I am certainly not an opera afficiando; but I have seen a whole lot of theatre in my time. I don’t understand the nuance of the art form but I do know good acting when I see it. And so despite the odd-to-me musicality (though definitely well-sung) of TURN OF THE SCREW, I feel confident in telling you that the production was top-notch.
Here’s a brief synopsis: A governess arrives to take care of two children, who start to be haunted by two ghosts who intend to negatively influence the children’s behavior. There’s subtext in the script and story that really is a bit unsettling.
Director Vince DeGeorge is the Joseph Weinberger Chair of Acting for the Lyric Stage and it shows in the performances of each of the performers. I saw it on opening night (the show is double cast.) Amber R. Monroe as the Governess emotes well as the frustrated and frightened protector of children Miles (Mischa Sella) and Flora (Allison Anderson). Chelsea Duval-Major is equally convincing as the weary but loyal housekeeper, Mrs. Grose. My favorite part of the production, though, was the creepy and haunting performances by Salvatore Atti (Peter Quint) and Shannon Cochran (Miss Jessel.) Cochran was especially interesting to watch, as she skulked about the stage with a terrifying presence.
DeGeorge’s choices in using a turntable and subtle placement of furniture on the rotating stage helped to signify the change in scenes without distracting from the gorgeous set by Mark Halpin. Brandon Thompson’s costumes were period-specific and Marnee Porter’s wigs were a highlight. Aik Khai Pung, the conductor, led an impressive orchestra.
I’m not sure I’ll ever fully appreciate the genre of opera, but as high-art goes TURN OF THE SCREW was pretty good!
Click here for more information about the College-Conservatory of Music’s opera program!