Sir George Benjamin's Lessons in Love and Violence

George Benjamin (music), Martin Crimp (text) — With Stéphane Degout (King), Barbara Hannigan (Isabel), Gyula Orendt (Gaveston/Stranger)...

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Martin Crimp — Libretto

Katie Mitchell — Stage director

Vicki Mortimer — Stage sets and costumes

James Farncombe — Lighting

Joseph Alford — Movement director

Stéphane Degout — King

Barbara Hannigan — Isabel

Gyula Orendt — Gaveston/Stranger

Peter Hoare — Mortimer

Samuel Boden — Boy/Young King

Jennifer France — Witness 1/Singer 1/Woman 1

Krisztina Szabó — Witness 2/Singer 2/Woman 2

Andri Björn Robertsson — Witness 3/Madman

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Program notes

The Royal Opera House presents the world premiere of Sir George Benjamin and British playwright Martin Crimp's new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence, with the composer himself at the podium! The production brings together soprano Barbara Hannigan, stage director Katie Mitchell, and designer Vicki Mortimer, reprising the creative team of their wildly successful 2012 Written on Skin that was hailed as "truly a 21st-century masterpiece" (The Times).

Commissioned by six institutions from five different countries, Lessons in Love and Violence draws on Elizabethan theater's quick scene changes and complex characters to ask very contemporary questions about the interactions of political power and familial love. The story explores the difficult choices of a king (played by French baritone Stéphane Degout) who must reconcile the political power he holds with his love for his family. His decisions throw his country into civil war, turning his wife and advisor against him and prompting his son to take action...

Photo: © Royal Opera House / Stephen Cummiskey

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