra with Christoph Eschenbach, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Munich Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, Brahms's Requiem and Dvorák's Biblical Songs with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck, and "Song of America" recitals in New York and Cologne. Last month marked the first airing of the "Song of America" radio series, co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago. Hosted by Hampson, the series consists of 13 one-hour programs exploring the history of American culture through song, bringing the "Song of America" project to a national audience of radio listeners.
The Metropolitan Opera Guild at a glance
For more than 75 years, the Metropolitan Opera Guild has provided substantial support to the Met, and has greatly enhanced the public's appreciation of opera in general. Since its founding by the pioneering philanthropist Eleanor Robson Belmont in 1935, the Guild has contributed more than $245 million to the Met. The organization has one of the country's most innovative and far-reaching music education programs, which impacts more than 1,800 schools and communities. In August 2010, the Guild received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's "Arts-in-Education" Model Development and Dissemination Program for its Comprehensive Opera-Based Arts Learning and Teaching (COBALT) project.