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Bearing in mind how difficult it was for Donald Trump to find anyone prepared to sing at his inauguration (he was turned down even by Andrea Bocelli), it’s inconceivable that his advisers weren’t out chasing the standard, all- American operatic A-List. Somewhere at the top of that list, and no stranger to performing at the White House, would have been Thomas Hampson. For the past 30 years, Hampson has been the emblematic, go-to lyric baritone of North America and something of a poster-boy (though at the age of 61 he qualifies as ‘man’) for serious singing in the New World.

Handsome, smooth, sophisticated, intellectually sharp and politically astute, he’s what anyone would want to lend their presidential gig the necessary style and gravitas. So when we met to talk (and Hampson certainly can talk) at Covent Garden during his pre-Christmas run of all the villains in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann, there were two questions I couldn’t resist. Had he been approached? And what would his response be?

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About Opera Now

Baritone Thomas Hampson discusses his influential role as ambassador for opera and the art of singing; composer John Adams on turning 70 and his new opera about the California Gold Rush; Grange Park Opera gets ready for its relaunch at Britain's newest opera house; and the indomitable prowess of the great American soprano Leontyne Price. Plus, introducing a new opera inspired by Pink Floyd's The Wall; movement and pictures in the stagings of Japanese-born director Anna Etsuko Tsuri; the revelations of Dame Felicity Lott; American opera in the age of Trump; a weekend in Boston; and our pick of the best new works coming up stateside.

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Opera has played a central role in John Adams’ growth as an artist, ever since Nixon in China burst onto the scene in 1987, heralding a new era for the art form, full of contemporary vigour and courting its fair share of controversy. As Adams celebrates his 70th birthday this month, Thomas May looks back at the composer’s legacy and offers a glimpse into his new work, The Girls of the Golden West
American soprano Leontyne Price celebrates her 90th birthday on 10 February. Leonine by name and by nature, she was an indomitable force whose regally assured vocal qualities won over audiences and critics on the recital platform and on record. Why, then, did some critics feel that she was never quite at ease on the operatic stage?
Pink Floyd’s best-selling album The Wall embodies the sense of anxiety and alienation of a generation in the 1980s, exploring the uneasy relationship between the individual and society. Now, band leader Roger Waters has sanctioned his work’s transformation into an opera, soon to be premiered as part of the 375th anniversary celebrations of Montreal, the city where the idea for the album first took hold
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