One of the best productions available of Turn of the Screw
As I've said, Benjamin Britten's music is not for all tastes. While it took me a while to, I like it and feel that Turn of the Screw is one of his finest works. The story itself is a classic, spooky and always compelling and the music of Britten's opera helps to accentuate this, complimenting the story rather than distracting from it. And this production is just wonderful, with the only real disappointment being some of the annoying close-ups of the conductor Stuart Bedford. The black and white shades that dominate the costumes and sets convey the shadowy mood very effectively. Mostly the video directing is unobtrusive and excellent in general. The stage direction is elegant and conveys the eerie ambiance of the opera superbly, nothing fussy, overdone, stagy, dull or in bad taste.
On a musical front, there are no problems. The orchestral playing is both lyrical and hair-raising and Bedford's conducting shows musicality and authority, on DVD the best conducting job along with Richard Hickox for the 2004 Lisa Milne production. The performances are likewise outstanding. Machiko Obata is perhaps on the mature side for Flora, but her beautiful voice and excellent acting more than makes up for that. Samuel Linay's Miles is appropriately arch and with some innocence, both of which are perfect for this role. Helen Field sings with great beauty of tone and her grief is very poignant. Richard Greager shows Quint's conflicted personality to great effect, his calls to Miles is inviting and sinister in equal measure. Menai Davies is particularly intense as Mrs Grose in her conversation with Field's Governess, and Phyllis Cannan's Jessel is the very definition of chilling.
In conclusion, a wonderful production, one of the best available productions of the opera. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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