When did you start singing?
In the crib. Apparently, I was a very vocal baby … no seriously, I already sang as a child.
Why did you start singing?
I loved tunes and music always made sense to me.
Which singer inspired you most when you were young?
Which singer do you most admire?
Giuseppe de Luca for pure vocalism and Tito Gobbi for why one sings.
What’s your favourite role?
What role have you never played but would have liked to?
I would like to sing Falstaff.
What’s your favourite opera to watch?
Who is your favourite composer?
Who is your favourite writer?
Who is your favourite theatre or film director?
Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle & Kenneth Branagh.
Who is your favourite actor?
Who is your favourite dancer?
What is your favourite book?
Ideas: A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud, by Peter Watson.
What is your favourite film?
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Steve Martin & Michael Caine
Which is your favourite city?
What do you like most about yourself?
What do you dislike about yourself?
When and where were you happiest?
When my son invited me to play a round of golf on the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My wife Andrea, our kids and grandkids.
What is your greatest fear?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to speak better Italian.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having been able to turn my passion into my profession.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your greatest extravagance?
My collection of panda memorabilia.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
“The tempo is perfect, Maestro.”
If you hadn’t been a singer what would you have liked to be?
What is your most marked characteristic?
That I can never give short answers.
What quality do you most value in a friend?
An open mind.
What quality do you most value in a colleague?
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Which living person do you most admire?
Unites States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
What do you most dislike?
Incompetence, arrogance, unfriendliness, disrespect, discrimination and fundamentalism… shall I go on?
What talent would you most like to have?
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Sipping a Campari Soda overlooking the Aegean Sea surrounded by my family and the dogs, it’s 26 degrees outside, I just finished a game of golf and my library is in the next room…
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?
Fortune favors the prepared mind.
Thomas Hampson – a biography
Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, hails from Spokane, Washington. He 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. Hampson, who was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s 2013 “Hall of Fame,” has won worldwide recognition for thoughtfully researched and creatively constructed programs as well as recordings that explore the rich repertoire of song in a wide range of styles, languages and periods. He recently added a new album to his Deutsche Grammophon discography titled Notturno, featuring a curated selection of songs by Richard Strauss. The disc also highlights the talents of Mr. Hampson’s longtime pianist and collaborator Wolfram Rieger.
On the opera stage during the 2016-17 season, Hampson made his role debut as the Four Villains in Offenbach´s Les Contes d’Hoffmann at the Royal Oper House Covent Garden in London. In January 2017 he returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper singing Roald Amundsen in Miroslav Srnka’s South Pole. The opera will be conducted by Kirill Petrenko and is based on the fateful 1910 race to the South Pole. Hampson will then star in Tosca, conducted by none other than Plácido Domingo, at the Vienna State Opera. At the MET in New York he will be performing in La Traviata alongside Sonya Yoncheva and a production of Don Giovanni will bring him to La Scala in Milan.
Highlights of Mr. Hampson’s concert engagements in 2017 include a New Year’s Gala “No Tenors Allowed” with Luca Pisaroni in Istanbul, as well as several Gala performances in Hamburg, New York, Milan, Vienna, Munich and Dusseldorf. Recitals will bring Hampson to Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Vienna Musikverein, the Munich Opera and La Scala in Milan. He will give masterclasses in Heidelberg and Verbier in the spring and summer. Further, he will perform Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder in Madrid under David Afkham and under Christoph Eschenbach at the Enescu Festival.
Through the Hampsong Foundation which he founded in 2003 he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding. Projects include his celebrated “Song of America” project, and the “Song: Mirror of the World” radio series. A passionate educator, Hampson will return for master classes at both the Manhattan School of Music’s Distance Learning Program and the Heidelberger Frühling’s Lied Academy, of which he is the co-founder and Artistic Director.
He 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 was made honorary professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, as well as 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.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.