23 Oct 2006
The Turn of the Screw
Neil Fisher at Glyndebourne [Times Online, 24 October 2006]
The first thing to say about Jonathan Kent’s new production of The Turn of the Screw is that it isn’t scary. The second thing to say is that this opera probably doesn’t need to be — unlike the Henry James novella on which it is based. In Britten’s world the two ghosts that haunt the Governess and her young charges, Miles and Flora, occupy ambiguous ground. Should she confront them? Does she even need to? In Kent’s mind the battle lines are fuzzy. Kate Royal’s youthful Governess is no Victorian tragedienne, but she and her household come from the cosy world of 1950s domesticity. Here family values take precedence, the friendly housekeeper, Mrs Grose, does the vacuuming, and children are allowed to be children.