Lessons in love and violence PROMO


Lessons in Love and Violence

George Benjamin

1h 40 min
Spanish , English

“Charged with music of exquisite beauty and a potent narrative, it is immaculately staged and performed!” – The Telegraph


Lessons in Love and Violence, the new opera by composer George Benjamin and playwright Martin Crimp, two of Britain’s most celebrated artists, received a glowing reception from audiences and critics alike on its world premiere at the Royal Opera House in London. In a modern day setting Lessons in Love and Violence tells the powerful and thrilling story of King Edward II, whose romantic relationship with the Earl of Cornwall, Piers Gaveston, tears his country and his family apart. The set of this “beautifully detailed production” (The Guardian) is an elegant bedroom, viewed from different sides in each scene, with a Francis Bacon-like portrait on one wall, and a fully stocked and stunningly lit marine aquarium on another.


Barbara Hannigan, as “outstanding as ever” (The Financial Times) in her role as the King’s wife Isabel, leads the hand-picked cast that includes Stéphane Degout, who delivers a finely detailed performance as the King, and Gyula Orendt. His performance as Gaveston “is striking: sinuous, forceful, finding all the soulfulness of Benjamin’s jazz-inflected notes.” (Time Out London) Peter Hoare plays the henchman Mortimer with a fearsome authority and Samuel Boden and Ocean Barrington-Cook impress as the King’s children.


Martin Crimp’s enigmatic libretto captivates with its timeless language. Benjamin’s delicate, foreboding score, performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera Housewith an enthralling stereo effect, is “flawless” in its pacing and balance, “charged with music of exquisite beauty” (The Telegraph). “Constantly beguiling the ear and teasing the imagination” (Evening Standard), it is conducted by the composer in “an outstanding performance.” (The Stage)


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Music by George Benjamin

Production of the Royal Opera House

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House


Artistic team

Conductor | George Benjamin

Stage Director | Katie Mitchell



King | Stéphane Degout

Isabel | Barbara Hannigan

Gaveston / Stranger | Gyula Orendt

Mortimer | Peter Hoare

Boy / Young King | Samuel Boden

Witness 1 / Singer 1 / Woman 1 | Jennifer France

Witness 2 / Singer 2 / Woman 2 | Krisztina Szabó

Witness 3 / Madman Andri | Björn Róbertsson

Girl | Ocean Barrington-Cook


Lied Festival Victoria de los Ángeles
Various authors
Stéphane Degout, Cédric Tiberghien