'Written on Skin' creates ‘an historic evening in The Amsterdam Music Theatre’

'Written on Skin' creates ‘an historic evening in The Amsterdam Music Theatre’
Following the rapturous response to George Benjamin’s opera Written on Skin at its Aix-en-Provence premiere this summer, the production now begins a year-long tour of Europe’s major opera houses (see below). First stop in October was Amsterdam's De Nederlandse Opera, where the press were just as glowing in their assessment of this masterful opera, praising its 'wounderous beauty' and 'sensual, harrowing score.' The work now travels to:
 
Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse (co-commissioner) – November 2012
Royal Opera House, London (co-commissioner) – March 2013
Maggio Musicale, Florence (co-commissioner)– May 2013
Theater an der Wien, Vienna – June 2013
Bavarian State Opera, , Munich – July 2013
Opéra Comique, Festival d’Automne, Paris – November 2013

***The vocal score of Written on Skin is available to buy here***

 
Press
‘wondrous beauty’
‘a feast for the ears’
'sensual, harrowing score'
‘an historic evening in The Amsterdam Music Theatre’
'Gesamtkunstwerk… the only suitable way to describe Written on Skin’
 
 
‘Superior sounds of a grand master ‘
*****
‘Only one possible conclusion: with Written on Skin, Benjamin has surpassed towering expectations...The piece is of wondrous beauty, a miracle of timbral inventiveness, harmonic and melodic beauty and expressiveness...The singers are sensational... In short: this is definitely a highlight in the period-Audi at the Dutch Opera. Go there.’
Parool (Erik Voermans), 8 October 2012
 
‘Sizzling emotions in dollhouse’
****
‘The new opera by George Benjamin and the librettist Martin Crimp was the sensation at the Festival of Aix-en-Provence last summer...The opera is set in an enlarged dollhouse... This reinforces the duality of the opera, a play with distance and closeness that Martin Crimp's text constantly exploits. Katie Mitchell ties in nicely in her direction to’
De Volkskrant (Biella Luttmer), 8 October 2012

****
‘Such an opera pushes the genre extremely well into the new century, the guarantee of a future. Innovative music, with a very personal sound. And that combined with a strong and poetic libretto by Martin Crimp and perfectly tailored direction by Katie Mitchell. It was in short an historic evening in The Amsterdam Music Theatre... The music of Benjamin is at times brilliant... Come and see!’
Wedding (Peter van der Ribbon), 8 October 2012

‘Benjamin carves traces in the soul’
****
‘Benjamin's score is a feast for the ears. Especially in the perfect performance conducted by the composer himself and in the sometimes blood-curdling share of singers like countertenor
Bejun Mehta and soprano Elin Rombo. The composer describes his latest opera as a lyric drama, but you might as well call it a surreal fairy tale or a Strindbergiaans psychodrama. In any event, it carves traces in the soul and you can not say that of any other modern opera.’
Newspaper Theatre (Oswin Schneeweisz), 8 October 2012

‘Opera that glows with female desire'
****
‘Written on Skin is unforgettable due to the boundless subtlety of the score, rich bubbling desire, resentment and curiosity…’
NRC Handelsblad (Mischa Game), 8 October 2012

‘Surpassingly beautiful.’
Groene Amsterdammer (Max Arian), 11 October 2012

Written on Skin is a jewel’

****
‘Benjamin depicts characters and situations with the finest imaginable brush... The whole performance radiates a rare devotion.’
The Telegraph (Eddie Vetter), 12 October 2012

‘A Medieval Love Story of Vast Proportions’
‘The word Gesamtkunstwerk, or "a total work of art," is usually reserved to invoke the mammoth ambitions of Wagner's four-part Ring cycle, but it is also the only suitable way to describe a short new opera called Written on Skin by British composer George Benjamin and British playwright Martin Crimp. Compressed into a single 90-minute act… [it] is no less impressive in stature… The stunning libretto, which uses spare language to reference everything from the Book of Genesis to parking garages, manages to be in every way the equal of Mr. Benjamin's sensual, harrowing score.’
Wall Street Journal (J.S. Marcus), 18 October 2012
 
‘Stretching the Boundaries of Opera’
'Mr. Crimp's literate, dramatically strong libretto inspired a superb score... Mr. Benjamin, a former student of Olivier Messiaen and Alexander Goehr, remains true to his modernist roots while showing an unusually keen ear for sonorities... Ms. Mitchell's direction deals compellingly with the opera's deliberate pacing by ensuring that the principals' every gesture has meaning... Mr. Benjamin himself conducts, drawing playing from the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra that has all the precision and nuance his new score requires.’
International Herald Tribune (George Loomis), 17 October 2012