Martin Attenborough reviews Opera North’s production of The Turn of the Screw…
As a first-time opera watcher, I was excited to attend Opera North’s latest production of The Turn of the Screw. Having been a fan of Henry James’s novella and the various film adaptations I was curious to see if it managed to build up the same sense of dread that the 1961 film The Innocents did.
The plot sees a young governess sent to a country manor to look after two children who, in typical horror fashion, turn out to be a bit creepy. The governess experiences the ghostly stalking of Peter Quint, a former employee at the house who had an unhealthy interest in the two children, particularly the boy, Miles.
The cast were all excellent, with 11-year-old Tim Gasiorek standing out in his role as Miles. In a scene where the children make shadow puppets of themselves, Gasiorek does an eerie dance where he looked like a cross between Pennywise the clown and David Brent.
The quality of the set design was also a highlight, with the effective use of lighting and props adding a few chills. A self-rocking rocking-horse in a Victorian nursey will always be scary.
Whilst I certainly appreciated the production, I have found that opera is perhaps not for me. Having the exposition of a story entirely shrieked at you makes it difficult to keep up with the plot and in the case of a horror story robs it slightly of the scares. Although I’m certain that fans of opera would love it all the same.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend opera to anyone who is curious about it. Any fears of the whole thing being too high-brow should be dispelled. Afterall, they let me in.
For more information about upcoming productions of The Turn Of The Screw, visit the Opera North website.
Photograph taken from the Opera North website