Sir Charles Mackerras conducts Britten’s The Turn of the Screw
Date published: Mon 17 Aug 2009
‘A stunning vehicle for a devilishly dark drama’ The Times
Former ENO Music Director Sir Charles Mackerras conducts The Turn of the Screw for the first time in London since 1956. No opera company in the world has a longer association with Benjamin Britten than ENO who continue to place the work of the composer at the heart of the Company’s repertoire. Sir Charles Mackerras, who worked with Britten, is unrivalled in his interpretations of the composer’s works.
David McVicar’s acclaimed staging of Britten’s operatic masterpiece won the 2008 South Bank Show Award for Opera and returns for its first revival. Tanya McCallin’s eerie Victorian period sets and costumes and the ethereal lighting of Adam Silverman provide the environment to a terrible gothic drama about the corruption of childhood innocence. Choreographer Andrew George completes the production team. The production was also nominated for an Olivier Award in 2008 and won the Golden Mask Award for Best Opera Production 2006 for the St Petersburg Mariinksy Theatre.
The Turn of the Screw is based on Henry James’s novella of the same title. The central role of the Governess is considered to be Britten’s finest female creation and Rebecca Evans, one of the UK’s leading lyric sopranos, returns to perform this role and is joined by the other original female roles in the production: Cheryl Barker sings Miss Jessel and the celebrated mezzo-soprano Ann Murray returns to sing Mrs Grose. Michael Colvin performs the role of The Prologue/Peter Quint following his acclaimed Bob Boles in ENO’s recent epic production of Peter Grimes.
The Turn of the Screw opens at the London Coliseum on 22 October for 6 performances – 22, 30 October & 4, 9 November at 7.30pm; October 24 & 7 November at 6.30pm.
Pre-performance talk by art historian, critic and biographer Frances Spalding: 30 October at 5.30pm, London Coliseum, £4
A production of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia
Revival supported by the English Opera Group
Notes to Editors:
Sir Charles Mackerras was ENO Music director from 1968 – 1976.
Sir Charles Mackerras shared the conducting of the opera with Britten again in 1957, in Stratford Ontario, returning to Canada in 1958 to record the operas for television and in 1959 he recorded the opera for Associated Rediffusion in the UK television premiere.
David McVicar’s many outstanding productions for ENO include Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (Aldeburgh/ENO 2001), winner of the South Bank Show Classical Award, his award-nominated production of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and, more recently, Handel’s Agrippina.
The London premiere of The Turn of the Screw was performed at Sadler’s Wells by the English Opera Group in October 1954, three weeks after the world premiere in Venice.
Martin FitzPatrick, ENO’s Head of Music conducts the last performance on 9 November.