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The Boston Globe

Music

Opera’s conventions made new in ‘Written on Skin’

It’s been a while since a new opera landed on American shores on winds as strong as those propelling George Benjamin’s “Written on Skin” to Tanglewood. It premiered at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2012 to something close to universal acclaim, all the more surprising given that it was the British composer’s first full-length operatic work. “The best opera written over the last twenty years,” declared the French newspaper Le Figaro. After the production reached the Royal Opera House in London, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that it “feels like the work of a genius unleashed.”

“Written on Skin” will have its American premiere on Monday in Seiji Ozawa Hall, a concert version with Benjamin himself conducting. (The performance is part of the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music.)

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