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James H. North
Fanfare, September 2015

BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (NTSC) OA1125D
BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7136D

The three major roles are exquisitely done; in his roles of Angel 1 and The Boy, Bejun Mehta sings like an angel. So does Hannigan, who is also a fine stage as well as vocal actress; we suffer and grieve with her Agnès.

Written on Skin is a powerful opera, musically and dramatically. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Ken Smith
Gramophone, December 2014

BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (NTSC) OA1125D
BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7136D

…Katie Mitchell’s original production matches visual layers to musical ones—with subtitles to catch every turn in Martin Crimp’s text. © 2014 Gramophone

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, July 2014

…this DVD presents a great opera with a gripping story, original and compelling music, superb performances, wonderful stage direction and textbook level film direction. It will appeal strongly to opera aficionados, anyone who has enjoyed Benjamin’s earlier music, and the sort of people who like intelligent spoken theatre but tend to be suspicious, sometimes with good reason, of modern opera. It rewards repeated reviewing and deep imaginative engagement… © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2014

BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (NTSC) OA1125D
BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7136D

This video-production does not simply show the best contemporary opera since years, it is uniting excellence at every level, from the orchestra and the singers to the sublime staging and the outstanding camera work. Benjamin couldn’t have asked more for his awe-inspiring music. © 2014 Pizzicato

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, May 2014

…the musical and dramatic production here is superb. The Royal Opera orchestra plays wonderfully, and all five solo singers are excellent.

…this is a great production of a work that needs to be heard and seen. There is a short video bonus and an excellent essay in the booklet, along with a detailed synopsis. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Henson Keys
Parterre Box, April 2014

Seen in this DVD from Opus Arte, the work has a great deal going for it: an impeccable cast of committed singing actors, Benjamin himself as conductor, a libretto…by the modernist British playwright Martin Crimp, and the excellent forces of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

Written On Skin is an admirable musical exploration of the darkest sides of human nature.

The scenes build toward the harrowing climax where Agnes is forced to eat the heart of The Boy—a scene so stunning that it’s barely watchable—and, afterwards, there is no alternative to the suicidal outcome. In these moments of horror, Crimp’s text and Benjamin’s music truly come together to make a powerful statement. And, throughout, the extraordinary depth of characterization and ravishing singing from Hannigan, Mehta, and Purves is thrilling to see and hear. © 2014 Parterre Box Read complete review

Christopher Dingle
BBC Music Magazine, April 2014

BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (NTSC) OA1125D
BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7136D

This is an outstanding release in every way. The scenario of Written on Skin is a straightforward story of illicit love, set in a time of the troubadors, but knowingly and constantly viewed from the 21st century, the characters stylised in a way that paradoxically makes them all the more believable. © 2014 BBC Music Magazine

Richard Fairman
Gramophone, April 2014

BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (NTSC) OA1125D
BENJAMIN, G.: Written On Skin (Royal Opera House, 2013) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7136D

This live recording from the Royal Opera House preserves the original production by Katie Mitchell and gives powerful visual representation to an opera that is to a large extent a drama of the mind.

Filming and sound are both excellent…The cast is excellent, especially Barbara Hannigan as the wife, combining vocal trapeze-work with a thoroughly modern dramatic intensity, and Christopher Purves in the Golaud-like role of the husband…A new opera that will surely repay repeated viewings. © 2014 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Weininger
The Boston Globe, March 2014

All of the principals give searing performances. Christopher Purves is a bluntly uncomprehending Protector, and countertenor Bejun Mehta is simultaneously daring and naive as the Boy. But no one makes a stronger impression than soprano Barbara Hannigan as the tortured and ultimately defiant Agnès. Benjamin conducts his own score, perfectly attuned to the singers. This is essential viewing and listening for anyone interested in opera—or music more generally—today. © 2014 The Boston Globe Read complete review

Daniel Foley
The WholeNote, February 2014

Benjamin’s chromatic vocal writing is consistently mellifluous and his sensitive and radiant orchestration never fails to impress. Mehta’s eerie male soprano perfectly conveys his otherworldly, angelic character, Purves’ insightful interpretation lends an element of humanity to his nefarious character and Hannigan’s moving portrayal of a woman coming to self-awareness is both vocally gorgeous and dramatically incisive. © 2014 The WholeNote Read complete review

Steven Bergman
EDGE on the Net, February 2014

Baritone Christopher Purves…gives a strong performance as the Protector…As the Protector’s wife, Barbara Hannigan stunningly guides us through Agnès’ journey…

The Boy, purposefully performed by countertenor Bejun Mehta…is both one of the angels…Mehta’s voice is, both literally and figuratively, angelic, strengthening his appearance of innocence in this love triangle, even though his actions are the cause of the conflict.

Benjamin’s innovative orchestrations include the ethereal use of the glass harmonica, and his dynamic explosions of volume emphasize the varying moments of tension throughout the opera. The production received glowing reviews at its French premiere, and now we have the opportunity to understand why on this recording. © 2014 EDGE on the Net Read complete review

Amanda Holloway
Sinfini Music, February 2014

Katie Mitchell’s staging divided opinions but the music was exquisite…Benjamin provided a score with the delicate beauty and bright colour of the medieval illuminations that run throughout the plot.

The Opus Arte DVD captures the production beautifully too—close-ups intensifying the erotic tension between the ‘eternal triangle’ of the Protector, his young wife Agnès and the Boy. It’s an ideal cast: Hannigan’s silvery, versatile high soprano, Purves’s virile baritone and Mehta’s sweet but substantial countertenor each have their counterpart in the tapestry of Benjamin’s orchestra…The whole experience is cathartic and uplifting. You’ll want to watch it again as soon as it’s over. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review

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