The new master stroke from the Benjamin/Crimp duo: with Shakespearean force, these lessons of tragic intensity project onto the stage the death struggle of heightened passions. A dramatic work that pales not before Hamlet!
After the fascinating Into the Little Hill (2006) and Written on Skin (2012), this new collaboration between George Benjamin and librettist Martin Crimp was highly anticipated. With these Lessons in Love and Violence, a title announcing the dramatic intensity in no uncertain terms, they offer a contemporary variation on the fate of Edward II, King of England (1284-1327). Political ambition, amorous passion and the tyranny of desire intersect on this neo-Elizabethan stage which, without any concessions in terms of period fashion, also resonates with our own era.
Benjamin, a student of Messiaen, weaves a delicate acoustic tapestry that places the orchestra, too often obscured, near to the singers. Fleeting melodies, heart-rending duets and delicate melismas, reminiscent of Britten, further accentuate the sudden irruptions of force, between amorous yearning and thirst for blood.