Barbara Hannigan

Soprano

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Abrahamsen: Let me tell you

Abrahamsen: Let me tell you


Read Katherine's exclusive interview with Hans Abrahamsen about the project here.

Premiered by soprano Barbara Hannigan [with the Berlin Philharmonic] and conductor Andris Nelsons in 2013. 'Let me tell you', winner of the 2016 Gawemeyer Award, is a setting of a libretto by Paul Griffiths. The work is based on Griffiths’ 2008 novel of the same name, using the limited vocabulary which Shakespeare afforded Ophelia to create a more complex idea of the character. Comprising seven poems, the work is divided into three parts devoted to Ophelia’s past, present and future.

Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen was smitten by the idea of scoring Paul Griffiths’ novella 'let me tell you'; Barbara Hannigan, asked to sing at a surprise party for the writer and critic, dared to suggest a commission to the Berlin Philharmonic. Before she knew it, they had accepted. While many world premieres fall into oblivion, she has ensured subsequent performances with the Gothenburg Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony this season; other orchestras have plans to programme the work further down the line. The soprano, who has sung some 80 premieres, feels such a strong sense of responsibility that she compares the piece to a baby: "Don’t drop it," she wants to say, "keep it clothed and nourished." This is the second time that a musical setting of a text by Paul Griffiths has won the Grawemeyer (Tan Dun's Marco Polo won in 1998). The piece also won the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society award for large-scale composition, which described it as "a work of exquisite beauty whose ravishing surface belies a meticulously imagined and innovative score". Abrahamsen’s other accolades include the Carl Nielsen Prize (1989) and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize (1998).

Hannigan has revealed just how involved she was at the early stages of the composition process: this being the composer’s first sung work, she [Hannigan] gave him a four-hour session in vocal music from Renaissance to 12-tone. "I think that’s why the writing doesn’t feel like modern music to me," she says. "I feel like it has always been there. Even though the intervals and rhythms might be difficult, the lyricism has a timeless quality."

“Abrahamsen expresses both the fragility and force of Griffiths's imagined Ophelia through glinting, gauze-like textures and moments of clattering tumult…Barbara Hannigan's agile, luminous voice is ideal, and sings with power and subtlety, superbly matched by Andris Nelsons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 *****

“The spare yet pregnant lines of text meet Abrahamsen’s finely spun textures and each word feels felt and weighed in music. Possibly you don’t even need to know that Barbara Hannigan is singing Ophelia’s words any more, yet her vehemence and passion suggest she thinks justice is finally being done to a woman who never did get much chance to tell her side of the story” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“Abrahamsen’s ethereal magic brilliantly treats Paul Griffith’s patchwork of lines from Shakespeare’s Ophelia, and there can be no better advocate for any composer than Ms. Hannigan. Mr. Nelsons’s conducting is smooth, the Bavarians’ playing revealing and true.” New York Times, 15th December 2016

“It was created for soprano Barbara Hannigan and is a stunning vehicle for her, with its floating, effortless-sounding high notes and pure, expressive tone. Her Ophelia is intense and fragile, sensuous and febrile; her phrasing is elastic and tasteful...The piece won this year’s $100,000 Grawemeyer award and it’s easy to hear why.” The Guardian, 14th January 2016 *****

“the piece, a winner of a Grawemeyer and an RPS award, contains a whole ocean of melancholy and ferocity. This is realised by the extraordinary soprano Barbara Hannigan and by Abrahamsen’s wondrous score, which embraces Romantic echoes and fascinating microtonal clusters … What emerges is a postmodern portrait of a woman with much more of an inner life than even the Bard may have realised.” The Times, 5th February 2016 *****

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2016

Winner - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2016

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Winter and Winter - 9102322

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Hans Abrahamsen: Let me tell you - Vinyl Edition

Hans Abrahamsen: Let me tell you - Vinyl Edition


Abrahamsen:

Let me tell you


Read Katherine's exclusive interview with Hans Abrahamsen about the project here.

Premiered by soprano Barbara Hannigan [with the Berlin Philharmonic] and conductor Andris Nelsons in 2013. 'Let me tell you', winner of the 2016 Gawemeyer Award, is a setting of a libretto by Paul Griffiths. The work is based on Griffiths’ 2008 novel of the same name, using the limited vocabulary which Shakespeare afforded Ophelia to create a more complex idea of the character. Comprising seven poems, the work is divided into three parts devoted to Ophelia’s past, present and future.

Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen was smitten by the idea of scoring Paul Griffiths’ novella 'let me tell you'; Barbara Hannigan, asked to sing at a surprise party for the writer and critic, dared to suggest a commission to the Berlin Philharmonic. Before she knew it, they had accepted. While many world premieres fall into oblivion, she has ensured subsequent performances with the Gothenburg Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony this season; other orchestras have plans to programme the work further down the line. The soprano, who has sung some 80 premieres, feels such a strong sense of responsibility that she compares the piece to a baby: "Don’t drop it," she wants to say, "keep it clothed and nourished." This is the second time that a musical setting of a text by Paul Griffiths has won the Grawemeyer (Tan Dun's Marco Polo won in 1998). The piece also won the 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society award for large-scale composition, which described it as "a work of exquisite beauty whose ravishing surface belies a meticulously imagined and innovative score". Abrahamsen’s other accolades include the Carl Nielsen Prize (1989) and the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize (1998).

Hannigan has revealed just how involved she was at the early stages of the composition process: this being the composer’s first sung work, she [Hannigan] gave him a four-hour session in vocal music from Renaissance to 12-tone. "I think that’s why the writing doesn’t feel like modern music to me," she says. "I feel like it has always been there. Even though the intervals and rhythms might be difficult, the lyricism has a timeless quality."

“It was created for soprano Barbara Hannigan and is a stunning vehicle for her, with its floating, effortless-sounding high notes and pure, expressive tone. Her Ophelia is intense and fragile, sensuous and febrile; her phrasing is elastic and tasteful...The piece won this year’s $100,000 Grawemeyer award and it’s easy to hear why.” The Guardian, 14th January 2016 *****

“It was created for soprano Barbara Hannigan and is a stunning vehicle for her, with its floating, effortless-sounding high notes and pure, expressive tone. Her Ophelia is intense and fragile, sensuous and febrile; her phrasing is elastic and tasteful...The piece won this year’s $100,000 Grawemeyer award and it’s easy to hear why.” The Guardian, 14th January 2016 *****

“the piece, a winner of a Grawemeyer and an RPS award, contains a whole ocean of melancholy and ferocity. This is realised by the extraordinary soprano Barbara Hannigan and by Abrahamsen’s wondrous score, which embraces Romantic echoes and fascinating microtonal clusters … What emerges is a postmodern portrait of a woman with much more of an inner life than even the Bard may have realised.” The Times, 5th February 2016 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - March 2016

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

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Dutilleux: Correspondances

Dutilleux: Correspondances


Dutilleux:

Correspondances for Soprano and Orchestra

Barbara Hannigan (soprano)

Tout un monde lointain (Concerto for cello and orchestra)

Anssi Karttunen (cello)

The Shadows of Time


This remarkable album was released on the 97th birthday of a composer who, over more than seven decades, had a profound influence on classical music. Born in 1916 and best known for his Violin Concerto, Henri Dutilleux continued the line of great masters of French music.

The album is a tribute to the composer by his former composition pupil, conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, Music Director Laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Dutilleux’s Correspondances (2003), a song cycle for soprano and orchestra, setting texts by Rainer Maria Rilke, Prithwindra Mukherjee, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Vincent van Gogh, has never been recorded. The composer asked his former pupil to record the work, while he could still attend the sessions – which he did – making this World Premiere recording a document of historical significance

Joining the superb Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France is star soloist, soprano Barbara Hannigan, today’s most highly regarded interpreter of 20th/21st century classical vocal music

The album also includes new recordings of Tout un monde lointain for Cello and Orchestra (1970) and the orchestral piece The Shadows of Time (1997).

“Salonen does these three masterpieces (1997’s The Shadows of Time and the 1970 cello concerto Tout un monde lointain are the others) magnificent justice. In the 2003 title work, a close engagement with texts (by Rilke et al) is formidably reflected in Barbara Hannigan’s soprano singing.” Sunday Times, 10th February 2013

“Here is an oeuvre, not only of precise, masterly workmanship, but infused with emotional warmth and, beyond that, with profound passions, evidenced not least in Dutilleux's sympathy for the persecuted...Hannigan is simply superb - faultless pitching, crystal clear words, a shining tone and total empathy with the composer's message...Throughout, Salonen and the orchestra do the composer's music proud. Bravo to all for a quite exceptional disc.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2013 *****

“Hannigan has made the music very much her own...a wonderful 97th birthday present for a musician who has patiently extended older French traditions of civility and high polish into an age of aesthetic meltdown.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2013

“Hannigan’s singing is heartbreaking...[Karttunen] may not be as dramatic as [Rostropovich], but he gives an eloquent account. His playing high in the register is particularly beautiful and he captures all the detail...It is rather early to say, but I am confident this CD will be at or near the top of my list of recordings of the year.” MusicWeb International, 13th June 2013

GGramophone Awards 2013

Winner - Contemporary

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - May 2013

DG - 4791180

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Crazy Girl Crazy: Music by Gershwin, Berg and Berio

Crazy Girl Crazy: Music by Gershwin, Berg and Berio

including bonus documentary DVD


Berg:

Lulu-Suite (Five Symphonic Pieces) for soprano and orchestra

Berio:

Sequenza III for woman's voice

Gershwin:

Girl Crazy: Suite


Barbara Hannigan (soprano/conductor)

Ludwig Orchestra

Whether singing, conducting, dancing or acting, the Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan is a constant source of fascination. Alpha Classics is proud to enter her world and her very first album as singer and conductor in 2017: with the Amsterdam based orchestra Ensemble Ludwig, of which she is associate artist.

Barbara Hannigan has devised a programme including Berg's Lulu Suite and Gershwin's Girl Crazy in a Suite newly arranged by the multi award- winning American composer Bill Elliott. To complement these two pieces, she has recorded Berio's spectacular Sequenza III for solo voice.

An outstanding soprano, a distinguished interpreter of the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, an all-round artist who creates a sensation on concert platforms and in opera houses throughout the world, Barbara Hannigan has enriched her palette over the past few years by devoting a portion of her activities to conducting. This album in the form of a musical portrait of the artist, is completed by a DVD of a film made by Mathieu Amalric during the rehearsals and recording sessions. It plunges into the heart of the orchestra with a very personal look at the exchanges between conductor and musicians.

Over the next few years, Alpha will accompany Barbara Hannigan in a number of projects from very varied horizons.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Alpha - ALPHA293

(CD + DVD Video - 2 discs)

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Special: $13.00

Scheduled for release on 22 September 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

Satie: Socrate

Satie: Socrate


Satie:

Trois Melodies

3 autres Mélodies

Hymne

Socrate - Drame Symphonique


With 2016 being the 150th anniversary year of the birth of Erik Satie, Barbara Hannigan and Reinbert de Leeuw present with expressive intensity and in a unique way, the fascinating sound world of this leading French composer and pianist. Hannigan and de Leeuw let us discover and experience Satie’s almost forgotten and unique vocal compositions: Trois Mélodies, Trois Autres Mélodies and Hymne. The main work and title of the album is the composition Socrate comprising of three parts - Portrait de Socrate, Les Bords d’Illissus and Mort de Socrate: music which sounds white, transparent and fragile.

“Hannigan and De Leeuw perfectly capture the elusive, emotionally detached nature of Socrate” BBC Music Magazine, August 2016

“Throughout their album, Barbara Hannigan and Reinbert de Leeuw maintain a very noticeable consistency of mood, atmosphere and colour. The coolly detached house style of Winter & Winter has been respected but an aesthetic decision has clearly been taken to represent Satie as a creative lone wolf.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

“Barbara Hannigan proves to be one of the finest interpreters of this music…while Reinbert de Leeuw proves that you do not need the chamber orchestra in Socrate. Indeed, the partnership between Hannigan and De Leeuw shows great intelligence and a true sense of ensemble that opens this music to a greater understanding.” MusicWeb International, July 2016

“Hannigan sings the songs of Erik Satie as if she’s sitting next to you, whispering and cooing across the kitchen table with sufficient breathiness, soft edges and exquisite spaciousness to match Reinbert de Leeuw’s sweet-melancholy piano chords.” The Guardian, 5th May 2016 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2016

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - August 2016

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

Winter and Winter - 9102342

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Barbara Hannigan: Concert & Documentary

Barbara Hannigan: Concert & Documentary


Fauré:

Pelléas et Mélisande, Op. 80

Ligeti:

Mysteries of the Macabre

Mozart:

Vado, ma dove? oh Dei!, K583

Un moto di gioia, K579

Misera, dove son? - Ah! non son' io che parlo! K369

Rossini:

La scala di seta Overture


She crosses boundaries and loves to explore new territory.

Barbara Hannigan is one of the most fascinating and multifacetted artistic personalities of our time. She sets new standards as a singer, conductor, and performance artist.

The intimate portrait “I’m a creative animal” takes the viewer into the world of an exceptional musician – a world of both passion and discipline. Her performances possess a breathtaking intensity because of her exquisite vocal technique and virtuosity, musical and theatrical expressivity, and uncompromising engagement. In this concert with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hannigan both sings and conducts to effortlessly build bridges linking different musical epochs. With a phenomenal performance of Ligeti’s Mysteries of the Macabre, a work for which she is famous, she once again confirms her reputation as the performer of contemporary music – “The audience went wild.” (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

DOCUMENTARY I’m a creative animal –Barbara Hannigan

A film by Barbara Seiler

Picture Format DVD: NTSC 16:9

Sound Formats DVD: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1

Region Code: 0 (worldwide)

Running Time Concert: 71:38 min

Running Time Documentary: 51:17 min

Disc Format: DVD‐9

Subtitles Concert: Original (It./Eng.)

Languages Documentary: English, German, French

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

Accentus Music - ACC20327

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Berg: Lulu

Berg: Lulu


Barbara Hannigan (Lulu), Natascha Petrinsky (Geschwitz), Tom Randle (Maler & Neger), Dietrich Henschel (Dr. Schön/Jack the Ripper), Charles Workman (Alwa), Pavlo Hunka (Schigolch), Ivan Ludlow (Tierbändiger & Athlete)

Orchestre symphonique de la Monnaie, Paul Daniel

Stage direction: KRZYSZTOF WARLIKOWSKI

Set & costume designs: MALGORZATA SZCZESNIAK

Choreography: CLAUDE BARDOUIL

Dance & solos choreography: ROSALBA TORRES GUERRERO

Recording: La Monnaie, Brussels, 19 & 26/10/2012

Frank Wedekind’s work provided fertile ground for Berg's second opera, 'Lulu', considered one of the major works of the 20th century, but which remained unfinished due to his untimely death in 1935. Intoxicatingly enigmatic and deadly for those close to her: from the folly of love to the humiliation of vulgarity, she incites excess. After his production of 'Médée' (DVD & Blu-ray Bel Air Classiques), Krzysztof Warlikowski once again delves the innermost depths of the human psyche and chooses to tackle Lulu as a deeply moving requiem ‘to the memory of an angel’.

Paul Daniel conducts the Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie and Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan gives a tremendous, never-to-be-forgotten account of the title role.

Running time 194 min.

Booklet FR / ENG / NL - Subtitles FR / ENG / DE / NL

16/9, NTSC / PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1

“rewarding viewing for all who appreciate this devastating work...this Lulu offers stupendous accuracy of pitch and rhythm...The performance is impeccably prepared musically, with the sensual qualities given full value, the maximum in rhythmic exactitude and abundant theatrical flair. The recorded sound is natural and full bodied.” International Record Review, December 2014

“It's a comparatively rare occurrence to encounter a performance on the opera stage that has such a magnetic visual and physical impact as Barbara Hannigan's portrayal of Berg's tragic heroine...Her absolute vocal mastery is marvellous...Many of the supporting protagonists in this torrid drama are no less compelling.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2014 *****

“It’s an explicit, yet chilly interpretation of Berg’s masterpiece, hampered in places by Warlikowski’s decision to graft additional layers of imagery onto a work already heavy with meaning...Musically it’s superb. Barbara Hannigan gives everything she’s got and then some to the title role. Charles Workman is the finely lyrical Alwa; Dietrich Henschel, never bettered, the troubled Schoen. It’s nicely conducted by Paul Daniel, too.” The Guardian, 11th December 2014 ***

“Tall, slender and chameleonic, [Hannigan] stalks the stage compellingly...The voice itself is remarkably clear and clean: not the most sensuous instrument, perhaps, but one that is used with great intelligence and accuracy...Very impressive, too, are the orchestra and Paul Daniel, who is particularly adept at finding the score's drama and beauty.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2014

“this Lulu is irresistible because of Barbara Hannigan’s performances of the title role, one that is as sexy as it is vocally incandescent” Opera, March 2015

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - December 2014

DVD Video

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Summer Opera Sale

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Barry, G: The Importance of Being Earnest

Barry, G: The Importance of Being Earnest


Barbara Hannigan (Cecily), Peter Tantsits (Jack Worthing), Joshua Bloom (Algernon), Katalin Károlyi (Gwendoline), Hilary Summers (Miss Prism), Alan Ewing (Lady Bracknell), Benjamin Bevan (Lane/Merriman), Joshua Hart (Dr Chasuble)

BCMG, Thomas Adès

This release was made possible thanks to the generosity of trusts, foundations and individuals who donated to our 2013 Opera Appeal, the other two releases being Judith Weir's The Vanishing Bridegroom and Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain.

The Importance of Being Earnest was jointly commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and the Barbican in London, and received its world premiere staging at Opéra national de Lorraine à Nancy in 2013.

Two further productions were staged the same year at the Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre, and on tour with NI Opera.

The Importance of Being Earnest received a 2013 RPS Award for Large-Scale Composition.

‘The world now has something rare: a new genuinely comic opera and maybe the most inventive Oscar Wilde opera since Richard Strauss's Salome more than a century ago.’

The Los Angeles Times Gerald Barry's riotous opera brings out the savagery beneath the genteel Edwardian manners of Wilde's play: its score includes gunshots, whistling and speaking from the orchestral players, marching boots, and the smashing of 40 dinner plates, while its characters – among them Lady Bracknell sung by a bass and Cecily by a stratospheric soprano – shout at each other through gales, quote Schiller's Ode to Joy (in German) and make polite conversation through megaphones.

'It’s all completely bonkers, but I went in grumping and came out grinning. What more can you ask?' The Telegraph

“In the Barbican, the sheer size of the hall seemed to dilute the impact of Barry’s fabulously inventive score, with its machine-gun delivery of great swathes of text, ricocheting instrumental lines, and surreal references...On disc, all those can be enjoyed, the sheer virtuosity with which Barry puts it all together appreciated” The Guardian, 25th September 2014 ****

“Barry treats Wilde’s words cavalierly, yet he presents an irresistible portrait of buttoned-up English stereotypes on the edge of madness, panic, rage and despair. Highlights are Alan Ewing’s (bass) Lady Bracknell and Barbara Hannigan’s Cecily.” The Times, 27th September 2014 *****

“Barry magnifies the fizzing quality into a relentlessly high-wire act that has the audience relishing the stamina of the performers, here under the needle-sharp control of ringmaster-in-chief Thomas Ades.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“The mind boggles as to how any singer can manage to memorise and execute Barry’s fiendish vocal parts, but Adès’ cast more than rises to the challenge. It’s a true ensemble effort, though if pushed to pick a stand-out performance, the pyrotechnics of soprano Barbara Hannigan as Cecily are pretty unbeatable.” Opera Now

“Alan Ewing and especially Barbara Hannigan (in plate-smashingly good form) are superb, and conductor Thomas Adès keeps everything moving along at a cracking pace. Buy it for your handbag.” Classical Music *****

“Surely this is not only the best operatic treatment of Oscar Wilde since Salome, but also one of the few absolutely essential operas of the last 20 years...This performances features at least three ideal incarnations: Barbara Hannigan's cut-glass Cecily, Peter Tantsits's spot-on Jack and Hilary Summers's true-contralto Miss Prism, who hits every note asked of her.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2015 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2014

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - January 2015

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016

Opera Finalist

Summer Opera Sale

NMC - NMCD197

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Benjamin, G: Written on Skin

Benjamin, G: Written on Skin

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, March 2013


Christopher Purves (Protector), Barbara Hannigan (Agnès), Bejun Mehta (First Angel/Boy), Victoria Simmonds (Second Angel/Marie) & Allan Clayton (Third Angel/John)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, George Benjamin (conductor) & Katie Mitchell (director)

Text: Martin Crimp

When Written on Skin had its premiere at the 2012 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, conducted by George Benjamin himself, it received a standing ovation. The opera's arrival at Covent Garden in 2013 was eagerly anticipated, and provided audiences with the opportunity to experience the work of two of Britain's greatest living artists. Benjamin previously collaborated with playwright Martin Crimp on Into the Little Hill, a magical retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale, and for this new work they joined forces with acclaimed stage director Katie Mitchell. For all three, the production marked their main-stage debut at the Royal Opera House.

The tale, inspired by a medieval legend, tells of an ill-fated troubadour, drawn into a liaison with an innocent maiden. But they are observed by the jealous eye of her protector, who wreaks a shocking revenge on the young couple.

Written on Skin draws on a 12th-century Occitan legend about the troubadour Guillaume de Cabestanh.

Extra features: Interview with George Benjamin, Introduction to Written on Skin and a Cast gallery.

Running time: 89 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JA

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Benjamin's contribution is the most consistently impressive facet...Mehta makes much of the Boy's enigmatic presence without ever becoming a cipher for the vulnerabilties of others...The DVD conveys much of the claustrophobic power of this production...Make no mistake, this is an opera certain to endure.” International Record Review, March 2014

“This is an outstanding release in every way...Benjamin's extraordinary music is breathtaking in its lightly worn compositional virtuosity...The cast is sensational...Hannigan deserves all the superlatives in the dictionary...make no mistake: this is a true masterpiece.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 *****

“The vocal writing for the most part feels intimate and conversational...Mehta touches chords of the unearthly...More mesmerizing still, Barbara Hannigan's Agnès displays a fawnlike persona that belies the maelstrom within...Hannigan's rounded, lyrical soprano makes music even of her most jagged lines, clear up to a sustained, climactic "scream" on high C.” Opera News, May 2014

“Benjamin’s score ranges from passages of exquisite iridescence, revealing his debt to Debussy and Ravel, to climaxes that explode with an orchestral violence new to his work...The cast is excellent, especially Barbara Hannigan as the wife, combining vocal trapeze-work with a thoroughly modern dramatic intensity, and Christopher Purves in the Golaud-like role of the husband...A new opera that will surely repay repeated viewings.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014

“This is one of the best filmed operas I’ve ever seen...Williams’ intelligent direction would be meaningless if the cast could not deliver: but they do … and magnificently. The quality of the acting is absolutely superb.” MusicWeb International, July 2014

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2014

Winner - Contemporary

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Region: 0

Format: NTSC

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OA1125D

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Benjamin, G: Written on Skin

Benjamin, G: Written on Skin

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, March 2013


Christopher Purves (Protector), Barbara Hannigan (Agnès), Bejun Mehta (First Angel/Boy), Victoria Simmonds (Second Angel/Marie) & Allan Clayton (Third Angel/John)

Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, George Benjamin (conductor) & Katie Mitchell (director)

Text: Martin Crimp

When Written on Skin had its premiere at the 2012 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, conducted by George Benjamin himself, it received a standing ovation. The opera's arrival at Covent Garden in 2013 was eagerly anticipated, and provided audiences with the opportunity to experience the work of two of Britain's greatest living artists. Benjamin previously collaborated with playwright Martin Crimp on Into the Little Hill, a magical retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale, and for this new work they joined forces with acclaimed stage director Katie Mitchell. For all three, the production marked their main-stage debut at the Royal Opera House.

The tale, inspired by a medieval legend, tells of an ill-fated troubadour, drawn into a liaison with an innocent maiden. But they are observed by the jealous eye of her protector, who wreaks a shocking revenge on the young couple.

Written on Skin draws on a 12th-century Occitan legend about the troubadour Guillaume de Cabestanh.

Extra features: Interview with George Benjamin, Introduction to Written on Skin and a Cast gallery.

Running time: 89 minutes

Subtitles EN/FR/DE/JA

Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS

“Benjamin's contribution is the most consistently impressive facet...Mehta makes much of the Boy's enigmatic presence without ever becoming a cipher for the vulnerabilities of others...The DVD conveys much of the claustrophobic power of this production...Make no mistake, this is an opera certain to endure.” International Record Review, March 2014

“This is an outstanding release in every way...Benjamin's extraordinary music is breathtaking in its lightly worn compositional virtuosity...The cast is sensational...Hannigan deserves all the superlatives in the dictionary...make no mistake: this is a true masterpiece.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 *****

Presto Discs of 2014

Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2014

Winner - Contemporary

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Opus Arte Royal Opera House Collection - OABD7136D

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