BRITTEN Turn of the Screw. Toby Spence, Miah Persson, Susan Bickley, Giselle Allen, London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jakub Hrusa. FRA Blu-Ray

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BRITTEN

Turn of the Screw

Glyndebourne production by Jonathan Kent

Prologue/Peter Quint: Toby Spence

Governess: Miah Persson

Mrs Grose: Susan Bickley

Miss Jessel: Giselle Allen

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jakub Hrusa

It is indeed ‘a curious story’, as the Prologue says. A remote English country house, an old and faithful housekeeper, two young orphan children and an eager new governess sent down from London to look after them. But all is not quite as it seems in the sheltered world of Bly. Spirits from the past increasingly encroach upon the realm of the living. And one question keeps worming its way into the governess’s mind: what exactly did happen between the children, their former governess and the deceased manservant, Peter Quint?

Britten’s brilliantly scored, insidiously compelling adaptation of Henry James’s novella takes its themes of childish innocence and adult corruption, then twists and turns them to disturbing and ultimately devastating effect. Jonathan Kent’s eerily unsettling staging has been recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival conducted by Glyndebourne on Tour’s Music Director, Jakub Hrusa.

“Here is Britten’s supremely crafted operatic masterpiece — not a dud moment or false move — in a shatteringly powerful performance of such musical and theatrical distinction that I scarcely know where to begin apportioning praise.

Perhaps the conductor: I already knew the quality of Jonathan Kent’s production from its first outing in 2006, and the cast looked pretty hot on paper too. But what I hadn’t suspected was that the young Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa would offer such a thrillingly visceral, angry and churned-up reading of the score. Galvanising the LPO to playing of scalding brilliance, Hrusa carefully ratcheted up the tension in the early scenes and brought the drama to the boil with an almost daemonic intensity. This wasn’t a nice creepy bedtime story, but something reaching dangerously into the darker reaches of human nature.”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

FRA Blu-Ray FRA507

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