The Barbican Centre’s innovative Great Performers season for 07/08 includes UK premieres of two major new works by Kaija Saariaho: the oratorio La Passion de Simone ; and Adriana Mater , the opera that premiered at the Bastille in 2006. There will also be an important performance of Quatre Instants , songs for Karita Mattila and orchestra. In July, the Barbican’s collaboration with Peter Sellars’ Viennese based festival, New Crowned Hope, brings the second performance of La Passion de Simone, an oratorio for soprano, chorus, orchestra and electronics. The work penetrates the life and spiritual world of French-Jewish feminist philosopher and mathematician Simone Weil who, in 1943, made the ultimate sacrifice, dying of starvation after refusing to eat more food than her fellow countrymen in the Nazi death camps. The work was written for Dawn Upshaw who performs it for the first time at the Barbican. A brilliant interpreter of Saariaho’s performances, and indeed these three works in different contexts, is conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. In November he presents Quatre Instants, a set of songs written especially for soprano Karita Mattila, with his orchestra the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Salonen goes on to conduct La Passion de Simone in Helsinki, Stockholm and Los Angeles at the end of the year. He also conducted the premiere performances of Adriana Mater in Paris in 2006. Another regular collaborator and intrinsic element of these three works is the Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf who has presented texts for them all. In April next year the BBCSO, also champions of Saariaho’s work, will present a concert staging of her second opera, Adriana Mater, in which Saraiaho and Maalouf take as their theme, the brutality of war. Performed by the majority of the premiere cast, the work is conducted by Edward Gardner.