Hannigan “spellbinding” “stunning” “mesmerising” as Agnès


Barbara returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden this month to sing the role of Agnès, which she created and has subsequently performed in major cities throughout Europe and North America. George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s Written on Skin is one of the most successful new operas of recent times. Since its premiere at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2012 the opera has been performed worldwide in numerous productions, to widespread acclaim.

Reviews from the London reprise of Written on Skin

The Guardian, Tim Ashley, 15 January 2017
(4 out of 5 stars)

“Barbara Hannigan, for whom Agnès was written, was spellbinding on opening night”

Seen and Heard International, 15 January 2017

“The most sheerly luscious performance of the evening is Hannigan’s Agnès, multifaceted and intensely human, her pitching simply stunning, as was her sense of lyricism.”

Financial Times, Hannah Nepil, 16 January 2017

“Barbara Hannigan is as bewitching as ever as Agnès”

The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, 14 January 2017
(5 out of 5 stars)

Written on Skin is one of the operatic masterpieces of our time”
“Barbara Hannigan is phenomenally good as Agnès, singing with exquisitely true intonation and lucidity”

Bachtrack, David Karlin, 14 January 2017
(4 out of 5 stars)

“And these are exceptional singers. Barbara Hannigan has been the prime performer of Agnès since Written on Skin’s première and she inhabits the role completely – it’s a textbook demonstration of how a soprano can both physically throw herself around on stage and throw her voice at a role. When Hannigan ratchets up the tension levels, everyone in the house knows it; when she hits and develops a high note, she generates excitement, motion and extraordinary beauty.”

The Upcoming, Alexandra Newson, 14 January 2017
(4 out of 5 stars)

“Reprising her role as Agnès, the mesmerising and pitch-perfect Barbara Hannigan brings a remarkable emotional range to the part. Dominated by her husband (Christopher Purves), the egotistical and brutish Protector, she rails against his efforts to treat her like a child. Hesitant at first, by the final act we see that by unleashing her sexuality Agnès has gained the upper hand in their power struggle – even if it comes at a terrible price. Hannigan is also an impressive physical performer and her final dreamlike sequence creates an unforgettable image.”

photo credit: Stephen Cummikey / ROH