The above video seems already to have made the rounds in the UK, but I hadn't come across it until a friend forwarded it. Mono Pop describes itself as "an online verbatim series sharing the unheard voices of the ordinary, the not-so-ordinary, and everyone in between"; essentially, it's an exercise in off-kilter, conceptual lip-syncing. In this episode, an actor who participated in the première of George Benjamin's Written on Skin, in Aix-en-Provence, mimics some audio recorded during rehearsals. The result is daft, adorable, and, despite some possibly exaggerated gestures, revealing of a major artist at work. Here is a conductor who gets what he wants in the least dictatorial way imaginable. At the end, we hear Benjamin focusing on a crucial detail of the score—the rustle of maracas that is heard at the very end of the opera, carrying an implication that I tried to tease out in my New Yorker review. I have been assured that Benjamin himself found the video amusing. Written on Skin will receive its American première at Tanglewood in August, with the composer conducting.
A tougher lip-sync assignment: Paul Hindemith.