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Barbara Hannigan records her first album as singer and conductor!

Published on Monday, July 24, 2017

Barbara Hannigan records her first album as singer and conductor, to be released on Alpha in September 2017 with a film directed by Mathieu Amalric.

Whether singing, conducting, dancing or acting, the Canadian sopranoBarbara Hannigan is an endless source of fascination. Alpha Classics is proud to enter her world and present her very first album as both singer and conductor. With the Amsterdam-based orchestra Ludwig, of which she is associate artist, Barbara Hannigan has devised a programme including Berg’sLulu Suite, music from Gershwin’s Girl Crazy - in a new arrangement by the multi-award-winning American composer Bill Elliott - and, to complement these two pieces, she opens the album with Berio’s spectacular Sequenza III for solo voice.

An outstanding soprano, a distinguished interpreter of the music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, a ground-breaking musician 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 large part of her career to conducting.

This album, entitled Crazy Girl Crazy, binds together the character of Lulu, a pivotal role in Barbara Hannigan’s career, with the heroines of Gershwin’s musical comedies and their famous songs such as Embraceable You and I Got Rhythm, and Sequenza III, Berio’s incredible musical sculpture built from words and the female voice: the result is an album that forms an evocative portrait of the artist.

Barbara Hannigan comments “Crazy Girl Crazy is a hall of mirrors, with Berio’s Sequenza III and Gershwin's Girl Crazy Suite serving as reflections of Lulu from varying angles and stages of her life. Her blood runs through the veins of all three works presented here. Musically, the jazz elements would be one obvious link between the two pieces, as well as the lush vocal themes and the urgency of the extreme emotional content, but it is the larger concept of human beings in crazy love and obsession, in the midst of maddening heartbreak, searching for home, and finding it in the rhythm of their own heartbeat, which connects the music.”

For this recording, Barbara Hannigan called on an orchestra with which she has had a very special rapport ever since it was founded in 2011: Ludwig, a collective composed of the finest instrumentalists from the leading Dutch and international orchestras, which dares to stage quirky, innovative programmes.

The very first moments of the rehearsals forCrazy Girl Crazy were filmed by Mathieu Amalric, the celebrated French actor and director who won the Best Director Award at the Cannes Festival in 2010 for his film On Tour (Tournée) as well as a special award created at Cannes in 2017, the ‘prize for the poetry of cinema’, for his latest film. Mathieu Amalric first met the soprano when they worked together on a renowned film for the 3èmeScène programme of the Opéra de Paris. For their on-camera reunion, Amalric plunges into the heart of the orchestra and Barbara, with an intimate look at their journey. The DVD of the film, entitled Music is music, will be included with the album Crazy Girl Crazy.


BERG Lulu Suite (1934)

GERSHWIN Girl Crazy Suite , arranged by Bill ELLIOTT & Barbara HANNIGAN ; Orchestrated by Bill ELLIOTT

BERIO Sequenza III for voice (1965)

BARBARA HANNIGAN , soprano and conductor


DVD : Music is Music, a film directed by Mathieu Amalric (20 minutes, 2017)


CRAZY GIRL CRAZY CONCERTS with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

6 October 2017: Grenoble MC2

8 October 2017: Paris, Auditorium Maison de la Radio


CRAZY GIRL CRAZY TOUR with Ludwig Orchestra

4 December 2017: Amsterdam, Het Concertgebouw

5 December 2017: Luxemburg, Philharmonie

7 December 2017: Vienna, Wiener Konzerthaus

11 December 2017: Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie

13 December 2017: Aix-en-Provence, Grande Théâtre de Provence

15 December 2017: Dortmund, Konzerthaus


MASTER (Soundcloud)


FILM Premières Répétitions, by Mathieu Amalric (Arte.TV, produced by Camera Lucida)

DEBUSSY // LA MER & ARIETTES OUBLIÉES - R. Ticciati, M. Kožená, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

Published on Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DEBUSSY // LA MER & ARIETTES OUBLIÉES - R. Ticciati, M. Kožená, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin


Published on Monday, May 15, 2017



The year 1567 saw the birth of Claudio Monteverdi in Cremona. Born and raised as he was in a city that was already an important centre of string instrument making, it is scarcely surprising that the celebrated musician first became known as an instrumentalist.  It was certainly as a player of the viol that he was engaged at the Court of Mantua before becoming its maestro di capella; after which, in Venice, he went on to dominate the musical life of his time – in church as well as at the opera. His reputation was already immense, though quite a few of his colleagues must also have had a share in giving birth to the new musical language.

After his fall into neglect, his rediscovery allowed us to take stock of his importance, and it was only fitting that one of the first studies dedicated to him, Leo Schrade‘s Monteverdi: Creator of Modern Music (1950), unhesitatingly acknowledged his major role in musical history.

Since its foundation in 1980, RICERCAR has dedicated several of its recordings to his music, beginning with some of his Motteti a voce sola recorded in 1982 by the late Henri Ledroit. With Jean Tubéry’s ensemble LA FENICE a set of seven discs were conceived illustrating aspects of Italian music at the beginning of the seventeenth century, each disc exploring the vast and varied repertoire of the great Claudio’s all-embracing musical personality. For the occasion of this present anniversary, The Heritage of Monteverdi has now been re-issued in a box-set that has already received extremely laudatory commendations (the DIAPASON D’OR and CLASSICA’s CHOC award).

In the History of Early Music on which I embarked some years ago, in the form of books accompanied by recorded musical illustrations, an entire volume (RIC 107) was dedicated to the world of Italian music at the time of Monteverdi, demonstrating the crucial role played by the celebrated Cremonese master among the host of composers who surrounded him. (It received CLASSICA’s CHOC award as well as CRESCENDO’s JOKER.)

Recently RICERCAR was able to bring to light some compositions by Monteverdi in ‘first world performances’. These are the three Marian motets included in the recording of his Missa in illo tempore by ODHECATON, as well as the first complete recording of the Prologue that Monteverdi wrote for the performances of La Maddalena at Mantua in 1617, in an extremely fine interpretation by SCHERZI MUSICALI.

This year the celebration continues with a CD dedicated to Music at the Court of Mantua at the time of Monteverdi. This programme, devised by CLEMATIS, is centred around the importance of his instrumental works. These represent an aspect of his personality that is too often overlooked. And yet his brother Giulio Cesare reminds us in a letter of the remarkable nature of Claudio’s improvisations on the viola bastarda. At the time he arrived at the court instrumental music played an important role there, dominated by several celebrated instrumentalists: chief among them the violinist Salomone Rossi, a virtuoso whose compositions in this recorded programme show the wealth of instrumental music flourishing at the Mantuan court. Yet Monteverdi himself is equally a master in the domain of instrumental writing, handling it with exceptional skill, as one can hear in the ballets of his opera Orfeo, as well as in the Ballo delle ingrate and in certain madrigals such as Tempro la cetra, where the concertante role of the instruments is a fundamental feature. This evocation of Mantuan music at the time of Monteverdi also offers us the irresistable Ballo di Mantova, a popular song that has inspired innumerable instrumental versions.

Finally, an event to be eagerly awaited – Marianna Flores and the CAPPELLA MEDITERRANEA of Leonardo Gracía Alarcón are preparing a recording of solo vocal pieces (‘a voce sola’) that will be issued at the beginning of 2018.

English translator: John Thornley

Bernard Foccroulle gets an award at The International Opera Awards ceremony!

Published on Friday, May 12, 2017

We are proud to announce that Bernard Foccroulle (Festival d'Aix-en-Provence) is the winner of the Good Governance Institute Award for Leadership at The International Opera Awards ceremony!

More info here!