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Britten: The Turn of the Screw / Sally Matthews, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Andrew Kennedy. London SO

Notes & Reviews:

In celebration of the Britten anniversary year, Richard Farnes, Music Director of Opera North, conducts an all-English cast in Britten's The Turn of the Screw - his most ingeniously crafted opera. Soloists include 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, Farnes was the natural replacement, having been mentored by the late conductor. Premiered in 1954, Britten's opera sets Henry James's remarkable ghost story about a governess and a housekeeper who vow to protect two children from the strange happenings that occur in the grounds of their home.

Classical Music
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 Review
[Farnes] directs a detailed and well-paced performance in which the collective and individual playing of his chamber orchestra...could hardly be bettered...Listeners (and viewers) are almost spoilt for choice with the many very fine recordings of this opera...but this new one definitely deserves inclusion amongst the best of them.

Sunday Times, 12th January 2014
This vibrant, spine-tingling take on Britten's Henry James opera owes its success to the late conductor's replacement [Richard Farnes]. This was his first encounter with the LSO, whose soloists here...are the stars.

BBC Music Magazine, February 2014
Britten's opera makes its usual harrowing impact...Broderick's darker-toned Miss Jessel contrasts well with [Matthews]...while Catherine Wyn-Rogers's Mrs Grose is faultlessly secure and vivid. Richard Farnes's conducting unfolds the opera at a quite expansive pace with no loss of tensions, although he allows some over-sumptuous moments.

MusicWeb International, 7th February 2014
The orchestral performance under Richard Farnes is everything it should be, and indeed as a representation of this chilling score this is a very good performance indeed. That said, it does lack the sheer sense of discovery and horrified engagement that was present in the original Decca recording.

International Record Review, February 2014
It's Andrew Kennedy as the ghost Peter Quint who impresses most...He's a worldly Quint...one whose voice naturally embodies all the necessary qualities to dramatize the childlike appeal of Quint's high-flown poetic language...As the hapless ex-governess Miss Jessel, Katherine Broderick brings a pleasing edge to the part.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2014
There is much to admire, especially in the virtuoso playing of the LSO musicians, but the drama seems underplayed...Still, this is a good cast in an opera that rarely gets a poor performance...Kennedy is an expressive Quint, especially imaginative in the Prologue.



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