Monday, March 21, 2011

"The Turn of the Screw" Gets a Scrubdown For L.A. Opera

Patricia Racette stars in 1950s update
(Photo: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)
"Michael Kepler Meo, an impressively confident boy soprano with an eloquent musicality and a becoming stage manner, was a vulnerable Miles. Britten's score and Myfanwy Piper’s libretto suggest a boy who is more a threat, but this Miles was the modern innocent abused and wounded, seeking comfort. That played into Racette's Governess, whose hysteria proved compelling theater, if on the all-purpose side. She seemed the sort who could have been done in by just about anything. Both she and Ann Murray (Mrs. Grose) have large voices, and although they enunciated the English text admirably, they also produced a vibrato-rich blend in ensemble passages that undid them. Ashley Emerson was a striking Flora, the little angel who isn’t such a little angel. William Burden was a suave Quint and also sang the prologue with polish if without the curious edge characteristic of Britten tenors. Tamara Wilson's Miss Jessel was more a spook, coming across as having just been dredged from the lake. An odder, angrier, more mysterious Turn of the Screw can leave an audience too shaken to applaud. Saturday was a night to cheer the cleverness of a director and designer and the devotion of singers, a virtuoso instrumental ensemble and Conlon's engaged conducting." [Source]

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