Opera

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

LSO0749 2SACD

The Turn of the Screw

The Turn of the Screw

Richard Farnes conductor

Andrew Kennedy Prologue / Peter Quint
Sally Matthews Governess
Michael Clayton-Jolly Miles
Lucy Hall Flora
Catherine Wyn-Rogers Mrs Grose
Katherine Broderick Miss Jessel

***** Classical Music (UK)
***** Limelight (Australia)

Released in celebration of the Britten anniversary year, Richard Farnes, the Music Director of Opera North who led their critically acclaimed production of The Turn of the Screw in 2010, conducts an all-English cast in Britten’s most ingeniously crafted opera, including Andrew Kennedy, Sally Matthews, and 11-year old Michael Clayton-Jolly in the role of Miles. Originally scheduled to be conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Richard Farnes was the natural replacement, himself having been
mentored by the late conductor.

In 1932, the 18-year-old Britten heard on the radio ‘a wonderful, impressive but terribly eerie and scary play The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.’ Britten’s version of the ghost story, premiered in 1954, is a chamber opera in a prologue and two acts. The opera tells the story of a Governess and a housekeeper Mrs Grose who vow to protect two children, Miles and Flora from the strange happenings that occur in the grounds of their English country house.

Price: £13.99

 
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Reviews

***** ‘Filling in for concerts to have been conducted by the late Colin Davis, Farnes directs a taut, crisply-detailed account of Britten’s masterpiece. His cast is perfect: Kennedy a slyly seductive Quint; Matthews spot on in conveying the Governess’s growing horror and resolve; as telling a Flora and Miles as any on disc. Excellent Barbican sound.’ Classical Music (UK)

***** ‘Recorded at the Barbican last year, conductor Richard Farnes, his 17 musicians and an exceptional cast never let the tension lag throughout the two hours.’ Limelight (Australia)

****½ ‘This new recording, a first on SACD, is strongly cast. From the beautifully sung opening Prologue it is apparent that Andrew Kennedy is an excellent choice for the work's only male role – that of the ghost of the evil Peter Quint. He sings throughout with much beauty of tone yet still conveys Quint's insidious malevolence without resort to any caricature. Sally Mathews, as the inexperienced governess to the children Miles and Flora, gives a searing portrayal of this complex character – her anxiety in the opening scene gradually giving way to horror at the realisation of the children's corruption by evil forces … Richard Farnes, the current Music Director of Opera North, directs a detailed and well-paced performance in which the collective and individual playing of his chamber orchestra made up of 17 members of the LSO could hardly be bettered.’ Sa-cd.net (UK)

‘Richard Farnes, the current Music Director of Opera North, directs a detailed and well-paced performance in which the collective and individual playing of his chamber orchestra made up of 17 members of the LSO could hardly be bettered … The two-disc set includes informative and thought-provoking notes on the work by Gavin Plumley as well as the full libretto. Listeners (and viewers) are almost spoilt for choice with the many very fine recordings of this opera currently available (eleven at a last count, including that conducted by the composer), but this new one definitely deserves inclusion amongst the best of them.’ Classical CD Review (UK)

‘Recorded only days after the death of Colin Davis, this vibrant, spine-tingling take on Britten’s Henry James opera owes its success to the late conductor’s replacement, Opera North’s music director.’ The Sunday Times (UK)

**** 'Playing and direction are exemplary, making this a fine version with which to delve into the subtleties and internal correspondences of this astonishing score ... Well done, LSO!' Classical Ear (UK)

'Richard Farnes proves an enlightened interpreter of Britten’s music by making the deliberate choice to perform this opera like any other and inspiring the London Symphony Orchestra players and singers to do likewise.  Vocally, there is no other Peter Quint quite like Andrew Kennedy, musically or dramatically, and the lyrical effusiveness of his performance prompts an unmistakable unanimity of conviction that elevates a great performance to the sort of theatrical experience that redefines a listener’s perceptions of the music at hand.  A more resplendent memorial to Benjamin Britten on the occasion of his centennial and to the legacy of Sir Colin Davis is impossible to imagine.' Voix des Arts (US)

‘This LSO Live SACD has quite excellent sound and features both a strong cast and fine orchestral playing.’ classical.net

‘There has been such an outpouring of Britten recordings during the centennial year that no one could keep up with everything, but when the dust settles it would be unsurprising if this one turned out to be one of the highlights.’ Opera News (UK) 

Artists

Richard Farnes conductor
London Symphony Orchestra

Andrew Kennedy Prologue / Peter Quint
Sally Matthews Governess
Michael Clayton-Jolly Miles
Lucy Hall Flora
Catherine Wyn-Rogers Mrs Grose
Katherine Broderick Miss Jessel

Recording Details

2SACD/digital LSO0749 (822231174929)

James Mallinson producer
Jonathan Stokes for Classic Sound Ltd, balance engineer
DSD recording, live at the Barbican, 16 & 18 April 2013
Includes multi-channel 5.1 and stereo mixes

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