The Mahler Chamber Orchestra tours Europe with their semi-staged concert performance of Written on Skin, conducted by the piece’s composer, George Benjamin. The production features the majority of the original cast that performed its acclaimed World Premiere at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2012, including the MCO, George Benjamin, and vocal leads Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves.
The MCO and all the vocalists of this European tour were also featured at Written on Skin’s US stage premiere at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York in August 2015. The premiere was hailed as “the Cultural Event of the New York summer season” by The Washington Post.
“This opera was designed for the Mahler Chamber Orchestra,” explained George Benjamin in a 2012 interview. “I could remember the sound of the orchestra and its special qualities while writing.”
Stage director Benjamin Davis’ reduced concert version is based on the original staging by Katie Mitchell, but accentuates the role of the orchestra by placing it on stage.
This tour begins with a three-day spotlight on the composer/conductor at Konzerthaus Dortmund from 10 to 12 March 2016, entitled Zeitinsel George Benjamin. It opens with a format in which George Benjamin speaks about his music and his double role as composer and conductor between some of his small chamber works, followed by a full chamber music concert featuring his first opera Into the Little Hill, and ends with the semi-staged concert performance of Written on Skin.
Written on Skin then travels to Cologne for a performance on 13 March, and heads on to Barcelona and Madrid on 16 and 17 March for its first performances in Spain. The tour finale takes place in George Benjamin’s hometown, London, on 19 March, where Written on Skin will again be rounded out by a chamber music concert and discussion format.