Mahler Chamber Orchestra (photo: Molina Visuals)

In memoriam Claudio Abbado/Composer in Residence

George Benjamin: Written on Skin

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra, founded by Claudio Abbado, performs Written on Skin, one of the most successful operas of our time. It deals with a love triangle: the protagonists are a brutal, jealous husband, a young, inexperienced woman and a gifted painter. Based on a medieval Provençal legend, librettist Martin Crimp created a highly modern story of power, subjugation, rebellion and self-discovery – the perfect framework for the atmospherically dense, rich-toned music of George Benjamin.

Mahler Chamber Orchestra

George Benjamin conductor

Evan Hughes bass baritone (The Protector)

Georgia Jarman soprano (Agnes)

Bejun Mehta Countertenor (Angel 1/The Boy)

Victoria Simmonds mezzo-soprano (Angel 2/Marie)

Robert Murray tenor (Angel 3/John)

Benjamin Davis stage direction

George Benjamin

Written on Skin

This concert is part of a residency dedicated to composer and conductor George Benjamin. In cooperation with Berliner Festspiele/Musikfest

Dates and Tickets


Written on Skin by George Benjamin, who was born in London in 1960, is one of the most successful operas of recent times. Since its premiere at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2012, the work has been performed around the world at opera houses and renowned international festivals, including the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, the Vienna Festival and the Opéra Comique in Paris. The semi-staged production of Written on Skin that Benjamin Davis created for the Mahler Chamber Orchestra was received enthusiastically in 2016 in Barcelona, Madrid, London and Cologne, among others.

The text by English playwright Martin Crimp is based on an Occitan legend from the 13th century, and tells of a love triangle that comes to a bloody end through mysterious modern angels. George Benjamin will be the musical director of the performance of Written on Skin, a Berlin premiere, by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and an international ensemble of soloists. He has composed a colourful score following the tradition of Claude Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande and Alban Berg’s Wozzeck that was described by the British newspaper The Guardian as the “masterpiece of a genius”. Benjamin, whose teachers included Olivier Messiaen and Alexander Goehr, is the Composer in Residence of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the 2018/19 season, and will appear in a total of seven concerts with various works as composer as well as conductor.

Mahler Chamber Orchestra (photo: Molina Visuals)

Claudio Abbado (photo: Erika Rabau)

George Benjamin about “Written on Skin”

The pupils of Claudio Abbado

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra

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