Viewing entries by
Elodie Olson-Coons

With Every Sound: Barbara Hannigan and the Art of Witnessing

With Every Sound: Barbara Hannigan and the Art of Witnessing

A feature by Elodie Olson-Coons

. . . Being a woman conductor and being a singer who is also a conductor are rare enough occurrences individually. A woman who conducts and sings at once, in the same performances, and to rave reviews? A rara avis indeed. Watching her take on this incredibly balancing act, one is made aware once more of her sheer physical and mental strength. Her arms are another voice: trained; rippling with strength and emotion—yet another stark marker of the sheer discipline with which she approaches her work. At times, her love of a challenge seems to go even beyond discipline. Writing about the difficulties of playing Lulu, she also writes about her enjoyment of those difficulties: “It hurt like hell and I loved it,” she says of her first time in pointe shoes. “I couldn't wait to lace up every morning. I loved that a doctor had to come to my dressing room after the second performance because as soon as I was offstage I could barely walk.” . . .