George Benjamin’s New Opera To World Premiere in 2018

By Francisco Salazar

The Royal Opera has announced the world premiere of George Benjamin’s new opera “Lessons in Love and Violence.”

The company announced that the opera will be presented in May 2018 and is inspired by an Elizabethan drama. According to the Royal Opera “the new opera considers what space, if any, exists for love and human affection inside the dangerous machinery of power.”

The story centers on a king, compelled to choose between love and political hardships. His decisions allow his country to slide into civil war, and set his own wife and son against him. When his son in turn is given bruising lessons in politics, he performs a terrifying act of violence in front of his mother.

In 2018 composer George Benjamin will conduct all performances of “Lessons in Love and Violence” and the work will be directed by Katie Mitchell, who previously took on Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” with Diana Damrau and Charles Castronovo.

For the world premiere the cast will include French baritone Stéphane Degout, Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, British tenor Peter Hoare, Hungarian-Romanian baritone Gyula Orendt, British tenor Samuel Boden, British soprano Jennifer France, Icelandic bass-baritone Andri Björn Róbertsson, and Hungarian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Krisztina Szabó.

Lessons in Love and Violence” is co-commissioned and co-produced with Dutch National Opera (July 2018), Hamburg State Opera (April 2019), Opéra de Lyon (May 2019), Lyric Opera of Chicago (2020/21 Season), Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona (March 2021) and Teatro Real, Madrid (April/May 2021).

The opera marks George Benjamin’s third opera. He previously wrote “Written On Skin” for the Aix-en-Provence festival and is currently being performed at the Royal Opera. He also wrote “Into The Little Hill” in 2006.