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Benjamin Britten: The Turn Of The Screw / Hickox/City of London Sinf., Padmore, Milne, Montague [DVD]

Notes & Reviews:

Benjamin Britten’s haunting and sinister opera, composed in 1954, is based on the famous novella written by Henry James in 1898. Katie Mitchell’s atmospheric and innovative film of the opera returns to the late 19th century setting of the original tale, to a world where it is hard to tell ghosts from mere reflections in the glass. There have been many discussions about what happened to the children in both the novella and Britten’s opera. This production, with an inspired cast led by excellent performances from Lisa Milne and Mark Padmore, remains true to both sources.

Benjamin Britten's haunting and sinister opera composed in 1954 is based on the famous novella written by Henry James in 1898. Katie Mitchell's atmospheric and innovative film of the opera returns to the late 19th century setting of the original tale to a world where it is hard to tell ghosts from mere reflections in the glass. There have been many discussions about what happened to the children in both the novella and Britten's opera. This production with an inspired cast led by excellent performances from Lisa Milne and Mark Padmore remains true to both sources. The rich dark imagery entices the viewer exposing the deepest layers of the tantalizing unnamed and hidden past relationships between the two servants and the children in one of the greatest operas of the 20th century.

"This is a terrific opera video, a rare success due not only to excellent performances and fine production courtesy of the BBC, producer Fiona Morris, and director Katie Mitchell, but above all to Britten's splendid score. The Turn of the Screw translates superbly to television and film thanks to its cinematic succession of swift scenes, not to mention its suggestive, supernatural element... This DVD strikes me as an almost perfect example of what a good opera for home viewing ought to be, and I can't recommend it more strongly." - David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com



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