Turn Of The Screw (Benjamin Britten) DVD (Opera Australia)
Composer: Benjamin Britten
Lyricist: Benjamin Britten
This is a restrained yet very imaginative staging of this strange and wonderful opera based on the celebrated, ambiguous novella by Henry James. It is a production marked by simplicity and a style that is direct and honest. The director refuses to utilize cheap effects for their own sake. Some extra visual montages are imposed on the DVD proceedings but these do not distract and definitely enhance the creepy mood. What impresses most, however, is the naturalistic, restrained acting style of all involved. The bane of many DVD opera productions, e.g., tragic gestures, grotesque mugging or staggering about, are not in evidence. Would that other directors and singers would take note that all of the usual tomfoolery is not necessary to keep one interested or, in this case, riveted. The voices are good; no great discoveries but no clinkers either. All told, a highly enjoyable performance, one that can be recommended with few, if any, reservations.
Benjamin Britten's haunting adaptation of Henry James' classic ghost story about a governess put in charge of two mysteriously possessed orphaned children. The tension spirals throughout this masterpiece of psychological terror. As the screw is tightened, the nerves of the governess are strained to breaking point.
'The set design by Elijah Moshinsky invokes the images of this nocturnal other-worldliness with sheer style...Indeed this production is a masterpiece of design and lighting.' The West Australian
'As the Governess, Eilene Hannan performed grippingly...The final scene, going from high drama to poignant grief, was arrestingly good.' The Australian
Featuring: Eilene Hannan, Margaret Haggart, Anson Austin, Wendy Dixon, The West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Conductor David Stanhope, Director Neil Armfield