Cheers to TQ, now a retired bass-baritone
The news traveled swiftly today—from a story in the New York Times, to a blog by Norman Lebrecht, a call from David Stabler, then via email and Facebook—that Thomas Quasthoff has decided to say farewell to the concert stage, ending his performance career.
All of us at the OBF, and certainly audiences in Eugene, have fond memories of a singer who made his American debut here in 1995 as an unknown, amazing us as a soloist in the St. John Passion, Mozart Requiem, Dvorak Stabat Mater, and the Britten War Requiem—all in a two-week period.
He returned five more years, in such memorable nights as Beall Hall recitals of Schubert and Schumann, Penderecki’s Credo in 1998, his jazzy night of Sinatra songs with Jeff Kahane and Rick Todd in 2000, and our gala 40th anniversary year in 2010, jamming with Bobby McFerrin, singing Die Schone Mullerin in Silva Hall, and performing a fiery interpretation of Elijah to conclude that year’s OBF.
“Of course it’s a sad moment to accept that Thomas will never again perform in the Festival,” John Evans, our executive director said today. “However, it’s also a time to consider ourselves blessed to have heard such a wonderful artist, so many times over the years, and to have him as a member of our festival family. We wish him the very best.”
In the press release, Thomas says, “After almost 40 years, I have decided to retire from concert life. My health no longer allows me to live up to the high standard that I have always set for my art and myself. I owe a lot to this wonderful profession and leave without a trace of bitterness. On the contrary, I am looking forward to the new challenges that will now enter my life. I would like to thank all my fellow musicians and colleagues, with whom I stood together on stage, all the organizers, and my audience for their loyalty.”
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