18 June 2013 at 4.25pm | 2 Comments
Christopher Purves as Protector, Bejun Mehta as Boy and Barbara Hannigan as Agnès in Written on Skin © 2012 ROH/Stephen Cummiskey
George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s ground-breaking Written on Skin will be broadcast by BBC Radio 3 this Saturday (22 June) at 6pm. It will also be shown on television by BBC Four at 7.30pm on Friday 28 June.
The opera, which had its premiere at the 2012 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, was a hit with audiences and critics alike when it opened in London earlier this season.
Based on an 800-year-old fable called Le Coeur Mangé (The Eaten Heart), Written on Skin is a dark and powerful tale about violence, passion and revenge. Find out more in our Opera Essentials article.
The staging and rehearsals
Described in the Telegraph as ‘enthralling and enchanting’, the production features a 60-piece orchestra, a cast of five acclaimed singers (including Christopher Purves and Barbara Hannigan), and a dark and dramatic staging by Katie Mitchell. Watch a clip of rehearsals, including Martin, Barbara and Christopher speaking about the opera’s themes:
George worked very closely with the artists to compose the score, creating roles especially for their voices. Find out more about writing the opera from the creative team.
The CD recording of Written on Skin is also available to buy online, and the production has been recorded for release on DVD in due course. It will be revived by The Royal Opera in 2017.
Watch George speaking about the process of composing the opera:
A hit that will lead to future collaboration
Following the success of Written on Skin, The Royal Opera has commissioned another new full-length opera from George and Martin. The as-yet-untitled opera, which is expected to be created in partnership with several other opera companies, will have its world premiere at Covent Garden in 2018. Find out more about the new commission.
Other BBC Radio 3 broadcasts in the current series of Opera on 3 include Benjamin Britten's Gloriana, which will be broadcast live on 29 June at 6pm.