|Year of Birth:||1971|
Barbara Hannigan CM (born 8 May 1971) is a Canadian soprano and conductor, known for her performances of contemporary opera.
Hannigan's initial musical education came from music teachers in her hometown of Waverley, Nova Scotia in Halifax.
After growing up in Waverley, Hannigan moved to Toronto at the age of 17. She studied music at the University of Toronto, where her teachers included Mary Morrison. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music degree in 1993 and a Master of Music degree in 1998. She continued her studies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival, and the Centre d'arts Orford. She also studied for one year at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.
Hannigan is known for her performances of contemporary music. Her advocacy of contemporary music began in her youth, and she sang her first world premiere at the age of 17. As of 2011, she has premiered approximately 75 contemporary compositions. These include One by Michel van der Aa (2002), the song cycle Auf der Suche nach meinem Gesicht by Friedrich Cerha (2007), and La plus forte by Gerald Barry (2007), which the composer wrote specifically for Hannigan. Hans Abrahamsen wrote the symphonic song cycle let me tell you for Hannigan.
She is particularly noted for her performances of György Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre (a concert version of a scene from his opera Le Grand Macabre), and in 2011, she began to conduct the work in addition to singing the vocal part. Her work in contemporary opera has included singing in the premieres of Louis Andriessen's Writing to Vermeer, Gerald Barry's The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and The Importance of Being Earnest, Jan van de Putte's Wet Snow, Kris Defoort's House of the Sleeping Beauties, and George Benjamin's Written on Skin. She has worked with choreographer Sasha Waltz on productions of Toshio Hosokawa's Matsukaze and Pascal Dusapin's Passion. Hannigan received critical acclaim for her performance in Alban Berg's Lulu, which included dancing on pointe. In 2014, Hannigan sang the role of Marie in Bernd Alois Zimmermann's opera Die Soldaten at the Bavarian State Opera, a production that was streamed live on the internet. For her performance as Marie, she won the 2015 Der Faust (award) in Germany.