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TREADING NEW GROUND

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Renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson
shows a new side in Munich.
TESS CREBBIN investigates ...

 

The celebrated American baritone Thomas Hampson was treading new ground this week in Munich, Germany. For the first time, Vienna-based Hampson was not only singing but also hosting a major European music event when he led audiences through the traditional annual Easter Concert of the ARD at the Prinzregententheater in Munich on 12 April 2004.

The ARD is one of Germany's largest public television channels and its tradition is to put on a lavish annual Easter concert with live broadcast, for which some of the most renowned names in classical music have been appearing in the past. The idea of the concert, originally conceived by Lorin Maazel and his German wife, actress Dietlinde Turban, is to bring classical music closer to a wide audience.

Under the direction of its Lettland-born conductor Mariss Jansons, the Symphony Orchestra of the ARD's local channel, Bayerischer Rundfunk, this time performed various classical pieces related to dance.

Mariss Jansons and the Akademie des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Photo © 2001 Bayerischer Rundfunk, all rights reserved.
Mariss Jansons and the Akademie des Symphonieorchesters des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Photo © 2001 Bayerischer Rundfunk, all rights reserved.

'For this, we wanted to play classical music pieces that are related to dance and also include some dance performances,' said one of the organizers. 'That way, the public could really enjoy excerpts of the best we have to offer in the field of classical music.'

American-born choreographer John Neumeier, of the Hamburg State Ballet, was also in attendance and has contributed two choreographed pieces to the sold-out event. Dvorák's Slavic Dance was performed by two soloists from Neumeier's State Ballet in Hamburg, one of which is the American dancer Elisabeth Loscavio, formerly of the San Francisco Ballet Company.

Host Thomas Hampson, aside from leading through the event, performed Mahler's 'Rheinlegendlichen' from Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Korngold's Mein Sehnen, Mein Wähnen. His presence in Munich attracted the attention of the national and international press who were crowding to the rehearsals.

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Copyright © 18 April 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany

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