Review Round Up: Written on Skin, Royal Opera House

George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s opera is revived at the Royal Opera House for the first time. Here is what critics have been saying about it: 

The Guardian: **** ” Barbara Hannigan, for whom Agnès was written, was spellbinding on opening night.”

The Independent: “Musically, the opera sits somewhere between Pelléas and Wozzeck, but that fails to convey either how extraordinarily accomplished the instrumentation is, or how pleasing on the ear.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “This revival is an excuse to be dazzled once more by George Benjamin’s pellucid score.”

The Stage: ***** “musically taut account of a subtle and fascinating score only lightly sprinkled with archaic sounds but whose overall delicacy and restraint alternating with sheer dramatic punch surely mark it out as a modern masterpiece.”

The Telegraph: ***** “the audience was palpably enthralled throughout, transported by operatic art of the highest degree.”

MusicOMH: ***** “While, however, the music is deeply impressive, its strength ultimately lies in the way in which it interacts with the words.”

Evening Standard: ***** “Mitchell’s fluid, economical staging unerringly captures the other-worldly, indeed transcendental nature of the work.”

Theatre Fullstop : “Katie Mitchell‘s direction of the piece is taut and apt – there is very little superfluous detail.”

The Arts Desk: “Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves return from the original production as Agnes and her Protector husband, finding a tension at once sensual and horrifying in their relationship.”

Opera Today: “Written on Skin might have been named Etched in Blood; it is chillingly refined and brutal. It carves its way disturbingly into one’s mind and memory, and is not easily – or willingly – eradicated.”

The Upcoming: **** “Benjamin’s inventive score beautifully illuminates the action. Understated at times to match the moments of repressed emotion and quiet, it ratchets up the tension dramatically with thundering percussion when the inevitable violence unfolds.”

Written on Skin will appear at the Royal Opera House until the 30th January. To book tickets visit:, Discount, Theatre Tickets, Love, Theatre and UK  


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