Unsuk Chin and Barbara Hannigan about “Le Silence des Sirènes” (10 min.)
Hardly any singer works together as intensively or as regularly with contemporary composers as the Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan. The audience of the Berliner Philharmoniker has heard her in recent years in – among other things – works by Henri Dutilleux, Hans Abrahamsen and György Ligeti. The Korean Unsuk Chin developed her scene for soprano and orchestra entitled Le Silence des Sirènes in close cooperation with Hannigan and composed it with the wide-ranging vocal abilities of the soprano in mind. Unsuk Chin, one of the most successful composers of our time, refers in this work to the Greek myth of the sirens who lured sailors to their destruction in the depths of the sea with their singing. While the text is a collage of Homer’s Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses, in her title, Chin cites a prose work by Franz Kafka. To mark the German premiere in June 2015 with Hannigan and the Berliner Philharmoniker headed by Sir Simon Rattle, the singer and the composer talked about the composition and their work together.