Thomas Hampson

American baritone (1955, Elkhart, Indiana)

Comfortable in the lied repertoire as well as with the opera genre, Thomas Hampson climbed to the top and became a reputed soloist worldwide, thanks to his Mozart roles.

After political studies at the University of Washington, Thomas Hampson turned to singing rather late, he was 23, after he had met Marietta Coyle, a previous student of Lotte Lehmann. Afterwards, he studied during two summers with Horst Günther and Martial Singher at the Music Academy of the West before leaving for Europe in 1980. He was hired very quickly by the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf where he would sing for three years.

In 1984, he was hired at the Zürich Opera House where he participated to the "Mozart Cycle" managed by the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and staging director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, among other projects. He made his debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera two years later in _The Marriage of Figaro_in which he played the part of The Count. With the most recent production, he would leave for a tour in Japan and paid a remarkable visit to the Salzburg Festival.

Over the musical seasons, Thomas Hampson has been regularly invited in operas, like in Vienna, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin and Zurich. On those prestigious stages, he has been playing many roles, including great Mozart and Rossini roles. Among his best interpretations, let's name Don Giovanni of Mozart, Werther of Massenet, Hamlet of Ambroise Thomas, or Macbeth and Don Carlo of Verdi. Recital holds a special place in his career as does the contemporary music that he tames through pieces he creates, such as 6 Gedichte von Friedrich Nietzsche of Wolfgang Rihm or The Dangerous Liaisons of Conrad Susa.

Five landmark dates in the life of Thomas Hampson

1981: won the first prize of the New York Metropolitan Opera competition

1984: dedicated a big part of his stage performances Mahler's lieder

1988: first big role (Schaunard), besides Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti in La Bohème of Puccini conducted by Carlos Kleiber at the New York Metropolitan Opera

1999: received the title of Kammersänger at the Vienna State Opera.  

2003: founded the Hampson Foundation to promote the lyrical singing in the United States. This institutions owns a huge data base on American songs.

Radio France documentation biography, December 2015