Barbara Hannigan - Taking Risks

The singer and conductor debuts as an opera conductor

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Natalie Dessay — Soprano

Daniel Harding — Conductor

Reinbert de Leeuw — Conductor

Cast of The Rake's Progress

Aphrodite Patoulidou — Soprano

William Morgan — Tenor

Ziad Nehme — Tenor

Kate Howden — Mezzo-soprano

Erik Rosenius — Bass

John Taylor Ward — Bass-baritone

Gothenburg Symphony Vocal Ensemble

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Barbara Hannigan — Conductor

Program notes

The indefatigable Barbara Hannigan (b. 1971) always finds a way to juggle her parallel careers as superstar soprano and dynamo conductor. This documentary grants us an up-close look at her rigorous process as she auditions, selects, and coaches the soloists in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, her first experience conducting a full-length opera. A consummate artist unafraid to take risks, Hannigan meets every challenge with strength and intelligence.

Founded by Hannigan, the Equilibrium Young Artists program—in its first edition here—affords a hand-picked group of up-and-coming singers the opportunity to learn from Hannigan’s expert mentorship as they prepare this semi-staged production of the 1951 Stravinsky opera, a vocal and theatrical jewel. These six gifted musicians benefit from talks with Hannigan and other classical music legends, invaluable moments of introspection and reflection, and an unforgettable onstage experience.

“I’m making this strange, funny path as a singer-conductor,” Hannigan says, looking to the future, “and eventually I’ll just be a conductor.” Her impressive work in this traditionally male-dominated milieu already marks her as one of today’s most important conductors—and it is clear her legacy will only continue to grow.

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