In spring 2023 George Benjamin’s opera Lessons in Love and Violence will receive a new production in Zürich - its first since the 2018 premiere, devised by Katie Mitchell for the Royal Opera House.
Opernhaus Zürich’s production is directed by Evgeny Titov, whose previous credits include Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (Staatstheatre Wiesbaden) and Oedipe (Komische Oper). Designs, costumes, and lighting will be from Rufus Didwiszys, Falk Bauer, and Martin Gebhardt respectively. Ilan Volkov conducts Benjamin’s score, described in the Financial Times as “brilliantly clear and full of half-suggested meanings”.
Martin Crimp’s text for Lessons in Love and Violence is a potent brew of politics, sexuality, and human frailty. Across two unbroken parts the opera tells the story of Edward II’s relationship with his advisor Gaveston, and the deadly machinations of Edward’s wife Isabel and military advisor Mortimer. In Zürich the King will be sung by baritone Lauri Vasar, Isabel by soprano Jeanine de Bique, Mortimer by tenor Mark Milhofer, and the Boy/Young King by Sunnyboy Dlada.
The opera has previously recieved performances in Lyon, Hamburg, and Barcelona, with stagings in Chicago and Madrid postponed owing to Covid-19. The US concert premiere of the piece will take place on 8 August at the Tangelwood Festival, with the composer conducting.
Lessons in Love and Violence receives 8 performances beginning 23 May 2023. Tickets and details available here.