New York City Opera Presents THE TURN OF THE SCREW, Beginning 2/24
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."
As the Governess, the new production features Sara Jakubiak, who debuted with New York City Opera as Dede in the 2010 production of A Quiet Place and was applauded for her "plush-voiced, impressive soprano" (The New York Times) in the company's 2012 production of Cosi fan tutte. Tenor Dominic Armstrong, who was François in A Quiet Place, will lend his "lustrous, sweet voice" (Washington Post) to the Prologue and the role of Peter Quint. As Flora, the New York City Opera production will feature soprano Lauren Worsham, who recently garnered praise in the premiere of David T. Little's Dog Days.
The treble Benjamin P. Wenzelberg will make his New York City Opera debut as Miles, a role he sang with Opera Moderne at Symphony Space last year. The New York Times wrote that Wenzelberg performed with "intensity and focus, keenly enacting Miles's knife-edge balance as victim and villain." Additional company debuts in the New York City Opera production include contralto Sharmay Musacchio and the "lustrous" (The Wall Street Journal) soprano Jennifer Goode Cooper, as Mrs. Grose and Miss Jessel, respectively.
The Turn of the Screw is the fourth production in a relationship New York City Opera has forged with BAM, which, along with New York City Center, the company's original home, will serve as a primary stage for the company going forward. The superior acoustics of BAM's 2,000-seat, 19th-century-style Howard Gilman Opera House enhances the artistry of singers and musicians, and the venue's convenient Fort Greene location offers a warm welcome to the company's loyal audiences while also helping to attract a new, diverse and enthusiastic fan base.