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TESS CREBBIN explores the art of Thomas Hampson


As part of its 2004 summer musical festival the Vienna Music Society is going to run a special series called A map to our soul -- the art of Thomas Hampson.

The three-part series honours the Vienna-based American baritone's many achievements in the world of classical music because his performances 'make our souls visible and audible'. Hampson has made a name for himself not only as one of the world's best baritones but also as a researcher, writer, as supporter of new talent and DVD producer. His performances always have a certain show-effect since the singer is also known for his extraordinary talent as an actor, performer and speaker. This has made him known outside classical music circles because he has succeeded in making classical music interesting beyond the boundaries of the usual select audience, and to the broader masses. Hampson on stage has all the smooth charm of a Hollywood actor, something that is coupled with Hollywood actor looks and a very good voice. He knows how to engage his audience and could probably sell fridges to an Eskimo if he put his mind to it. 'Selling' the wonders of classical music to audiences like young people, people usually interested in pop music, or whoever else, is a piece of cake for the gifted performer. When Hampson comes to town people usually go lining up for tickets -- whether they normally go to classical concerts or not. As such, he is and remains one of the most important ambassadors for classical music.

Thomas Hampson. Photo © Jason Starr. Special thanks to Jason Starr
Thomas Hampson. Photo © Jason Starr. Special thanks to Jason Starr

'Hampson makes not just music, but art', states the Viennese Music Society who feel honoured to present the three part series of Hampson performances this summer. It is likely to be a lucrative engagement as well for one thing is always a guarantee when Hampson appears: a sold-out venue, with tickets usually gone several months in advance.

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Copyright © 27 May 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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