Britten: The Turn of the Screw

This page lists all recordings of The Turn of the Screw, by Benjamin Britten (1913-76) on CD, SACD, DVD, Blu-ray & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


Andrew Kennedy (Prologue, Peter Quint), Sally Matthews (Governess), Michael Clayton-Jolly (Miles), Lucy Hall (Flora), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (Mrs Grose) & Katherine Broderick (Miss Jessel)

London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Farnes

Released in the Britten anniversary year, Richard Farnes, the Music Director of Opera North who led their critically acclaimed production of 'The Turn of the Screw' in 2010, conducts an all-English cast in Britten’s most ingeniously crafted opera, including Andrew Kennedy, Sally Matthews, and 11-year old Michael Clayton-Jolly in the role of Miles.

Originally scheduled to be conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Richard Farnes was the natural replacement, himself having been mentored by the late conductor.

In 1932, the 18-year-old Britten heard on the radio ‘a wonderful, impressive but terribly eerie and scary play 'The Turn of the Screw' by Henry James.’ Britten’s version of the ghost story, premiered in 1954, is a chamber opera in a prologue and two acts. The opera tells the story of a Governess and a housekeeper, Mrs Grose, who vow to protect two children, Miles and Flora, from the strange happenings that occur in the grounds of their English country house.

“Farnes directs a taut, crisply-detailed account of Britten’s masterpiece. His cast is perfect: Kennedy a slyly seductive Quint; Matthews spot on in conveying the Governess’s growing horror and resolve; as telling a Flora and Miles as any on disc. Excellent Barbican sound.” Classical Music *****

“[Farnes] directs a detailed and well-paced performance in which the collective and individual playing of his chamber orchestra...could hardly be bettered...Listeners (and viewers) are almost spoilt for choice with the many very fine recordings of this opera...but this new one definitely deserves inclusion amongst the best of them” Classical Review

“this vibrant, spine-tingling take on Britten’s Henry James opera owes its success to the late conductor’s replacement [Richard Farnes]. This was his first encounter with the LSO, whose soloists here...are the stars.” Sunday Times, 12th January 2014

“Britten's opera makes its usual harrowing impact...Broderick's darker-toned Miss Jessel contrasts well with [Matthews]...while Catherine Wyn-Rogers's Mrs Grose is faultlessly secure and vivid. Richard Farnes's conducting unfolds the opera at a quite expansive pace with no loss of tensions, although he allows some over-sumptuous moments” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ***

“The orchestral performance under Richard Farnes is everything it should be, and indeed as a representation of this chilling score this is a very good performance indeed. That said, it does lack the sheer sense of discovery and horrified engagement that was present in the original Decca recording.” MusicWeb International, 7th February 2014

“It's Andrew Kennedy as the ghost Peter Quint who impresses most...He's a worldly Quint...one whose voice naturally embodies all the necessary qualities to dramatize the childlike appeal of Quint's high-flown poetic language...As the hapless ex-governess Miss Jessel, Katherine Broderick brings a pleasing edge to the part.” International Record Review, February 2014

“there is much to admire, especially in the virtuoso playing of the LSO musicians, but the drama seems underplayed...Still, this is a good cast in an opera that rarely gets a poor performance...Kennedy is an expressive Quint, especially imaginative in the Prologue” Gramophone Magazine, March 2014

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

LSO Live - LSO0749

(SACD - 2 discs)

$23.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Glyndebourne production by Jonathan Kent


Toby Spence (Prologue/Peter Quint), Miah Persson (Governess), Susan Bickley (Mrs Grose), Giselle Allen (Miss Jessel), Thomas Parfitt (Miles), Joanna Songi (Flora)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Hrusa

It is indeed ‘a curious story’, as the Prologue says. A remote English country house, an old and faithful housekeeper, two young orphan children and an eager new governess sent down from London to look after them. But all is not quite as it seems in the sheltered world of Bly. Spirits from the past increasingly encroach upon the realm of the living. And one question keeps worming its way into the governess’s mind: what exactly did happen between the children, their former governess and the deceased manservant, Peter Quint? Britten’s brilliantly scored, insidiously compelling adaptation of Henry James’s novella takes its themes of childish innocence and adult corruption, then twists and turns them to disturbing and ultimately devastating effect. Jonathan Kent’s eerily unsettling staging has been recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival conducted by Glyndebourne on Tour’s Music Director, Jakub Hrusa.

“Here is Britten’s supremely crafted operatic masterpiece — not a dud moment or false move — in a shatteringly powerful performance of such musical and theatrical distinction that I scarcely know where to begin apportioning praise. Perhaps the conductor: I already knew the quality of Jonathan Kent’s production from its first outing in 2006, and the cast looked pretty hot on paper too. But what I hadn’t suspected was that the young Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa would offer such a thrillingly visceral, angry and churned-up reading of the score. Galvanising the LPO to playing of scalding brilliance, Hrusa carefully ratcheted up the tension in the early scenes and brought the drama to the boil with an almost daemonic intensity. This wasn’t a nice creepy bedtime story, but something reaching dangerously into the darker reaches of human nature.” Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

“one of the company’s best Britten performances. Jonathan Kent’s production, vividly conducted by Jakob Hrusa, turns the Victorian ghost story into something more modern but equally “innocent” – a 1950s psychological thriller, with strong performances [from Persson and Spence]” Financial Times, 30th November 2012

“The Turn of the Screw has been lucky on DVD - but forget those performances. This Glyndebourne production is streets ahead...At its dark heart lies Jakub Hrusa's quite astonishing conducting...A cast of first-rate singers infuse their roles with unnerving life...Altogether, one of the finest opera performances on DVD. Buy it.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2013 *****

“the casting is ideal...Hrusa's conducting, completely unlike Britten's more romantic approach, looks throughout to emphasise the tone-row (and atonal) elements that stalk this score like the story's ghosts. It's a real contribution to our musical knowledge of the score.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“the singing is probably the finest on any DVD version of the work … Miah Persson is flawless … Her diction, pitch and sense of line are impeccable … [Spence's] melismatic singing is clean and effortless … wonderful children … Jakub Hrusa leads the London Philharmonic in an instinctual, perversely accented, gut-wrenching reading and the 15-or-so instrumentalists are superb … Both picture and sound are excellent … musically close to perfection” International Record Review, March 2013

“the video direction of François Roussillon fully exploits the intimacy of the DVD medium, of this opera and of Jonathan Kent’s stage direction...This superlatively sung, played, acted and directed production sets a gold standard for future staged versions...The opera comes with 22 minutes of extras. These illuminate why this Glyndebourne 2011 version is so distinctive, how it developed and the nature of the journey for the performers” MusicWeb International, March 2013

“Jonathan Kent’s recent Glyndebourne production (filmed here in 2011) is a tour de force, with astonishingly vivid conducting by Jakub Hrusa; the action is shifted forward from the nineteenth century of the James original to the 1950s, a move which is illuminating and never obtrusive. Miah Persson's Hitchcockian heroine fits perfectly into the updated setting, Toby Spence is a seductive and unusually sympathetic Quint, and both children are excellent.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

Building a Library

First Choice (DVD/Blu-ray) - November 2013

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - January 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

fRA - FRA007

(DVD Video)

$34.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


Joan Rodgers (Governess), Ian Bostridge (Prologue/Peter Quint), Jane Henschel (Mrs Grose), Vivian Tierney (Miss Jessel), Julian Leang (Miles), Caroline Wise (Flora)

Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Harding

The mid-price collection presents some of the most important and admired recordings of the EMI Classics and Virgin Classics catalogue which make EMI 'The Home of Opera'. This performance of The Turn of the Screw was recorded in 2002 at the Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk.

“This performance captures the sense of dislocation essential to this chilling ghost story” BBC Music Magazine, June 2010 ***

“The beauty of [Bostridge's] calls to Miles from the tower in the First Act convince you that he could cast a spell over the boy...Vocally Rodgers is dependably secure, often very beautiful, and always intelligent...Top marks to the lot: well-paced, atmospheric, and detailed” John Armstrong, bbc.co.uk, 20th November 2002

Building a Library

First Choice - November 2013

Virgin - The Opera Series - 4563792

(CD - 2 discs)

$20.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


Peter Pears (Prologue/Quint), Jennifer Vyvyan (Governess), Joan Cross (Mrs Grose), Olive Dyer (Flora), David Hemmings (Miles), Arda Mandikian (Miss Jessel)

English Opera Group, Benjamin Britten

“As Sir Colin Davis has shown on Philips, there's room for an alternative interpretation of this remarkable work, but this superb first recording will remain as documentary-historical evidence of the highest importance and value. Will there ever be a better performance, let alone recording, of The Turn of the Screw than this by the original cast, recorded less than four months after the 1954 Venice premiere? This score is Britten at his greatest, expressing good and evil with equal ambivalence, evoking the tense and sinister atmosphere of Bly by inspired use of the chamber orchestra and imparting vivid and truthful life to every character in the story. As one listens, transfixed, all that matters is Britten's genius as a composer. Jennifer Vyvyan's portrayal of the Governess is a classic characterisation, her vocal subtleties illuminating every facet of the role and she has the perfect foil in Joan Cross's motherly and uncomplicated Mrs Grose. The glittering malevolence of Pears's Quint, luring David Hemmings's incomparable Miles to destruction; the tragic tones of Arda Mandikian's Miss Jessel; Olive Dyer's spiteful Flora – how fortunate we are that these performances are preserved.
As with all the Decca/Britten reissues, the transfer is a triumph.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Though the recording is in mono olny, the very dryness and sharpness of focus give an extra intensity to the composer's own incomparable reading of this most compressed opera...so atmospheric and powerful is this performance, visuals become almost irrelevant, so vividly are pictures painted in the mind.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

Decca Opera Sets - 4256722

(CD - 2 discs)

$32.00

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Live Recording from The Schwetzingen SWR Festival, 1990


Helen Field (Governess), Menai Davies (Mrs Grose), Richard Greager (Quint/Prologue) & Machiko Obata (Flora)

Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR), Steuart Bedford (conductor) & Michael Hampe (stage director)

This interpretation of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw by Michael Hampe was recorded in 1990 at the Schwetzingen SWR Festival in a co-production with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London, and the Opera of Cologne in 1990. The Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra played under the direction of Steuart Bedford, an expert in Britten’s orchestral language.

Based on the novel by Henry James The Turn of the Screw is certainly more than just a beautifully spine-chilling gothic story. In his musical rendering, Britten succeeds in masterfully portraying the fateful relationships of the characters involved. Helen Field, Menai Davies, Machiko Obata and Richard Greager bring the characters in this moving plot to life in a very impressive way and convince the audience with superb voices.

BONUS: Introduction to the opera.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo

Picture Format: 4:3

DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC

Subtitle Languages: GB (Original Language), DE, FR, ES

Running Time: 114 mins (Opera) & 8 mins (Bonus)

FSK: 0

“Britten's master-opera is suitably harrowing in this dead-straight, beautifully designed Schwetzingen Festival staging.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Arthaus Musik - 102303

(DVD Video)

$34.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Benjamin Britten, Vol. 4 (1954)

Benjamin Britten, Vol. 4 (1954)


Britten:

The Turn of the Screw


Peter Pears (Prologue/Quint), Jennifer Vyvyan (Governess), Joan Cross (Mrs Grose), Olive Dyer (Flora), David Hemmings (Miles), Arda Mandikian (Miss Jessel)

English Opera Group, Benjamin Britten

Documents - Benjamin Britten - 298336

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Glyndebourne production by Jonathan Kent


Toby Spence (Prologue/Peter Quint), Miah Persson (Governess), Susan Bickley (Mrs Grose), Giselle Allen (Miss Jessel), Thomas Parfitt (Miles), Joanna Songi (Flora)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Hrusa

It is indeed ‘a curious story’, as the Prologue says. A remote English country house, an old and faithful housekeeper, two young orphan children and an eager new governess sent down from London to look after them. But all is not quite as it seems in the sheltered world of Bly. Spirits from the past increasingly encroach upon the realm of the living. And one question keeps worming its way into the governess’s mind: what exactly did happen between the children, their former governess and the deceased manservant, Peter Quint? Britten’s brilliantly scored, insidiously compelling adaptation of Henry James’s novella takes its themes of childish innocence and adult corruption, then twists and turns them to disturbing and ultimately devastating effect. Jonathan Kent’s eerily unsettling staging has been recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival conducted by Glyndebourne on Tour’s Music Director, Jakub Hrusa.

“Here is Britten’s supremely crafted operatic masterpiece — not a dud moment or false move — in a shatteringly powerful performance of such musical and theatrical distinction that I scarcely know where to begin apportioning praise. Perhaps the conductor: I already knew the quality of Jonathan Kent’s production from its first outing in 2006, and the cast looked pretty hot on paper too. But what I hadn’t suspected was that the young Czech conductor Jakub Hrusa would offer such a thrillingly visceral, angry and churned-up reading of the score. Galvanising the LPO to playing of scalding brilliance, Hrusa carefully ratcheted up the tension in the early scenes and brought the drama to the boil with an almost daemonic intensity. This wasn’t a nice creepy bedtime story, but something reaching dangerously into the darker reaches of human nature.” Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph

“The Turn of the Screw has been lucky on DVD - but forget those performances. This Glyndebourne production is streets ahead...At its dark heart lies Jakub Hrusa's quite astonishing conducting...A cast of first-rate singers infuse their roles with unnerving life...Altogether, one of the finest opera performances on DVD. Buy it.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2013 *****

“one of the company’s best Britten performances. Jonathan Kent’s production, vividly conducted by Jakob Hrusa, turns the Victorian ghost story into something more modern but equally “innocent” – a 1950s psychological thriller, with strong performances [from Persson and Spence]” Financial Times, 30th November 2012

“the video direction of François Roussillon fully exploits the intimacy of the DVD medium, of this opera and of Jonathan Kent’s stage direction...This superlatively sung, played, acted and directed production sets a gold standard for future staged versions...The opera comes with 22 minutes of extras. These illuminate why this Glyndebourne 2011 version is so distinctive, how it developed and the nature of the journey for the performers.” MusicWeb International, March 2013

“the singing is probably the finest on any DVD version of the work … Miah Persson is flawless … Her diction, pitch and sense of line are impeccable … [Spence's] melismatic singing is clean and effortless … wonderful children … Jakub Hrusa leads the London Philharmonic in an instinctual, perversely accented, gut-wrenching reading and the 15-or-so instrumentalists are superb … Both picture and sound are excellent … musically close to perfection” International Record Review, March 2013

“the casting is ideal...Hrusa's conducting, completely unlike Britten's more romantic approach, looks throughout to emphasise the tone-row (and atonal) elements that stalk this score like the story's ghosts. It's a real contribution to our musical knowledge of the score.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2013

“Jonathan Kent’s recent Glyndebourne production (filmed here in 2011) is a tour de force, with astonishingly vivid conducting by Jakub Hrusa; the action is shifted forward from the nineteenth century of the James original to the 1950s, a move which is illuminating and never obtrusive. Miah Persson's Hitchcockian heroine fits perfectly into the updated setting, Toby Spence is a seductive and unusually sympathetic Quint, and both children are excellent.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

Building a Library

First Choice (DVD/Blu-ray) - November 2013

BBC Music Magazine

DVD/Blu-ray Choice - January 2013

Blu-ray Disc

Region: all

fRA - FRA507

(Blu-ray)

$42.75

Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


Philip Langridge (Prologue), Helen Donath (Governess), Heather Harper (Miss Jessel), Robert Tear (Quint), Ava June (Mrs Grose), Michael Ginn (Miles), Lillian Watson (Flora)

Members of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Colin Davis

Recorded in 1981

“Britten's devastating master-opera is graced with a performance to match, with stellar playing and a mesmerising tour de force each from Robert Tear's Quint and Helen Donath's Governess.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2012 *****

“Colin Davis conducts a stellar performance with Helen Donath a luminous, febrile Governess, Heather Harper a truly other-worldly Miss Jessel and Robert Tear suitably insinuating and chilling as the malevolent Quint. Philip Langridge's subtly unsettling account of the opening narrative sets the uncanny scene to perfection.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

Decca Operas - 4784143

(CD - 2 discs)

$22.75

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


William Burden (Prologue/Peter Quint), Camilla Tilling (Governess), Joanna Songi (Flora), Christopher Sladdin (Miles), Anne-Marie Owens (Mrs Grose) & Emma Bell (Miss Jessel)

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Edward Gardner

Britten’s operas have an interesting history at Glyndebourne beginning with the premiere of The Rape of Lucretia at Glyndebourne (1946) with Kathleen Ferrier as Lucretia.

Glyndebourne also premiered Albert Herring (1947) then 34 years of the Glyndebourne Festival elapsed until another of Britten’s operas, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was staged in 1981. It took over 50 years to stage The Turn of the Screw, which after a touring production in 2006 transferred to the Festival in 2007, from where this recording is captured.

Every role is beautifully cast through tenor William Burden, as both Prologue and Peter Quint, and Camilla Tilling as the convincing troubled Governess. Anne-Marie Owens is an extremely affable Mrs Grose, her voice endearing and warm.

Joanna Songi is a feisty and resentful Flora; Christopher Sladdin’s boy treble voice is hauntingly beautiful, and Emma Bell is a sure-footed Miss Jessel.

This recording is aided in no small part by conductor Edward Gardner whose intense understanding of the score is made all the more satisfying by the faultless playing of the ensemble from the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

This recording is certain to leave listeners troubled. It would not be the recording it is if it did not do so; the mood dark and chilling while maintaining an element of thrill.

Edward Gardner appears courtesy of Chandos Records Ltd.

“this version has the advantages of being taken from live performances and electrifyingly brilliant playing from the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Edward Gardner...Christopher Sladdin and Joanna Songi are both innocent and creepy as Miles and Flora” The Telegraph, 9th June 2011 ****

“The recording splendidly captures the breath and the pulse...conducted with a thrilling precision of rhythm, transparency of texture and horrifyingly inexorability of momentum by Edward Gardner. From the first frisson of Andrew Smith's potent, later demonic, piano playing, we are drawn into the plight of every character...This will be a superb aide-memoire for anyone who saw Jonathan Kent's production; and a revelatory sound-drama for all” BBC Music Magazine, July 2011 ****

“Edward Gardner, conducting the London Philharmonic, makes the score tingle ...Camilla Tilling’s lyric soprano stresses the Governess’s virtue over neurosis. Emma Bell is the suitably scary Miss Jessel...the children are excellent.” Financial Times, 25 ***

“Everything is brilliantly executed - the pacing taut, the feeling for Britten's sound world instinctive and the instrumental playing well-nigh unsurpassed. Like the production, Gardner peers fearlessly below the score's surface...Camilla Tilling gets right under the skin of the Governess...William Burden and Emma Bell put flesh on the ghostly couple, with Burden hitting a conversational tone in the Prologue.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2011

“Everything is in place, especially the rhythmic vitality so crucial to this score. The LPO in chamber-style mode plays gloriously, especially the individual wind instruments...[Gardner] manages the vital transitions from scene to scene with absolute seamlessness...Burden confirms that he was seemingly born for the Britten repertoire...Through the vocalism there also emerges an unmistakably sexual allure in this Quint that I have not heard matched by others in this role” International Record Review, July/August 2011

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - July 2011

Glyndebourne - GFOCD01107

(CD - 2 discs)

$29.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


Eilene Hannan (Governess), Anson Austin (Prologue/Quint), Margaret Haggart (Mrs Grose), Wendy Dixon (Miss Jessel), Patrick Littlemore (Miles), Lanette Jones (Flora)

The West Australian Symphony Orchestra & Opera Australia, David Stanhope

PICTURE FORMAT: 4:3
LENGTH: 113 Mins
SOUND: STEREO
SUBTITLES: EN

“As the Governess, Eilene Hannan performed grippingly…The final scene, going from high drama to poignant grief, was arrestingly good” The Australian

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte Faveo - OAF4014D

(DVD Video)

$20.25

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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