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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Britten: The Turn of the Screw

10/28/2018 1:00 pm
10/28/2018 4:30 pm

 

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

At Halloweentide some sort of operatic ghost story is certainly appropriate. Twice before I have presented Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw (1954). On both occasions I drew upon CD reissues of the 1954 monaural Decca LP recording with the composer himself conducting. Britten's eighth opera is an adaptation of an 1898 novel by Henry James. Britten expressed with enormous subtlety the moral struggle with sexual taboos in James' book, which is a species of ghostly tale and psychological thriller. That old English Opera Group recording featured Britten's lover tenor Peter Pears as Quint, one of the two ghosts in the novel. (Quint is the seductive one.)

In 2013, The Turn of the Screw was recorded again, this time live in performance at the Barbican in London for the LSO Live label, the proprietary label of the London Symphony Orchestra. Richard Farnes conducted the chamber ensemble of seventeen instrumentalists drawn from the LSO. The singing cast includes two young vocalists who portray the two children, the boy Miles, who can see the ghosts, and the girl Flora, who can't. Tenor Andrew Kennedy is heard as Peter Quint.