On the eve of the first performance in Russia of George Benjamin's new opera Lessons in Love and Violence, the Theatre Museum is happy to announce a public conversation with the composer and screening of a BBC documentary film about his work.
This event is part of the UK-Russia Year of Music 2019.
George Benjamin: What Do You Want to Do When You Grow Up? Is a film about the composer's early life, his fascination with computers and ethnic instruments, his career as a piano virtuoso, composer and conductor, and the creation of his opera Lessons in Love and Violence and its production at the Royal Opera House in London.
George Benjamin is making his first visit to St Petersburg and says: "As a passionate admirer of Russian art, literature, cinema and (in particular) music, I am indescribably happy to visit St Petersburg for the first time in my life. I am dreaming to see the city where my favourite composers lived and worked. It is a great honour for me that the Russian premiere of my new opera will take place at The Stars of the White Nights Festival".
Lessons of Love and Violence is George Benjamin's third opera. In common with the first two the libretto is by Martin Crimp. It is based on the play Edward II by Christopher Marlowe, Elizabethan playwright and precursor of Shakespeare. At the heart of the story is the relationship between King Edward II and Piers Gaveston, an English nobleman. Their relationship upsets the royal family and threatens the country's political well-being. To create the feeling of fear, distrust and power that Gaveston emanates, Benjamin adds to the orchestra the Iranian tombak, the African talking drum and the Hungarian cimbalom. The concert performance in St Petersburg will be given by the London Chamber Orchestra and guest soloists, conducted by Oliver Zeffman, who previously conducted Written on Skin at the Mariinsky Concert Hall.