Sunday, January 26, 2003

Classical music


Thompson is going for Baroque

[photo]



When he won first place in a major voice contest last year, tenor Jeffrey Thompson found himself in demand on the international music circuit.

The singer possesses the kind of high, light tenor voice that is prized by early music specialists - a field of music undergoing a Renaissance.

Shortly after the distinguished conductor William Christie heard him sing in the Concours de Chimay International de Chant Baroque held in Belgium last year, Mr. Thompson signed the tenor to sing in his Les Arts Florissants, a renowned early music ensemble known for its Baroque opera recordings.

It was William McGraw, Mr. Thompson's voice teacher at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, who suggested that his student sing the music of French Baroque opera composers, such as Rameau.

"The high pitch of his vocal instrument, and his uncanny understanding of early music styling made him the perfect candidate for the French Baroque," Mr. McGraw says.

"It fit me like a glove," the 24-year-old singer told the Boston Globe. "It just feels right. I can find any and every emotion in this music. I don't just sing it: I let my emotions fly. That sounds cheesy, but it's true."

It wasn't cheesy to Boston's Handel & Haydn Society, which convinced Mr. Thompson to leave CCM and move to Boston, where he would get more early music experience. He made his debut in Handel's Ariodante, directed by acclaimed maestro Christopher Hogwood.

This fall, he sang the tenor solos in their performances of Bach's B Minor Mass, as well as Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with the Boston Baroque. He also toured Europe with Les Arts Florissants and a new group of young singers called Les Jardins Des Voix (the Garden of Voices).

And he's going to be singing lots more Rameau. On Tuesday, Mr. Thompson packed up and moved to Paris, where he'll be covering for tenor Paul Agnew and singing in the chorus of Rameau's opera Les Boreades at the renowned Palais Garnier. Meanwhile, several prominent opera companies are lining up to hear him sing.

- Janelle Gelfand




ARTS PLAYERS, A YEAR LATER
Pop music: Bright blowing through third CD
Classical music: Bespalko keys on Bach and a baby
Theater: Phillips grabs two new roles
Visual art: Versoza has a one-man show
Theater: CCM's Gaylor on Broadway
Visual art: Show time for Buddendeck
Film: Morehart lands his 'dream job'
Classical music: Thompson is going for Baroque
Pop music: Venneman adds his voice to fine guitar

NEWS
National bands to play at Cammys
Get to It: A guide to help make your day

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Arts Notes: 'Moon Over Buffalo' is 'all worth it'
Film Notes: Two chances to see BBC biography about Kissinger
TV Notes: Jimmy Who? You laugh now ...

REVIEWS
Beethoven opera 'Fidelio' comes to life under Jarvi
'Triumph' falls short of a total success
'Beowulf' previews future for Festival

PEOPLE
DAUGHERTY: We know what game 'football' players play
Playful dachshund best of her collection
Family leaves nest, stays part of the network
Meet-and-eat sessions nibble at differences

TASTE
Best chili-cheese dip? It's Skyline
Serve it this week: Escarole
Celebrate Chinese New Year with food