Barbara Hannigan launches mentoring momentum

The Canadian soprano has rallied international performers to take young aspirants on stage with them during the post-Covid depression.

Using the politically questionable title ‘Momentum’, she has recruited these eminences to her scheme:

Antonio Pappano, Daniel Harding, Barbara Hannigan, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Nicola Benedetti, Susanna Mälkki, Francois-Xavier Roth, George Benjamin, Alisa Weilerstein, Kirill Gerstein, Vladimir Jurowski, Simon Rattle, Leif Ove Andsnes, Natalie Dessay, Karina Canellakis, Rolando Villazón, Mark Elder, Esa Pekka Salonen, Simon Keenlyside, Dame Sarah Connolly, Mark Padmore, Carolyn Sampson, Christopher Maltman, Jakub Hrusa, Cristian Macelaru, Marc Minkowski, Hannu Lintu, Malcolm Martineau, Alice Coote, Bertrand Chamayou, Matthias Pintscher, Allan Clayton, Renaud Capuçon, Lars Vogt, Lahav Shani, Alexandre Tharaud, Thomas Adès, Michael Seal, Florian Boesch, Stephane Degout and Roderick Williams. Performing organisations include the Munich Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, OAE, LSO, Britten Pears Arts, Wigmore Hall, Swedish Radio, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Ojai Festival, Bamberg Symphoniker and Gothenburg Symphony.

The first Momentum event is tomorrow at Snape Maltings, where the Ukrainian baritone Yuriy Yurchuk will be accompanied on the piano by Pappano, who says: ‘It is vital that we all look to support the next generation of performing talent, not least at this difficult time.’

 

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  • No, No, NO!!! No objections to her using a perfectly good word like “Momentum.” Enough of this letting perfectly beautiful English words be co-opted by one group or other, to the point that they cannot be used in their original context any longer. It’s got to the stage that if I say it’s ages since I saw a rainbow people look at me funny. And of course if I wanted to use a lovely synonym for light-hearted and carefree that is also the forename of two women friends of mine…well, suffice it to say, that is no longer the first definition of it in the dictionary.

    So please do not even suggest not using the perfectly good word “Momentum” because a certain bunch of British Labour supporters, with what some of us might recall as a militant tendency, have taken it as their name. They are perfectly entitled to, as is this group. It is a serviceable but attractive word, and has a very clear physical meaning that applies to both.

    It has also been used as a title of songs, movies, other arts, and is the name of a Catholic magazine, a ballet school, a film distribution company and much more. It is of course Latin in origin and its principal English meaning is in physics, most familiarly in Newtonian mechanics.

    A serviceable word, used here quite appropriately. It’s a great plan, its name contains its intent, and she should be applauded for thinking of both.

  • I admire Hannigan’s singing and her proactive work in collaborating with other performers, but this latest initiative sounds insultingly patronising to the young performers involved. They may not be as experienced as the ‘mentors’, and (like any performer at any age) they may have more to learn, but if they are good enough to be treated as full professionals hired on merit, please do not diminish their legitimacy by portraying them primarily as apprentices.

    Intergenerational collaboration between professional performers should be an unremarkable norm, rather than a special scheme dressed-up with a fancy title. I feel enormously fortunate to play in a small professional ensemble where, despite being the youngest and least experienced player by far, I am treated as a peer (even to the extent of being paid the same as the other players), not as an apprentice.

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