Friday, February 17, 2006

Singer Thomas Hampson On New Metropolitan Operas In Which He Might Like To Star

"Thomas Hampson: My feeling about poetry and music is that it's a manifestation of the imagination. It's difficult to visualize a concept of any song, but it means you're telling people what to think. I just want to keep my hands off of people's imagination.

Robert Hilferty: What if you are in opera by a director whose concept you have serious issues with?

Hampson: I will not sign a contract unless I know exactly who's conducting first, exactly who's directing, and exactly what they want to do with the piece.

Hilferty: But have you ever been surprised after signing?

Hampson: Yes. ``Don Giovanni'' in Salzburg bothered me a great deal. The director and I locked horns. He made compromises, I made compromises. There are still things in that production I simply don't agree with, and I'm singing it again this summer.

Elmer Gantry

Hilferty: You love movies. Is there one you think would make for a great opera?

Hampson: I always thought "Elmer Gantry" was one of the iconic figures of American psychology in which you could explore so many dilemmas of our strange collective cultural consciousness. Burt Lancaster played the title role.

Hilferty: He was also the title role of Luchino Visconti's "The Leopard."

Hampson: Now, that would make a great opera. ..."

Robert Hilferty "Thomas Hampson Talks About Cowboy Songs, Cole Porter, War Anthems" February 17, 2006.

Claudia Cardinale and Burt Lancaster in Giuseppe di Lampedusa's international bestseller "The Leopard", directed by Luchino Visconti. ("The Leopard" was published in 1958 and filmed in 1963).

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