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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



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






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8:09:17 AM, 22 August 2014
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