La Passione: new album release with LUDWIG Orchestra


Barbara Hannigan releases her second album as soprano and conductor with Dutch orchestra LUDWIG, following on from Crazy Girl Crazy which won the 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal album.
La Passione, with works by Luigi Nono, Franz Joseph Haydn and Gérard Grisey, will be out on 20 March 2020. The first single and start of the pre-order period is on 24 February 2020.

La Passione juxtaposes works by Luigi Nono (1924-1990), Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and Gérard Grisey (1946-1998), offering a triptych of perspectives on death and transfiguration. The album opens with Nono’s powerful Djamila Boupacha for solo soprano, inspired by the young Algerian woman who became a symbol of the injustice leading to the French-Algerian war. Hannigan calls the work: “an homage to the courage of a voice. Since I began singing this aria over 10 years ago, it has become part of my exploration of the modern bel canto.”

The album continues with Haydn’s Symphony no. 49, with Hannigan conducting LUDWIG orchestra. The evocative work – later given the epithet La Passione, recalling the universal experience of loss and grieving – is tragic and theatrical in its very nature and considered by the Canadian artist as a journey of souls: the ones enduring on earth and the ones who have departed.

The recording concludes with Gérard Grisey’s striking meditation on death and the afterlife, Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil [Four Songs to Cross the Threshold], which Hannigan sings and conducts. She comments “Confused, tender, angry and curious, full of breath and rhythm, at the edge of technical virtuosity and discipline: these Four Songs for 15 instruments and soprano (let us say, 16 voices) demand everything of us.”

Barbara Hannigan continues: “I have been performing and exploring these works for many years and they have left deep imprints. The vocal writing of Luigi Nono’s Djamila Boupacha echoes the characteristically ‘sturm und drang’ Haydn Symphony no. 49, as well as the peaceful and lyrical moments within the Grisey.”

This season Barbara will perform works from the album throughout various concerts across Europe, notably with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with whom she begins her three-year artist in residence tenure from spring 2020, as well as with Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Munich Philharmonic. She also continues her tenure with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, with whom she is Principal Guest Conductor, and will conduct Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Munich Philharmonic with singers from her Equilibrium Young Artists mentoring initiative, which she founded in 2017 to support and develop young professional musicians in the first substantial phase of their careers. Works include Mozart Requiem and Stravinsky’s complete Pulcinella.

The release of the new album in spring 2020 coincides with a concentration of major events in Barbara’s calendar. In April 2020 she will receive Denmark’s highest musical honour, the Leonie Sonning prize, in recognition of her ground-breaking excellence in music. Previous winners include Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein, Miles Davis and Olivier Messiaen. In May 2020 she conducts and takes on the role of vocal soloist in Mahler Symphony No.4 with Munich Philharmonic, who originally premiered the work in 1901. She also sings her seminal role of Berg’s Lulu in concert with Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst.

Barbara Hannigan / album-related performances in 2020
24 March: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Aix en Provence / Nono; Haydn; Schoenberg; Mozart
27 March: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Paris / Nono; Haydn; Schoenberg; Mozart
28 March: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Soissons / Nono; Haydn; Schoenberg; Mozart
23 April: Danish National Symphony Orchestra / Copenhagen / Haydn
27 May: Munich Philharmonic / Munich / Nono; Haydn
28 May: Munich Philharmonic / Dresden / Nono; Haydn