Opera Philadelphia

5 Revealing Quotes about Written on Skin

By Opera Philadelphia

George Benjamin’s Written on Skin makes its Philadelphia premiere on February 9 at the Academy of Music. The new production by director William Kerley and designer Tom Rogers is the first new U.S. staging of this much loved, much written-about opera, which premiered at the 2012 Aix-en-Provence Festival and received its British premiere at the Royal Opera House in London in March 2013. Here are five revealing quotes about this 21st century masterpiece:

“My existence during the two and a half years or so when I was composing (Written on Skin) was very simple: All I did was compose this piece… I almost stopped existing as a human being.” 

Composer George Benjamin in this video from The Royal Opera

“For me when I am looking at this work it feels like I am seeing a piece of total theater.”

Author Martin Crimp

Written on Skin feels like the work of a genius unleashed.”

American music critic Alex Ross in his 2013 review of the opera

“If Written on Skin isn't a modern classic, I’ll eat my hat.”

British music critic Rupert Christiansen in his 2016 review

“Love’s not a picture: love is an act.”

Agnès, to the Boy, at the end of Part 1 of the opera

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