Christopher Purves (Protector), Barbara Hannigan (Agnès), Bejun Mehta (First Angel/Boy), Victoria Simmonds (Second Angel/Marie) Allan Clayton (Third Angel/John)
Royal Opera Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, George Benjamin (conductor) Katie Mitchell (director) Martin Crimp (text)
Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, March 2013
When Written on Skin had its premiere at the 2012 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, conducted by George Benjamin himself, it received a standing ovation. The opera's arrival at Covent Garden in 2013 was eagerly anticipated, and provided audiences with the opportunity to experience the work of two of Britain's greatest living artists.
Benjamin previously collaborated with playwright Martin Crimp on Into the Little Hill, a magical retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale, and for this new work they joined forces with acclaimed stage director Katie Mitchell. For all three, the production marked their main-stage debut at the Royal Opera House.
The tale, inspired by a medieval legend, tells of an ill-fated troubadour, drawn into a liaison with an innocent maiden. But they are observed by the jealous eye of her protector, who wreaks a shocking revenge on the young couple.
Written on Skin draws on a 12th-century Occitan legend about the troubadour Guillaume de Cabestanh.
Sound format: 2.0LPCM + 5.1(5.0) DTS Extra features: Interview with George Benjamin, Introduction to Written on Skin and a Cast gallery. Subtitles: English, French, German, Japanese Running time: 89 minutes
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“This is an outstanding release in every way...Benjamin's extraordinary music is breathtaking in its lightly worn compositional virtuosity...The cast is sensational...Hannigan deserves all the superlatives in the dictionary...make no mistake: this is a true masterpiece.”
“Benjamin's contribution is the most consistently impressive facet...Mehta makes much of the Boy's enigmatic presence without ever becoming a cipher for the vulnerabilties of others...The DVD conveys much of the claustrophobic power of this production...Make no mistake, this is an opera certain to endure.”