New York City Opera concludes its spring 2013 BAM residency and celebrates the centennial of composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) with a brand-new production of Britten's chamber opera The Turn of the Screw (1954). Based on the classic ghost story by Henry James, the opera's libretto is by Myfanwy Piper. The production, conducted by Jayce Ogren, marks the opera debut of Sam Buntrock, the theater director best known for his award-winning staging of Sunday in the Park with George in the West End and on Broadway.
Performances will take place February 24-March 2 at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn): February 24 at 1:30 P.M., and February 26, 28 and March 2 at 7:30 P.M. Tickets, $25-$250, can be purchased at 718.636.4100 or BAM.org.
With set and costume design by David Farley and lighting by David Weiner, Buntrock re-envisions The Turn of the Screw as a contemporary horror story. The director draws visual and emotional inspiration from iconic films such as The Shining, The Exorcist and Poltergeist. A haunting, large staircase that leads to a closed door dominates Farley's set, which evokes an English manor house. As scenes unfold, we move deeper into the house and the psychological tensions at the heart of the opera. Buntrock explains, "Chilling events unravel a mysterious building's terrifying past, pushing the boundaries between sanity and the supernatural."
According to Jayce Ogren, a New York City Opera mainstay (A Quiet Place, Prima Donna), "Britten's The Turn of the Screw is nightmarish, thrilling and unbearably sweet, all at once, and I've been dying to conduct it since the moment I first heard the music. It's a 20th Century masterpiece and one of the greatest English-language operas ever written."