The Turn of the Screw is a 20th-century English chamber opera composed by Benjamin Britten with a libretto by Myfanwy Piper, "wife of the artist John Piper, who had been a friend of the composer since 1935 and had provided designs for several of the operas". The libretto is based on the novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The opera was commissioned by the Venice Biennale and given its world premiere on 14 September 1954, at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice. The original recording was made during that year, with the composer conducting.
Described as one of the most dramatically appealing English operas, the opera in two acts has a prologue and sixteen scenes, each preceded by a variation on the twelve-note 'Screw' theme. Typically of Britten, the music mixes tonality and dissonance, with Britten's recurrent use of a twelve-tone figure being perhaps a nod to the approach of Arnold Schoenberg. Thematically, the play gives a central role to a line borrowed from W. B. Yeats' poem "The Second Coming": "The ceremony of innocence is drowned."
Performances & Interviews
- Britten: The Turn Of The Screwhttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sf3mz.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01sf3mz.jpg2014-02-17T14:56:00.000ZSimon Heighes with a personal recommendation from CD and DVD recordings of Britten's opera The Turn of the Screwhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01sf3nc
Britten: The Turn Of The ScrewSimon Heighes with a personal recommendation from CD and DVD recordings of Britten's opera The Turn of the Screw
- Britten: The Turn of the Screw - Opera Guidehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vqmyy.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01vqmyy.jpg2014-03-19T10:31:00.000ZA guide to Britten's The Turn of the Screw featuring the voices of Britten experts.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/p01vqn15
Britten: The Turn of the Screw - Opera GuideA guide to Britten's The Turn of the Screw featuring the voices of Britten experts.