Tickets & Events

Song of America: Beyond Liberty

Tanglewood

Seiji Ozawa Hall - Lenox, MA View Map

Beloved American baritone Thomas Hampson opens the American Songbook to explore the influential people and monumental events that helped create and define “the land of the free.” Guiding the audience through centuries of stories, Mr. Hampson will share personal anecdotes and readings, offering a rich context within which to celebrate America’s history of song.

Featured Performers

Thomas Hampson, baritone
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Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles sung in all the major theaters of the world, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, 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-ever Artist-in-Residence. In 2010, he was honoured with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Furthermore, he has received the famed Concertgebouw Prize.

Hampson was made honorary professor on the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg, and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Wiener Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honour in Arts and Sciences. In 2017, Thomas Hampson received the Hugo Wolf Medal from the International Hugo Wolf Academy, together with his long-time musical collaborator, pianist Wolfram Rieger. The award recognizes their outstanding achievements in the art of song interpretation.

Notable engagements for his 2018/19 season include Thomas Hampson's highly anticipated debut at the Canadian Opera Company, singing the title role in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian, as well as his debut at Houston Grand Opera as the famed librettist Lorenzo da Ponte in the world premiere of Tarik O’Regan’s The Phoenix. Other noteworthy engagements include performances as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Wiener Staatsoper, and his return to Teatro alla Scala as Altair in Strauss’ Die ägyptische Helena.

Thomas Hampson’s concert appearances this season include performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, and a tour with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He will share the stage with his son-in-law, bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni, for their “No Tenors Allowed” program in Boston, Toronto, and Santa Fe. 

The 2018/19 season also marks the exciting launch of Thomas Hampson’s “Song of America: Beyond Liberty” concert tour. Mr. Hampson will guide audiences through centuries of stories using personal anecdotes, historical monologues, and readings of his favorite poetry, to celebrate America’s history through song. The project, developed with stage director Francesca Zambello and writer Royce Vavrek, premiered at the Glimmerglass Festival and will share the rich history of the people and events that helped create and define “the land of the free” with audiences, students, and educators across the US and beyond.

During his 2017/18 season, Thomas returned to the Opéra National de Paris in one of his signature roles, Count Danilo in Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe. He also sang the title role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the Wiener Staatsoper, and Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca at the Bayerische Staatsoper. A highlight of his concert schedule was his debut tour through Australia, where he was critically acclaimed as “a singer of exceptional artistry...[it’s] easy to understand why he was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein” (J-Wire) and he was regarded as “The George Clooney of opera” (Sydney Morning Herald).

Thomas Hampson 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. Through the Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.

 

Thomas Hampson, baritone Lara Downes, piano
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Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, an iconoclast dedicated to expanding the resonance and relevance of live music for diverse audiences.A trailblazer on and off-stage, she follows a musical roadmap that seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory. 

Downes’ playing has been called “ravishing” by Fanfare Magazine, "luscious, moody and dreamy” by The New York Times, and "addicting" by The Huffington Post. As a chart-topping recording artist, a powerfully charismatic performer, a curator and taste-maker, Downes is recognized as a cultural visionary on the national arts scene.

Lara's forays into the broad landscape of American music have created a series of acclaimed recordings, including America Again, selected by NPR as one of "10 Albums that Saved 2016", and hailed as "a balm for a country riven by disunion" by the Boston Globe. Her recent Sony Classical debut release For Lenny debuted in the Billboard Top 20 and was awarded the 2017 Classical Recording Foundation Award.

Her newest album, Holes in the Sky, a genre-fluid collection of music written and performed by today's leading female artists in celebration of the contributions of phenomenal women to the past, present, and future of American music, comes out in March 2019 on the Sony Masterworks label,

Downes enjoys creative collaborations with a range of leading artists, including folk icon Judy Collins, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, baritone Thomas Hampson, former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove, and multi-instrumentalist/composer/singer Rhiannon Giddens. Her close partnerships with prominent composers span genres and generations, with premieres and commissions coming from Jennifer Higdon, John Corigliano, Stephen Schwartz, Paola Prestini, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and many others. Downes’ fierce commitment to arts advocacy, mentorship and education sees her working in support of non-profit organizations including the Time In Children’s Arts Initiative, PLAN International, the Sphinx Organization, Women’s Empowerment, Washington Performing Arts, and NPR’s From The Top, where she will appear as a featured guest host in Spring 2019. 

Ms. Downes is represented worldwide by Cadenza Artists and is a member of the Yamaha Artist Roster.

 

Lara Downes, piano
The Beyond Liberty Players The Beyond Liberty Players