Benjamin Britten

The Turn of the Screw

A face at the window. A figure on the tower. Nothing is what it seems.

11 Oct–31 Oct 2024

With its dark, evocative score, Britten’s The Turn of the Screw is one of the most unnerving of all operas. Told in flashback from a psychiatric ward, a young governess is terrorised by unseen forces in a remote country house. The setting is Bronte-esque, but the menace is pure Hitchcock.


A young, inexperienced governess is invited to a bleak country house, home to two orphaned children, both deeply troubled, possibly possessed. Her anxiety mounts. There are strangled cries in the night, a figure on the tower, a face at the window. But are they just figments of her imagination, or malign presences threatening the charges in her care? She can’t be sure – and nor can we – as the tension builds towards a nerve-shredding climax.

Discover more about the story of The Turn of the Screw on our dedicated page.


Britten’s innovative score is a masterpiece of twentieth century opera. With 13 virtuosic instruments, this most eminent British opera composer creates an eerie palette of orchestral colours, with both acts divided into 8 scenes.

A ‘screw’ theme connects all the interludes and this tightens in intensity as the mood grows darker and darker. Particularly effective is the opera’s use of nursery rhymes to raise the tension – a technique adopted by many horror films.

Singers & Creatives

Directed and designed by Isabella Bywater, the production features Ailish Tynan in the role of the Governess. Central to the opera’s eerie subject, the roles of Miss Jessel and Peter Quint are sung by former ENO Harewood artist Eleanor Dennis and Robert Murray. The production is conducted by Duncan Ward – and Charlotte Corderoy on 29 and 31 Oct, who both make their ENO debut.

Libretto by Myfanwy Piper (based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James).

'Bywater’s often hauntingly beautiful production, however, is impeccably understated yet full of striking images'

The Times

'Isabella Bywater’s production for ENO of Henryk Górecki’s popular Third Symphony is effective and affecting'

The Guardian

Running Time
2hrs 10mins

There is one interval.


We have an Access Scheme for our audiences with a disability, a health condition, or different access needs to ensure everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Tickets start at just £10 plus £3.75 booking fee and £1.50 building levy per ticket. A maximum of £10.50 per transaction is charged.
Sung in English with the words displayed above the stage (Surtitles)

Age guidance: 12+

For more information, please contact our box office on 020 7845 9300 or [email protected]

Small plates at the London Coliseum

Kick start your night at the opera

Join us before the show for classic Italian ‘cicchetti’ and Spanish tapas, followed by dessert during the interval.

Read more

Discover The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw Creative Team 2024

Duncan Ward


ex 29 & 31 Oct

Charlotte Corderoy


29 & 31 Oct

Isabella Bywater

Director & Designer

Paul Anderson

Lighting Designer

Jon Driscoll

Video Designer

Myfanwy Pipper


The Turn of the Screw Opera Cast 2024

Ailish Tynan


Gweneth Ann Rand

Mrs Grose

Eleanor Dennis

Miss Jessel

Robert Murray

Peter Quint

Alan Oke