Into the Little Hill, George Benjamin's First Opera, Gets North American Premiere at Lincoln Center Festival

Classic Arts News   Into the Little Hill, George Benjamin's First Opera, Gets North American Premiere at Lincoln Center Festival
 
"It's not my temperament to be indulgently lengthy."

So says the English composer George Benjamin to The New York Times about his first opera, Into the Little Hill, which has its North American premiere run beginning tonight at the Lincoln Center Festival.

The piece is scored for only two singers and 15 instruments and runs a mere 40 minutes.

The libretto, by playwright Martin Crimp, offers a dark retelling of the fairy tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The staging by Daniel Jeanneteau is minimalist (there will be no medieval townscapes or scurrying rats); the two singers, wearing ordinary concert clothes, serve as narrators and enact all the roles.

Those two cast members are the artists for whom the work was written: soprano Anu Komsi and contralto Hilary Summers; accompanying them will be the acclaimed Frankfurt-based group Ensemble Modern, with Franck Ollu conducting.

To fill out the program, a pair of Benjamin's instrumental works will precede the opera: Viola, Viola (for a pair of the titular instruments) and Three Miniatures for solo violin.

Into the Little Hill will have three performances, July 26-28, at 8:30 p.m. in the Lynch Theater at John Jay College (10th Avenue and West 58th Street in Manhattan). Information and tickets are available at www.lincolncenter.org.

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