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Born in Indiana in 1955, Hampson trained on the Merola Opera Program, with early successes including the Lotte Lehmann Award and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He began his career in Düsseldorf and Zürich, where he attracted international attention in Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s Mozart/Da Ponte cycle (directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle); his Metropolitan Opera debut as Mozart’s Count followed in 1986, and in the last 1980s recorded three Mahler song-cycles with Leonard Bernstein which confirmed his reputation as one of the great baritones of the late twentieth century.
Mozart, Mahler and American song have remained constants throughout his long career, but in recent years Hampson has branched out into more dramatic repertoire, including Amfortas in Parsifal, Scarpia in Tosca, and Verdi’s Macbeth, Ford, Simon Boccanegra, Iago and Germont. His son-in-law is the Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, with whom he frequently performs in recital and opera: the two appear as master and servant on Yannick Nézet-Séguin's 2016 recording of Le nozze di Figaro for Deutsche Grammophon.
Further Reading: Thomas Hampson
Katherine talks to the American baritone about his new disc of arrangements of lieder by Brahms, Schubert and Wolf.
Katherine listens to 'Tides of Life', featuring a selection of Romantic Lieder in beautiful new string arrangements.