Toshio Hosokawa


“Barbara Hannigan and Charlotte Hellekant are spellbinding as Matsukaze and her sister Murasame, blending vocally with each other and physically with the dancers as though they had been Japanese spirits since the beginning of time.”

Financial Times, 04 May 2011

“The Canadian Amsterdam-based soprano Barbara Hannigan is the major star, in the role of Matsukaze. Not only does she sing all the composer’s beautiful, angelic vocal lines flawlessly and with richness of tone, but her share in the choreography (of Sasha Waltz) suggests that she has been living a secret life as a ballet dancer.”

Het Parool, 11 May 2011

“Und Barbara Hannigan in der Titelpartie, die stimmlich und körperlich keine Akrobatik scheut und die von den Waltz-Tänzern, diesen selbstgenügsamen Feuer-Erde-Wasser-Luft-Wesen, am Ende kaum mehr zu unterscheiden ist. Am Ende, wenn der Wind wieder weht.”

Tagesspiegel Berlin, 05 May 2011

“Sopranistin Barbara Hannigan und Mezzo Charlotte Hellekant singen die Schwestern nicht nur mit bestechender vokaler Präzision, sondern ertanzen sie auch mit atemberaubender Einfühlung.”

Frankfurter Rundschau, 05 May 2011

“Cette fois, c’est à la chorégraphe allemande Sasha Waltz qu’est confiée la mise en scène et les premières images laissent entrevoir une mobilisation très physique (et même acrobatique) des protagonistes, rendue notamment possible par la double formation de Barbara Hannigan, tenante du rôle-titre, soprano (d’exception) et danseuse.”

La libre Belgique, 05 May 2011

Pascal Dusapin


“Barbara Hannigan, qui stupéfie par la maîtrise de sa très exigeante partie (suraigus en exclamations) et Georg Nigl, chantent et habitent Passion comme s’ils étaient dans une partition connue.”

Le Monde, 03 July 2008

“‘Elle’ c’est la soprano Barbara Hannigan, souple silhouette de sirène, voix puissant et agile, au timbre argenté, engagement scénique époustouflant; l’une de ces artistes que l’on découvre et qu’on a aussitôt envie de réentendre.”

Les Echos, 01 July 2008

“Der Lichtblick der Auffuhrung im Théâtre des Champs-Élysées sind die beiden Sanger, Barbara Hannigan und Gerog Nigl “Passion” Experten der ersten Stunde: Sie haben 2008 schon die Urauffrung bestritten und glanzen night nur stimmlich in den ganze Intervalle uberspringenden, Stohnen, Stottern und Seufzen gleichermassen vokaliierenden Hauptpartien, sondern uberzeugen auch darstellerisch. Das gilt vor allem fur Hannigan, die sich nahtlos in die Riege der Tanzer einfugt, so elastisch und leichtfussig artikuliert sie, was Sasha Waltz ihr chreographisch angetragen hat.”

Suddeutscher Zeitung, 09 October 2010

“Par leur interprétation idéale, Esa Pekka Salonen et Barbara Hannigan exaltent la profonde humanité de la partition.”

La Croix

“Dusapin composed the solo roles specifically for Hannigan and Nigl, strikingly integrated with the instrumental ensemble. Vocal and instrumental lines took over from one another in a magical way. Nigl and Hannigan sang and acted perfectly – he beautifully thoughtful, sad and hopeful, with much falsetto, her with faultlessly placed, glimmering high notes and a touching vulnerability.”

NRC Handelsblad, 11 June 2009

“A commencer par Barbara Hannigan, voix superbe, mais aussi personnalité lumineuse, engagée avec son partenaire, Georg Nigl, dans un triple travail vocal, théâtral et chorégraphique dans lequel elle se fond avec une souplesse de l’esprit et du corps qui force l’admiration.”

Nouvel Observateur, 07 October 2010

“Dans cet écrin modal et chromatique, la vocalité brûlante de la soprano Barbara Hannigan et du baryton Georg Nigl s’insère de façon magique: chaque mot et sculpté, modulé, projeté avec une expressivité qui captive au-delà de toute velléité de faire sens.”

Liberation, 9 July 2008


Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

“Hannigan has an ability to create colours of exceptional poetic beauty.”

* * * * * (5 out of 5 stars)
The Financial Times, 27 January 2013

“her voice had the arresting quality of being icy and hot at the same time”

* * * * * (5 out of 5 stars)
The Telegraph, 25 January 2013

“what this brilliant Canadian soprano and her Dutch accompanist did with Berg’s ‘Seven Early Songs’ and Schoenberg’s ‘Four Songs Op 2’ was extraordinary”

* * * * * (5 out of 5 stars)
The Independent, 25 January 2013

“I can’t think of another soprano who can deliver Schoenberg, Berg and Alma Mahler songs with as much accuracy, agility, insight, drama and sexual allure as Barbara Hannigan.”

* * * * (4 out of 5 stars)
The Times, 28 January 2013

Late Night at the Philharmonic

Late-night concert with Simon Rattle and Barbara Hannigan

“And in a startling beautiful way Barbara Hannigans voice attended to these (Rimbauds) words. The Canadian has such a light, clear and – even in pianissimo – assertive soprano that she could make a career with Donizetti.(…) However she preferably has been singing modern and recent music for years, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Eötvös, Dutilleux, that it is magnificent! Besides the beauty of her voice her artistic intelligence is shown by the fact that she in Henze’s piece at first fully merges with the instrumental colours (like the described character in the snow) and only gradually emerges from this white-azure world
… “[…] The verses, in which a sky rhinoceros watches sadly the hobby horses’ run, in which the zebra-striped emperor of Zanzibar meets the poet Lord Tennyson, and Victoria – Queen of solemn memory – somehow seems to have problems with the Hottentots, all sound as if Alice in Wonderland had started to write poetry after an overdose of reading Mallarmé. As if this weren’t enough amusement Hannigan and Sir Simon took turns in conducting and speaking between the numbers! And while Hannigan galloped like a show jumper on triplets through consonant-rich words in the tarantella, Rattle baffled the audience with the lascivious laziness of a faun and creaky witch’s falsetts as a reader of distinction. A new star arose amid the cold of winter, when half spent was the night.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Jan Brachmann, 20 December 2012

“In the conflict between imagined beauty and experienced desire the four cellists of the Philharmonic offer the stronger part in a sensuous performance that Barbara Hannigan plays with in her crystalline polished coloraturas – often only in the finest pianissimo.
William Walton’s “Façade” for speaker and six instruments based on texts by the eccentric writer Edith Sitwell is a discovery in the field of pieces of Modernity with audience appeal. Rattle and Hannigan emphasize the performance character of the piece written in 1922 by exchanging roles between conductor and speaker after every number.
It was completely enjoyable and well done (…)”

Der Tagesspiegel, Carsten Niemann, 17 December 2012

“At the heart was Henze’s cantata for coloratura soprano, harp and four celli, whose lethal grace and lively beauty were almost more astounding than the musician’s dedicated performance with Barbara Hannigan leading the way with her taught soprano capable of great determination.
Walton’s Façade for speaker and six instruments was the most fun, whereby the title of the piece seemed to have been changed to “…for two conductors, two speakers and six instruments” this evening. For Barbara Hannigan and Simon Rattle conducted alternately which gave Mr. Rattle the great opportunity to showcase his enormous talent as a reciter under the conducting of Barbara Hannigan. For Rattle this was probably the surest method of sound production. Hannigan also conducts solo and not only with Rattle. Walton’s pieces appear somewhat exotic, very British and extremely appealing.”

Opern- und Konzertkritik Berlin Blog, Anton Schlatz, 16 December 2012

Various Reviews

“Late in the opera, Barbara Hannigan (Despina) is dazzling in one of the most virtuoso coloratura arias this reviewer has ever heard.”

Opera News, September 2009, review of DVD of Signor Goldoni by Luca Mosca

“Barbara Hannigan, the faultless soprano in (Luigi Nono’s) A Floresta, had prefaced it with one of the unaccompanied songs from Nono’s 1962 Canti di Vita e d’Amore, perfectly poised and authentically Italianate in its lyricism.”

Guardian, London, 7 November 2007

“Als vokalen Nachklapp gab es auch noch sechs dodekaphonische Georg Trakl-Lieder des Meisters, abwechselnd aufs sparsamste umspielt und umwispert von vier Instrumentalisten, die alles Erdenkliche versuchten, sich kein nachhaltiges Gehör zu verschaffen. Was ihnen auch sehr erfolgreich gelang. Miss Hannigan nahm reichen Beifall mit großen Gesten sublimster Grazie entgegen.

Berliner Morgenpost, April 2008
Webern Op 14 with Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

“Nimmt man die Aufführungen der Lieder op. 8 und op. 14 und der Orchesterstücke op. 10 für sich, dann scheint Rattle als Webern-Interpret in der Boulez-Nachfolge zu stehen: Vieles klingt sinnlich-delikat ausgehört, wenig entfaltet gestisches Espressivo. Die kanadische Sopranistin Barbara Hannigan sang mit warmem, lyrischem Ton.”

Berliner Zeitung, April 2008
Webern Op 8 and 14, with Sir Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

“Alone onstage, Barbara Hannigan poured forth her remarkably clear, direct soprano, leaving no emotion unturned in the words and cries of a freedom fighter brutally raped during Algeria’s war of independence. Direct human contact was instantly achieved.”

The Times, November 2007
Luigi Nono Djamila Boupacha for solo voice, at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London

“There was no better soprano than Barbara Hannigan to interpret the part of the capricious and carefree Allegro. Brilliant coloratura, enormous ease of tone in the high register, and articulate presence made this performance a captivating event.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 May 2002
Händel L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderator with the Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra

“Hannigan conjured the full power – and humanity – of the enchantress. Aided by her wonderful connection to the musicality of the words – not to mention her dazzling virtuosity – Hannigan drew out the nuances of Händel’s oft-praised characterization: the fiery, sexy temperament and touching vulnerability in her illicit and unrequited love for the enemy Rinaldo.”

The National Post, 29 April 2004
as Armida in Händel’s Rinaldo with Opera in Concert, Toronto

“…it was above all Barbara Hannigan in the part of first soprano, with all its ornamentation, so much allure had that the other parts paled by comparison. With her porcelein sound she took hairpin turns as if they were nothing, and defied the highest heights: a vocal alpiniste who climbs without the necessity of life insurance!”

Leeuwarder Courant, 22 February 2003
Mozart’s C minor Mass with the Noord Nederlands Orkest, The Netherlands

“Soprano Barbara Hannigan enticed the audience to laughter as Lieschen, and transported with flawless, slender perfection in the aria “Ei! Wie schmeckt der Coffee susse”, where vocal ornaments unrolled like sensual sighs.”

NRC Handelsblad, 13 May 2003
Bach Secular Cantatas with Combattimento Consort Amsterdam

“…but the most exciting moment came in the Friday night Sinfonietta concert when that startlingly blonde, butter-wouldn’t-melt soprano Barbara Hannigan flung herself with indecent gusto into the sexy vocal games of Gyorgy Ligeti’s Aventures and Nouvelles Aventures. It was like seeing the Catherine Deneuve of Belle de Jour suddenly turn savage and foul-mouthed. The Proms don’t come much more “impure” than that.”

Daily Telegraph, 11 August 2003

“Then came the formidable soprano Barbara Hannigan onstage. The first minutes she sang only one tone. Later she had rhythmic and melodic lines to sing at breakneck speed, tasks she completed with unimaginable technical ease and enormous musicality. You had to be there to believe it.”

Het Parool, 13 January 2003

“Whoever has seen this performance can only confirm that it is Hannigan’s unparalleled virtuosity and overwhelming concentration, both “live” and on film, that carries the performance. She has completely internalized the piece; she is One. It is questionable as to whether anyone else could ever sing these notes, written for her unique vocal capacities.”

NRC Handelsblad, June 2006
Holland Festival, Amsterdam

The vocal lines, in constant change, were moulded with eloquence, elasticity and a palette of subtle nuances by Barbara Hannigan – definitely one of the great operatic actresses of our time.Diapason