‘It should be white and red’ for Canada: Hannigan marks Grammy win with vino


Nova Scotia soprano Barbara Hannigan toasted her first Grammy Award with a glass of wine in Hamburg, Germany.

While it’s an ocean away from music’s biggest night in New York, Hannigan said that didn’t stop her from cracking open a bottle to celebrate her win for classical solo vocal album.

“It’s a drag that I’m all alone, but I’m still dancing around,” the contemporary opera singer said in a phone call from her apartment.

“I’m having a glass of wine. It’s white. It should be white and red for the Canadian flag, actually.”

Hannigan wasn’t able to make the Grammys because she was coming off opening night for her latest opera.

She also wasn’t expecting her album “Crazy Girl Crazy” to take home a golden gramophone.

The singer considered the project an outlier among her fellow nominees, partly because she played roles as vocalist, co-arranger and conductor. It’s the sort of complex multi-tasking few musicians are willing to take on.

“I was facing the orchestra while we were recording,” she said.

There was “a microphone in front of me … plus a microphone taped to my forehead, plus I’m conducting them and singing at the same time.”

Hannigan, who was born in Waverley, N.S., started conducting after others suggested her “natural leadership quality” would translate well into the role.

She “then tried singing and conducting at the same time,” she said. “It just became part of my life quite quickly — and in a very special way.”

Hannigan recruited Amsterdam’s Ludwig Orchestra to perform with her on “Crazy Girl Crazy.” She said the orchestra has only existed for about a decade, which makes the Grammy win especially meaningful.

“For them to be with me — and that we win this Grammy together — it’s very special,” she said.

“I think it will open a lot of doors for them.”

Hannigan was one of four Canadians to score Grammys in the pre-telecast awards ceremony.

The Weeknd’s “Starboy” picked up best urban contemporary album, giving the Toronto performer his third Grammy.

Leonard Cohen’s song “You Want It Darker” received a Grammy for best rock performance. Taken from his album of the same name, it marks the first solo Grammy win for the late Montreal singer-songwriter, who died in November 2016.

He previously won for his contribution to “River: The Joni Letters” and a received a lifetime achievement award at the 2010 ceremony.

Sound engineer Charles Moniz, who grew up in Burlington, Ont., pocketed his third Grammy for his work on “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars. The album scored best engineered album, non-classical. Moniz was nominated for another two during the televised portion of the ceremony.

David Friend, The Canadian Press