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Between performances of George Benjamin’s Lessons in Love and Violence, acclaimed soprano Barbara Hannigan OC coaches the next generation of talent from the National Opera Studio.

Barbara Hannigan divides her time between singing on the world's major stages and conducting leading orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic, Münchner Philharmoniker, Gothenburg Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony are among the orchestras with whom she holds close relationships. Barbara has worked with the most prominent conductors, including Simon Rattle, Kent Nagano, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Andris Nelsons, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Kirill Petrenko, David Zinman, Vladimir Jurowski, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert and Reinbert de Leeuw. Her commitment to the music of our time has led to an extensive collaboration with composers including Boulez, Dutilleux, Ligeti, Stockhausen, Sciarrino, Barry, Dusapin and Abrahamsen.

Unforgettable operatic appearances include the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande in Katie Mitchell’s staging at the 2016 Festival d’Aix-en-Province conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, a “chameleonic and compelling” (Gramophone) Lulu in Krszysztof Warlikowski’s staging at La Monnaie, and a fearless interpretation of Marie as a flame in the darkness in Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten at the Bayerische Staatsoper – a hugely acclaimed presentation directed by Andreas Kriegenberg and conducted by Kirill Petrenko, for which she won the Faust Award in Germany. She made her Opera de Paris debut last season with La voix humaine again in a Warlikowski production. She created the role of Agnes in George Benjamin's Written on Skin, a production which has garnered rave reviews worldwide, with most recent performances at New York's Lincoln Center, and she returns to London's Royal Opera House this season to reprise the role. 

Barbara has worked extensively with choreographer Sasha Waltz on productions of Hosokawa’s Matsukaze and Dusapin’s Passion, thoroughly utilising her physical as well as vocal agility. In the 2016/17 season she will sing the world premieres of Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and Ophelia in Brett Dean's Hamlet, as well as Berg’s Lulu in a new production directed by Christoph Marthaler at Hamburg Staatsoper and Hosokawa’s Matsukaze at La Monnaie. 

Upon describing Barbara’s conducting and programming, The New York Times wrote: “Ms Hannigan’s performances are viscerally affecting … she constructs them with a kind of postmodern self-consciousness; they’re private worlds, designed to satisfy herself – artistically, intellectually, emotionally – as much as her audience.”  

Header image: Barbara Hannigan © Elmer de Haas