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Hannigan is an exception, one of the few heroes who prevent a lightning bolt from shattering the crumbling "classical music business": a singer blessed with an amazing soprano voice and full artistic incorruptibility, devoted with equal intensity to baroque and modern music.
Berliner Zeitung

  Biography written by PAUL GRIFFITHS
January 2014
Not to be altered without permission
The soprano Barbara Hannigan is an artist who combines thrilling passion with exceptional technique. Blessed with a voice at once pure and hot, she has arrived, through challenging and diverse repertory choices, at a point of complete control, intensity and versatility. She also possesses a vital stage presence, whether in opera or on the concert platform. Much sought after in contemporary music - she has given over 80 world premières - she is no less brilliant and devoted a performer of Baroque and Classical music. Bringing freshness to older music and authority to new, she is among the very few singers whose every performance is an occasion.

Recent highlights in the 2013/2014 season have included several awards and residencies. Her recording of Dutilleux's ‘Correspondances’ for Deutsche Gramophone with Esa Pekka Salonen and l'Orchestre National de Radio France won the Gramophone Award for best contemporary recording of 2013 and the Victoires de la Musique Classique 2014 award for best recording. She was named "Singer of the Year" by Opernwelt and "Musical Personality of the Year" by the Syndicate of the French Press. In the 2013/2014 season she is artist in residence at the NTR ZaterdagMatinee of Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and this summer will be Artiste Etoile at the Luzern Festival. George Benjamin's opera ‘Written on Skin’ has been released both for CD (Nimbus) and DVD (Opus Arte), as has Ligeti’s ‘Le Grand Macabre’ (Arthaus Musik).

A frequent guest of the Berlin Philharmonic, she most recently premiered Hans Abrahamsen's ‘let me tell you’, for soprano and orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons, to text from Paul Griffiths book of the same name. Also with the Berlin Philharmonic, she sang the title role in Stravinsky’s opera ‘Le Rossignol’ conducted by Pierre Boulez, and has performed other works of Stravinsky, as well as pieces by Dutilleux, Webern, Berg, and Ligeti, with the orchestra under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. She has also performed with most of the other leading orchestras and ensembles on both sides of the Atlantic, and with conductors including Reinbert de Leeuw, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Alan Gilbert, Jonathan Nott, Susanna Mälkki, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Ingo Metzmacher, Pablo Heras-Casado, Thomas Adès, Peter Oundjian, Oliver Knussen, John Storgårds, Michael Gielen and Peter Eötvös. She made her conducting debut at the Châtelet in Paris, with Stravinsky's ‘Renard’ and has gone on to conduct Gothenburg Symphony, the WDR Symphony Orchestra, Prague Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, L'Accademmia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon.

As a performer of Ligeti’s music she has received much acclaim, not least from the composer himself. ‘Mysteries of the Macabre’, a tour de force for soprano and orchestra, has become a signature work, which she has sung - and sometimes also conducted - at Lincoln Center, the Berlin Philharmonie, the Châtelet, Salzburg, Disney Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Konzerthaus in Vienna and elsewhere across three continents. She has also appeared widely in ‘Aventures’ and ‘Nouvelles Aventures’, and in the Ligeti ‘Requiem’. She made her debut at the Monnaie in 2009 as both Gepopo and Venus in the Fura dels Baus production of ‘Le Grand Macabre’, reprising the production at Barcelona's Liceu, and sang Gepopo in the recent New York Philharmonic staged production, directed by Dougas Fitch.

Dutilleux’s ‘Correspondances’ is another beloved piece, which she has sung over 30 times with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic (Rattle), the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra (de Leeuw), the Oslo Philharmonic (Saraste), the CBSO (Oramo) at the 2005 BBC Proms, the Helsinki Philharmonic (Salonen), the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (van Zweden), the Orchestre National de France (Masur), the Toronto Symphony (Oundjian) and at the Palais Garnier with the Paris Opera Orchestra (Knussen).

On the operatic stage, she recently created the role of Agnes for the world première and award-winning production of George Benjamin's ‘Written on Skin’ at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, with further performances at Covent Garden in London, the Opera Comique in Paris, Vienna's Theater an der Wien, l'Opera de Toulouse and at the Bayerischen Staatsoper in Munich. Other operatic world premieres include Pascal Dusapin’s ‘Passion’ (Lei), at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the title role in Hosokawa's ‘Matsukaze’ at La Monnaie, Louis Andriessen’s ‘Writing to Vermeer’ (Saskia) for the Netherlands Opera, Barry's ‘The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant’ (Gabrielle) for English National Opera. For her Barry also composed ‘La Plus Forte’, a complete setting for soprano and orchestra of the Strindberg play, which had its première in Paris in 2006, and which she sang most recently with the London Symphony Orchestra. Her appearances as a dancer/singer with the Sasha Waltz company, requiring physical as well as vocal agility and expressive potency, made an extraordinary impression. Her debut as Berg's ‘Lulu’ in La Monnaie's new production of Berg's masterpiece, directed by Warlikowski, garnered an extraordinary response from audiences and critics alike. Upcoming roles include Donna Anna, Melisande, Marie (Die Soldaten), and La Voix Humaine.

Born and brought up in Canada, she received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Mary Morrison. As a student she quickly developed a zest for new music, and learned, she has said, from the composers with whom she worked. She continued her vocal studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with Meinard Kraak, and privately with Neil Semer. She studies conducting with Jorma Panula.

It is her great privilege to have worked with composers including not only those already mentioned - Ligeti, Dutilleux, Benjamin, Dusapin, Abrahamsen, Andriessen, Barry, Hosokowa and others - but also Luca Francesconi, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Peter Eötvös and Oliver Knussen. Upcoming world premieres include new works written especially for her and orchestra by Gerald Barry, Peter Eötvös, Magnus Lindberg, Unsuk Chin and Salvatore Sciarrino.

Biography written by PAUL GRIFFITHS
January 2014.
Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material
Barbara Hannigan is represented by HarrisonParrott.





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