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The better of Petr Weigl's filmed versions of Britten's operas...

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
14 July 2012

The other was 1996's Let's Make An Opera, which I did love overall, but found this even more impressive. Of the four or so Weigl opera films seen so far, 1982's The Turn of the Screw is the second best for me, the best being 1988's Eugene Onegin. 1994's Winterreisse was interesting but not particularly ideal for those who know the true meaning of the songs, despite the beauty of the visuals, the music and how it was performed. This Turn of the Screw may not be absolutely perfect, Lillian Watson sings beautifully but too mature for Flora I feel. Luckily the rest of the singers fare much better, Michael Quinn sounds wonderful though you may feel you prefer somebody older. Robert Tear is appropriately intense and relishes Quint's sense of mockery, Ava June is amusing and benevolent and Helen Donath has the right amount of naivety for the governess. The actors look great and act naturally enough. The music is wonderful, and beautifully performed by the orchestra and conducted with enough buoyancy. The simple story is both creepy and fun, though one thing I do prefer in the original story is the sense of ambiguity with the ghosts which the opera's libretto doesn't have in comparison. I also loved how the film looked, the settings are both beautiful and evocative, and there is nothing fake about them. The photography is very good. All in all, I loved it on the whole, maybe it is not the best performances of Britten's work I've seen(either 1981's A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1985's Albert Herring or 1987's Rape of Lucretia, the Barstow performance of Gloriana is also highly impressive), but there is much to make it worth seeing. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Listen with your eyes closed

Author: Gyran from Birmingham, England
28 May 2002

Petr Weigl is not the first person to think that he can film an opera with beautiful people on the screen and the fat ladies confined to the soundtrack. He is hoping for the best of both worlds but he ends up with the worst. The voices just don't fit the faces and the lack of synchronisation is laughable. I was most sorry for the little girl who played Flora. Not only was she given a woman's voice but she had to spend the entire film with what looked like a dead ferret on her head. Britten's opera comes over very well if you listen with your eyes closed.

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