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Britten - The Turn of the Screw / Bedford, Field, Davies, Greagor, Obata, Schwetzinger Festpiele, Stuttgart (1990)

Lilian Watson , Helen Donath  |  NR |  DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lilian Watson, Helen Donath
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00008JL6Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,460 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Britten's opera, based on Henry James' short story is performed here by Helen Field, Menai Davies, Richard Greager, Phyllis Canna, Machiko Obata. Samuel Linay conducts the Stuttgart Radio Orchestra and chorus.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Benjamin Britten's 1954 opera based on Henry James's spooky ghost story, 'The Turn of the Screw,' is acknowledged as one of his masterpieces. The libretto by Myfanwy Piper is as allusive, poetic and psychologically powerful as James's original.
This production, from the 1990 Schwetzingen Festival was a co-production of Covent Garden and the Cologne Opera. The British cast includes Helen Field (Governess), Menai Davies (Mrs Grose), Richard Greager (Peter Quint), Phyllis Cannan (Miss Jessel), Machiko Obata (Flora), and Samuel Linay (Miles). The orchestra, conducted by Britten expert (and artistic director of Britten's own Aldeburgh Festival) Steuart Bedford, is the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (well, fifteen players from that group anyhow - Britten's orchestration for chamber orchestra is a miracle of colorful economy). The stage direction, by German Michael Hampe, is suitably eerie, catching the increasing tension ['the turn of the screw'] as the story unfolds. The set and costume design is not credited in the DVD's booklet, but requires mention because the black, gray and white colors that predominate are so apt to the shadowy ambience of the story. Finally, the direction for video and TV by Claus Viller is as effective as it is unobtrusive.
The opera is in a prologue (sung by the tenor who later sings Peter Quint) and two acts comprising eight scenes each. Each scene is preceded by an orchestral interlude - a theme and fifteen variations. It tells of the arrival of a governess at an isolated English country house where her absent employer's niece and nephew and an elderly housekeeper live.
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... in its own right, this opera is sheer perfection. I really got deeply involved with the characters and what happened to them. They all seemed so perfect for their parts and sang superbly well. The atmosphere and tension never let up and, against all expectations, I found it - for a want of better words - a total, extremely satisfying experience.
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