This collection consists of George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s two award-winning full-length operas, in visually stunning productions by critically acclaimed director Katie Mitchell.
Written on Skin has been hailed as ‘magic and irresistible … the best opera written over the last twenty years’ (Le Monde). It tells the story of a cruel and powerful Protector who asks a mysterious Boy to create an illuminated book to celebrate his wealth and family. He invites the Boy into his home, little realizing that this will lead to a journey of startling, joyful and ultimately tragic self-discovery for his oppressed and much younger wife Agnès.
Drawing on the real-life relationship between Edward II and Piers Gaveston, Lessons in Love and Violence explores how personal relationships can have fatal political consequences. The King lives in a close but uneasy relationship with his wife Isabel, their two children and his lover Gaveston. When the King banishes his military advisor Mortimer, he sets off a chain of devastating events.
The composer conducts two superb international casts, including soprano Barbara Hannigan, who appears in the leading roles of Agnès and Isabel.
Written on Skin
The Protector: Christopher Purves
Agnès: Barbara Hannigan
Angel 1 / The Boy: Bejun Mehta
Angel 2 / Marie: Victoria Simmonds
Angel 3 / John: Allan Clayton
Lessons in Love and Violence
King: Stéphane Degout
Isabel: Barbara Hannigan
Gaveston / Stranger: Gyula Orendt
Mortimer: Peter Hoare
Boy, Late Young King: Samuel Boden
Girl: Ocean Barrington-Cook
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor: George Benjamin
Music: George Benjamin
Text: Martin Crimp
Director: Katie Mitchell
Designer: Vicki Mortimer
Directed for the screen by Margaret Williams
Extra Features: An Introduction to Written on Skin; Interview with George Benjamin; Clemency Burton-Hill interviews George Benjamin, Martin Crimp and Katie Mitchell; Cast Galleries