It is complex!. She is like a hero, she's that horrible heroine," she said, laughing. And her performances are bringing the house down in concert halls across Europe with her show-stopping signature piece — Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre.’ "So while I was singing Mozart and Bach I was also singing Ligeti and Boulez and Stockhausen."She is absolutely desperate and possessed by her lover but she has also possessed him.The Canadian soprano is rewriting the rules of classical music not just as a performer but as a conductor. She's not a submissive type of woman.With looks often described as straight out of a Bond film, Barbara Hannigan strides on to lead the orchestra dressed in vampy black leather, bondage boots and a wig.But Hannigan not only conducts, she sings at the same time.Hannigan first got noticed in a 2002 tongue-in-cheek "soap opera" called Toothpaste about a couple who spilt up because she leaves the lid off the "Phu'-King" toothpaste."Mommy, I didn't know women were allowed to be conductors," a friend's daughter once said when she saw her take the stage. We don't know who has done what, but I think that she has given him as much pain as he has given her. I'm constantly moving, and so as a singer and a performer I move constantly too — to be static is not in my nature."I was 17 years old when I sang my first world premiere. You don't care!, it is a far cry from great lyric roles many young opera singers dream of, but by that stage Hannigan had long realised she had a gift for making new or so-called difficult music accessible. I never sit down.She won further fans touring Europe in George Benjamin's opera Written on Skin and brings a similar charge and virtuosity to the desperate woman, all tears and running mascara, on the end of a phone in Francis Poulenc's monologue La voix humaine (The Human Voice) now playing at the Paris Opera until December 12. Now one of the most sought-after singers in the world, known for her fearless performances as much as her voice's "extraterrestrial" intensity, Hannigan's trajectory has however been nothing if not untypical. So it was normal for me to work with composers. "Here, look at this Ligati score, which I will conduct in the spring.At an age when many sopranos begin fearing their careers might be nearing an end, hers only really took off internationally when she turned 40. ‘Avoided the mirror’She acknowledged that many singers found new music difficult. She made her name with her fearless portrayal of the eponymous femme fatale in Alan Berg's erotic opera Lulu at La Monnaie in Brussels in 2012, directed by the controversial Polish maestro Krzysztof Warlikowski.Her character in The Human Voice is often played as a victim, but Hannigan sees her as the opposite.Instead of playing Lulu as a man-eater who gets her comeuppance, Hannigan said she saw her as a survivor who is "always true to herself"."
It is the contrast between her cool beauty and the passion and insight she brings to her roles that, critics say, sets Hannigan apart. I never was told, ‘Dont do this, it's bad for you. I realised I had a talent for this music and I love it," she said.Brought up in rural Nova Scotia, somewhere more associated with folk and country music than the avant-garde, she has become the go-to interpreter of cutting-edge contemporary music.With such lines as, I must suffer crusty toothpaste. "To be honest I also know my system and I like to move. ‘The body is an instrument’ "For me the body is an instrument, the entire body, everything, including the toes," Hannigan, now 44, said. "I have always Temper furnace been involved in training the body, because I want everything to respond at the same level as my voice.