As Benjamin Britten’s 100th birthday approaches — he was born on November 22, 1913 — NPR Music is marking the occasion by offering free streaming of Warner Classics’ soon-to-be-issued new recording of the composer’s “War Requiem.” An undisputed 20th-century masterpiece, the work is a harrowing anti-war statement that never loses its visceral and emotional impact. Thomas Hampson is joined on the recording by soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Ian Bostridge, with Antonio Pappano conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of the Academia Nazionalle di Santa Cecilia. NPR calls it, “A stunning performance…[that] makes clear just how much Britten’s music continues to mean to audiences and artists alike.” Streaming is available here: http://n.pr/1eDSoME
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November sees Thomas Hampson – a recent inductee into the Gramophone Hall of Fame – return to Lyric Opera of Chicago to help celebrate the Wagner bicentennial, singing Amfortas in the company’s new production of Parsifal (Nov 9–29). Wagner’s conflicted ruler is one of the baritone’s signature roles, and earlier this month he joined Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony for a concert rendition of the opera’s final act. The results, according to the Washington Times, were a “revelation.” Awarding the concert full marks, the review singled out Hampson’s performance as “genuinely electrifying, yet moving at the same time.” Similarly, while impressed by the concert as a whole, the Washington Post nonetheless felt that “it was Thomas Hampson’s Amfortas who showed everyone how it is done. … He effectively carried the end of the evening.” The Washington Times spoke for many in concluding: “We can confidently assure Lyric Opera patrons that their Amfortas will not disappoint.”
In celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centennial, Thomas Hampson can be heard alongside Anna Netrebko and Ian Bostridge in a new recording of the composer’s War Requiem. Available on Warner Classics, the album pays tribute to a key figure and landmark work of the 20th century. The soloists are joined by the Orchestra and Chorus of the Academia Nazionalle di Santa Cecilia under the baton of their Music Director Antonio Pappano. This recording of the work — a full-length setting of the Requiem Mass interspersed with the poetry of Wilfred Owen and traditional Latin texts — reprises the same ensemble’s acclaimed account of the piece at the 2013 Salzburg Festival. The two-CD set is available here.
For his first US performances of the new season, Thomas Hampson returns to a Wagner role that he is closely associated with: Amfortas, the wounded ruler of the Grail kingdom in Parsifal. Hampson joins Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra for a concert version of the opera’s transcendent final act at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (Oct 10–12). Soon after, he performs the role in its entirety at Lyric Opera of Chicago, which is staging Wagner’s final masterpiece in a new production directed by John Caird and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis (Nov 9 – 29). Last season at Lyric, Hampson sang the title role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra to great acclaim. He recently sang the role at London’s Royal Opera House and at the Vienna State Opera, and can be heard singing it on a new recording from the Decca label.
The new season sees Thomas Hampson – “America’s foremost baritone” (International Herald Tribune) – return to the world’s greatest opera houses and festivals, including London’s Royal Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where he will make his role debut as the eponymous antihero of Berg’s Wozzeck. Equally active on the concert stage, Hampson looks forward to collaborations with such top international orchestras as Washington’s National Symphony, the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, which he will join for a twelve-stop European tour. Having been hailed as “an artist fully in control of a remarkable instrument” (Los Angeles Times), the baritone will take his celebrated lieder recitals to London’s Wigmore Hall, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and to Coburg, Heidelberg, Brussels, and Berne. In the wake of his recent induction into the Gramophone Hall of Fame, the baritone’s star turn in the title role of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra – recorded live at the Vienna Konzerthaus – is due for September release on the Decca label.