Melos Sinfonia have brought for one night only to London the opera Written on Skin by George Benjamin. A properly modern opera, Benjamin has chucked every sort of instrument and the kitchen sink in to this and it works fantastically.
The story is a group of angels take the audience back in time 800 years to a man called the Protector, and his wife, Agnes. The Protector is not a nice man and hires one of the angels in disguise to create an illuminated manuscript showing his greatness to preserve for centuries. Agnes and the Boy however become an item and events happen…
I’ve seen this opera once before at the Royal Opera House, where it was fully staged compared to this semi-staged production, however for me, this production by Jack Furness was better in every way. The staging here makes much more sense, the acting is spot on with some incredible singing: Patrick Terry as The Boy and Lauren Fagan as Agnes are particular stand-outs, each with an incredible voice, Ross Ramgobin as The Protector has just this sheer swagger which makes it impossible not to watch him and Oliver Zeffman’s conducting and the Melos Sinfonia orchestra were spot on.
I loved this performance of Written on Skin and my only regret is that it was only performed the once as I just want to watch and savour it over and over again, I can’t wait to see what Melos Sinfonia decide to put on next.