Review: Israeli Opera, The Turn of the Screw
The cast is mostly outstanding, the orchestra creates the mood, though too often overshadowing the singers’ voices.
The Turn of the Screw Photo: Yossi Zwecker
Benjamin Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw (translated unaccountably into
Hebrew as “The Ring of Choke”) is a masterpiece of ambiguity.
visitants are real or ghosts; whether they are ghosts or imaginary visions
proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain of the Governess; whether they target
the children or the Governess or both; whether the Governess is normal or
psychic; whether the boy is killed by the ghost or by the Governess or dies a
natural death by sudden stroke – all these disturbing questions are left without
unequivocal answers, and continue to trouble the spectator on his uneasy way
Alessandro Talevi’s direction is, perhaps intentionally, as
confusing as the plot. Performing mainly in chiaroscuro, it is often almost
impossible to distinguish who is who. All this results in an increasingly
unwholesome atmosphere that perfectly suits the opera’s content.
Haskins’ lighting is sharply effective, particularly his impressive
The cast is mostly outstanding. As the Governess, Sinead
Mulhern’s bright, intense soprano, though, inclines too much toward hysterical
expression that does not quite suit this basically innocent yet emotionally
In the role of Peter Quint, tenor Robert McPherson’s
melismatic calls of Miles’ name sounded as eerily seductive as they are
presumably intended to be. His violent demand to take the letter is pronounced
just as frighteningly to Miles as to the audience. The work’s central idea, “The
Ceremony of Innocence is drowned,” is intoned most poignantly.
Mellor’s reassuring mezzosoprano convincingly represented Mrs. Grose, though
occasionally more theatrically than this commonplace housekeeper’s role
requires. In the role of Miles, boy soprano Harry Oakes admirably managed to
give his voice the uncanny flavor that his supposedly innocent song melody
Shira Patshornik’s appealing soprano, as Flora, sounded more
professional and polished than one expects of a young girl.
outcry of Peter Quint’s name, however, was an anticlimax, instead of the opera’s
His desperately and clearly pronounced strong
exclamation was diluted to an insignificant afterthought, drowned in the
The Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion’s 13 members
persuasively created the work’s somber,uncanny mood and dramatic moments under
David Stern’s direction, though too often overshadowing the singers’ voices and