Canadian soprano BARBARA HANNIGAN received her Bachelor of Music (1993) and Master of Music (1998) degrees from the University of Toronto, where she studied with Mary Morrison. Further studies took place at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at Ravinia, the Centre d’arts Orford, and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in Holland, where she studied with Meinard Kraak.
Her operatic roles include Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Amore in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Eurydice, Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, the title role in Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Larinda in Hasse’s Larinda e Vanesio, as well as the title roles in Hasse’s La Contadina and La Fantesca, Bastienne in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, Arethuze in Charpentier’s Acteon, Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo and Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante. She sang the world premiere of operas including Louis Andriessen’s Writing to Vermeer (Saskia) with the Netherlands Opera, Jan van de Putte’s Wet Snow (Liza) with Holland’s National Reisopera, Luca Mosca’s Signor Goldoni (Despina) at La Fenice, Michel van der Aa’s solo opera One for soprano, film and electronics, and Gabrielle in the world première of Gerald Barry’s The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant at English National Opera. Gerald Barry also composed La plus forte for her voice – a full setting for soprano and orchestra of Strindberg’s play, which had its concertante premiere in Paris 2006 and awaits a complete staging. Most recently she gave the world premiere performances of Passion, the new opera of Pascal Dusapin, at the Festival of Aix en Provence, now starting its European tour.
She has performed with orchestras and ensembles including the Berlin Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, l’Orchestre National de France, Toronto Symphony, Paris Opera, Helsinki Philharmonic, Holland’s Radio Symphony Orchestra, Radio Chamber Orchestra, and Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Frankfurt and Finland, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, the SWR German Radio Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Musikfabrik, the Asko and Schoenberg Ensembles, and the Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra, in repertoire ranging from Handel, Bach, and Mozart, to Knussen, Dutilleux, and Ligeti. As part of Maurizio Pollini’s Progetto Pollini, she has been touring with him singing works of Luigi Nono.
She has worked with conductors including Reinbert de Leeuw, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Sir Simon Rattle, Kurt Masur, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Ingo Metzmacher, Peter Oundjian, Oliver Knussen, Jonathan Nott, Peter Rundel, Michael Gielen, and Peter Eötvös, and has had the privilege of working with composers including György Ligeti, Louis Andriessen, Gerald Barry, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Oliver Knussen, and Henri Dutilleux.
She has received much acclaim for her performances of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, a tour de force for soprano and orchestra which she has sung with orchestras in New York, Budapest, Toronto, Berlin, Helsinki, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Cologne. She sang Ligeti’s Requiem in 2006, with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Peter Eötvös, and at the Salzburg Festival in 2004, with the Bamberger Symphoniker conducted by Jonathan Nott.
Dutilleux’s Correspondances for soprano and orchestra has become a major work in her repertoire, which she has sung with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Holland’s Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, CBSO conducted by Sakari Oramo at the 2005 BBC Proms, the Helsinki Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Orchestre National de France conducted by Kurt Masur, the Toronto Symphony conducted by Peter Oundjian, at the Palais Garnier with the Paris Opera Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen, and with the Oslo Philharmonic conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste.
Upcoming engagements include opera productions at La Monnaie and the Netherlands Opera, concerts with Ensemble Modern, the Schoenberg Ensemble, Deutsche Symphonie Orkest, Ensemble Intercontemporain, London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre and the title role in Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol with the Berlin Philharmonic.