A first glimpse of George Benjamin's new opera Written on Skin, which premieres at the Aix-en-Provence Festival on 7 July before coming to Covent Garden in 2013.
As mentioned below, you can watch the whole thing from the comfort of the Institut français cinema on 14 July.
With the spare and (presumably) simplified piano accompaniment, I'm struck by how much the idiom seems to resemble the Britten of, say, Turn of the Screw or Lucretia. Not bad models, admittedly, but hardly the cutting-edge of modernism either. Whereas, perversely, for a work supposedly set in the early medieval period, that's a distinctly contemporary-looking set (still, at least it is a set, rather than the sort of misplaced Tate Turbine Hall installation that did duty for one in the ill-starred but aptly-named Miss Fortune)...
Intermezzo replies - I suspect it will sound almost unrecognisable fully orchestrated - that's where Benjamin is most innovative.
04 July 2012 at 01:10 AM
Last night, opening night, was like magic .
The music is outstanding with unheard ( to me!) amazing sounds from very special drums and beautiful singing echoing the last orchestral notes(like never ending, marvellous effects). The scenic volume is a bit similar to what I discovered in Al gran sole corico d'amore (Berlin, same director, Katie Mitchell, same baritone, Christopher Purves, excellent!) with division into rooms, upstairs, downstairs, inside, outside, for the purpose of the story, with actors, organising the story- telling from present to past.(another similarity for me with Al gran sole carico d'amore).
Violence seems to me, now, predominant and yet there are so many poetical moments. Bejun Mehta, as the Angel-Artist is the Perfection! His part is fantastic. It is a very modern vision of growing jealously and misunderstanding from a powerful man opposed to an unsatisfied fragile looking woman who seeks love (real?...)and finds it( very intense ) with the Artist. The couple Purves- Hannigan is also musically grand, as for the acting, they are simply devilish!
Last night the mezzo Mary(the wife's sister and Angel too) was sung by Rebecca Jo Loeb replacing Victoria Simmonds.
When George benjamin came on stage there was a thunder of applause. (he looked happy and worn out). I started taking some photos at the curtain calls, and was told off... !
For me, it was a smashing night.
Broadcast on Arte live web and Medeci TV on July the 14th. 0n France musique, August the 27th 8pm.
08 July 2012 at 03:13 PM
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daddy I want a harpsichord