Written on Skin takes New York by storm

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“Barbara Hannigan is a great musician.”
– The New Yorker
“Psychologically gripping, emotionally heart-pounding and viscerally satisfying drama.”
– New York Times

The US premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at the Mostly Mozart festival in New York received critical acclaim as a “psychologically gripping, emotionally heart-pounding and viscerally satisfying drama” (New York Times) and “a work of perfectionist bravado, stunningly performed”. (Vulture)

Barbara Hannigan reprised the role of Agnès, which she created at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and has subsequently sung in Toulouse, London, Vienna, Munich, Paris, and Toronto.


“Barbara Hannigan is a great musician. In the lead female role, the fierce and pitiable Agnès, the wife of a brutal husband who has awakened to love only to have it destroy her, Hannigan retained vocal purity and intellectual control as she threw herself into as broad a range of emotion and physical response as a composer could ask. (No wonder she is an acclaimed Lulu.) She is now pursuing a concomitant career in conducting, having led the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and other front-rank groups. Let ‘er rip.”
The New Yorker, Russell Platt, 18 August 2015


“The impassioned soprano Barbara Hannigan, the original Agnès, owns the role. During sustained passages, her luminous voice sounds shimmering and sensual one moment, piercing and desperate the next. She not only wants the Boy, she also wants to thrust her passion openly at her husband, which happens in a brutal later scene.”
New York Times, Anthony Tommasini, 12 August 2015


“…soprano Barbara Hannigan, whose electrifying physical presence and silvery soprano utterly focused the performance on the emotional journey of Agnès.”
Observer, James Jordan, 19 August 2015


“Barbara Hannigan gives us a fierce Agnès, by turns seductive, imperious, and brutally honest.”
Vulture, Justin Davidson, 12 August 2015


“As played by Ms. Hannigan, Agnès’s sensual awakening was a slow burn—“The woman takes off her shoes”—that erupted like a fever. When her impassioned soprano combined with Tim Mead’s stunningly pure, otherworldly countertenor in the role of the Boy, their connection was distilled into a startlingly erotic and beautiful moment of recognition.”
Wall Street Journal, Heidi Waleson, 12 August 2015


“All of this is clear in word, music and even in the delivery of the singers, particularly Barbara Hannigan as Agnès, who repeatedly sang her long-sustained notes with a straight sound as hard and pure as glass, only at the end of the note refracting into a softer vibrato as if returning its humanity.”
Washington Post, Anne Midgette, 12 August 2015


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