“No living opera singer has done more for the cause of American song than Thomas Hampson.
The Elkhart-born baritone has recorded extensive homegrown repertoire from Stephen Foster to Charles Ives and Leonard Bernstein. He has collaborated with the Library of Congress in his “Song of America” project, later partnering with WFMT in a radio series of the same name exploring American culture through our nation’s rich song heritage.
Perhaps most importantly he has continued to perform new music. Tuesday night at Ravinia, Hampson presented the Midwest premiere of Civil Words, a new song cycle written for him by Jennifer Higdon. Looking trim, tan and relaxed, Hampson–who turned 60 last month–showed why he remains one of our finest interpreters of German lied and American song . . . with characteristic dramatic strength, emotional depth and unassailable artistry. Pianist Kevin Murphy was an equally sensitive and committed keyboard partner throughout.