In the 2018/2019 concert season, two of Germany’s most famous concert halls, the Elbphilharmonie and the Berlin Philharmonie, have shone their spotlights on composer George Benjamin. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra is very happy to again perform a semi-staged version of the composer’s highly acclaimed opera, Written on Skin, with Sir George Benjamin himself conducting, in both Hamburg and Berlin.
Written on Skin is one of the most successful operas of recent times. Since its premiere with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2012, the work has been performed around the world in renowned opera houses and international festivals. In addition to the world premiere, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra has performed the opera in New York, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Cologne, Dortmund and Amsterdam. In March of 2016 the MCO premiered the semi-staged production of the opera. This tour will offer the premiere of George Benjamin’s exquisite opera Written on Skin in both Hamburg and Berlin.
“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.” George Benjamin chose the MCO to play the world premiere of his new opera after having conducted the orchestra in a concert at the Lucerne Festival in 2009. “I was physically struck by the sound the orchestra makes; it has a sort of golden colour. It was one of the most important, meaningful musical collaborations I can remember in all my life.”
American countertenor Bejun Mehta reprises his role as First Angel/Boy, which he performed in the highly lauded 2012 world premiere. Additionally, singers Georgia Jarman, Evan Hughes, Victoria Simmonds, and Robert Murray join the Mahler Chamber Orchestra for all-star performances of this highly acclaimed opera.
This concert is part of a Berliner Philharmoniker residency dedicated to composer and conductor George Benjamin. In cooperation with Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest and generously supported by the Aventis Foundation.