Last Chance: “Turn of the Screw” at Staatsoper TONIGHT

THE-TURN-OF-THE-SCREW-staatsoper-unter-den-linden-berlin-7-

Tonight is the final performance of Claus Guth’s powerful new production of Benjamin  Britten’s gothic chamber opera “The Turn of the Screw.” The second premiere of the Staatsoper’s 2014-15 season, it stands head and shoulders above the lackluster season-opener of “Tosca,” dully directed by Alvis Hermanis.

Guth’s staging features a frequently rotating set to reveal the unnatural goings on in the Victorian manor Bly. Guth raises – and quite possibly endorses – the conclusion that the terror of Henry James’ ghost story is purely psychological: the delusions of a sexually repressed Governess, sung here by a fantastic Emma Bell. Like the rest of the cast, Bell is fluent in Britten’s conversational idiom and her performance derives much power from stellar vocal acting.

The ghostly pair of Peter Quint and Miss Jessell are inhabited (offstage) by Richard Croft and Anna Samuil, both suitably otherworldly and forlorn.  Marie McLaughlin is a wonderfully ambiguous Mrs. Grose, the housekeeper in possession of Bly’s frightful secret. calumnious history.

The most exciting performances, however, are those of the children Miles and Flora.  Sonia Grané, a young Portuguese soprano, is deliciously mischievous.  Thomas Lichtenecker, an otherworld countertenor, is eerie and forlorn as Miles. And the 13-piece orchestra, led by Ivor Bolton does justice to Britten’s churning and tortuous score.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s