Sunday, August 4, 2013

Thomas Hampson Defends Opera on BBC News HARDTalk Program

Interviewer Sarah Montague sets out to skewer Thomas Hampson as if he were the nearest Capulet in a 100 mile radius. As she stretches the boundaries of HARDTalk to border on ATTACK-with-random-surveys-and-loose-facts, she manages to coax the baritone into one of his best roles to date: extraordinarily intelligent wordsmith. Here we have a opera singer who has not only a complete mastery of the English language, but knows how to calmly engage in oral debate. He seems a bit surprised at some of the questions (or perhaps it was just the tone of the delivery he was reacting to....), so it seems he wasn't warned in advance to prepare talking points.
Opera is an expensive art form that requires high ticket prices, but one only has to cite that a ticket for Beyoncé's current tour costs $285.00 US. Not so cheap. And when the interviewer brings up the size of opera singers today, why not just reference wonderful artists like Adele, Queen Latifah, or even Mama Cass (may she rest in peace...)? An audience cares about one thing: being moved by the performer interpreting great music. When one reads the description posted with this video clip on YouTube, the last sentence stands out: "...could one of the most elite and expensive art forms have worldwide appeal?" Someone should let the BBC know that opera is already seen worldwide, and in some cases with great appeal. 
The interview took place during the most recent run of Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Purchase the latest recording on Decca, featuring Thomas Hampson, due out September 16, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,

    You may like to know that I wrote a letter to the BBC after watching this. I posted it on my Facebook page and it went viral. Read it at

    The BBC's response, and my thoughts and reply, are on my blog at