Thomas Hampson’s impassioned defense of classical music

Posted on: August 9, 2013

“With an interview show named HARDtalk I suppose the host might be expected to come out swinging. And recently the BBC’s Sarah Montague did not disappoint. She wastes no time …trying to pummel her opponent. But her adversary is no disgraced politician. No hedge funder accused of insider trading. He is … an opera singer,” writes Tom Huizenga on Tuesday’s (8/6) NPR Classical’s blog Deceptive Cadence. “Thomas Hampson … the celebrated baritone … deflects Montague’s punches thoughtfully by staying calm and working his point that opera and classical music are still important today.… With furrowed brow, [Montague] stares into the camera dramatically and asks, ‘Could one of the most elite and expensive art forms have worldwide appeal?’… ‘Absolutely,’ the baritone smoothly counterpunches. Opera, he explains, comes from a deep desire to tell a story of how people interact with themselves.… Opinions about Montague’s performance are running sharp on YouTube. Some are calling her ‘absurd.’ A few say she is just doing her job.… Hampson lands a few impassioned points about the perceived barriers between his world and pop culture. ‘The impetus of a magnificent song, whether it’s the Beatles or Mozart, comes from the same place of the heart and mind. This living thing says, ‘I want to express what I feel or what I remember about being alive at this moment.’ To me the contexts of different kinds of music and historical perspectives are prisms. It’s one river, many wells.’ ”

Posted August 9, 2013