Benjamin Britten

The Turn of the Screw, Op. 54

Sinfonia of London, Robert Murray, Rhian Lois, Leo Jemison, Alys Mererid Roberts, Gweneth Ann Rand, Francesca Chiejina, John Wilson

CHDVD 5290

Henry James’s novella The Turn of the Screw has become notorious as at once the most stylish and elusively ambiguous of all nineteenth-century ghost stories. In June 1932, the eighteen-year-old Benjamin Britten heard a radio adaptation of James’s story and noted in his diary that it was ‘wonderful, impressive but terribly eerie & scary’. He read the novella for himself in January the following year, telling his diary that he still found it ‘glorious & eerie’ and judging it to be an ‘incredible masterpiece’. His subsequent operatic setting is unequivocally a masterpiece, and is here seen in a first-class production made for television with an outstanding cast led by Robert Murray and Rhian Lois, accompanied by Sinfonia of London, and conducted by John Wilson. Originally planned as a run of live performances, subsequently cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the production was quickly transformed into a film for television with spectacular results.