Sir George Benjamin's Written on Skin

George Benjamin (conductor), Katie Mitchell (stage director) — With Christopher Purves (The Protector), Barbara Hannigan (Agnès)...

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Martin Crimp — Libretto

Katie Mitchell — Stage director

Vicki Mortimer — Costumes, scenography

Jon Clark — Lighting

Christopher Purves — The Protector

Barbara Hannigan — Agnès

Bejun Mehta — Angel 1 – The Boy

Victoria Simmonds — Angel 2 – Marie

Allan Clayton — Angel 3 – John

Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Sir George Benjamin — Conductor

Program notes

With Sir George Benjamin conducting, Barbara Hannigan as Agnès, Christopher Purves as the landowner, and Bejun Mehta as the amorous artist, the world premiere production of Written on Skin was a wild success, declared by ecstatic music critics to be the “best opera written in the past 20 years.” (Renaud Machart, Le Monde July 9th, 2012) This filmed version of Written on Skin captures that world premiere performance at the 2012 Festival d'Aix-en-Provence.

Inspired by a 12th-century Occitan legend, Written on Skin tells a tale of burning passions and barbaric acts. A rich landowner (Christopher Purves) invites an artist (Bejun Mehta) to his home to complete an illuminated book depicting his despotic power over both his wife Agnès (Barbara Hannigan) and their servants. Tired of being seen as a helpless child by her husband, Agnès attempts to influence the book’s writing, hoping to reveal who she truly is. Agnès forms a close relationship with the artist (“The Boy”), and the two eventually fall in love, beginning their journey toward their horrible end...

Picture: © Festival d'Aix-en-Provence 2012 @ArtcomArt/P.Victor

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