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Seattle Opera.

The Turn of the Screw

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Oct. 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, & 27, 2018

A Spine-tingling Ghost Story

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October

13

Sat 7:30PM

 

14

Sun 2:00PM

 

17

Wed 7:30PM

 

20

Sat 7:30PM

 

24

Wed 7:30PM

 

26

Fri 7:30PM

 

27

Sat 7:30PM

 

Overview

By Benjamin Britten

An unnamed governess travels to an isolated mansion, hired by a mysterious guardian to care for two orphaned children. What follows are a series of increasingly ominous encounters with “the others”—menacing spirits of the manor’s previous staff. Are the ghosts supernatural in origin, or are they the products of her overactive imagination? Britten’s seductive, luminous, and brilliantly structured score utilizes a variety of musical expression. A tantalizingly veiled portrait of psychological disintegration, with tangible tension throughout.

Expanding upon his “powerful and compelling” (Seattle P-I) staging, director Peter Kazaras heightens the haunting atmosphere with a labyrinthine new production for McCaw Hall.

Join us backstage following the Sautrday, October 27 performance for our Halloween Party and enjoy an eerie one-of-a-kind evening of costumes, food, drinks, and dancing. Party tickets are on sale now and must be purchase separately from your performance ticket. 

Listen to the music

© Philip Newton

In English with English Subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes including 1 intermission.

 

This opera contains some mature themes.   Read content advisories

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Synopsis

Act I
Prologue
The narrator introduces the audience to the Governess’s story. The handsome guardian uncle of young Flora and Miles has hired the young Governess to take care of the children at Bly, the country house where they live with the housekeeper Mrs. Grose. Always involved with his own affairs, the guardian has asked the Governess not to contact him about the children, not even in writing. Eager to please the guardian, the Governess accepts his strange condition.

Scene 1: The Journey
The Governess, traveling to Bly, wonders about the children. What will they be like? How will she manage on her own? How will she make decisions? She chooses to be brave, remembering her promise to their guardian.

Scene 2: The Welcome
Mrs. Grose tries to calm the excited Flora and Miles as they wait to meet their new governess. When the Governess arrives, she is surprised by the splendor of the house and park. The housekeeper tells her how lovely and good the children are. Miles and Flora want to show her all around Bly.

Scene 3: The Letter
A letter arrives from Miles’s school saying he has been dismissed. The Governess and Mrs. Grose are shocked; they can’t believe Miles could be bad. They decide it is a wicked lie and will not even discuss it with Miles.

Scene 4: The Tower
The Governess realizes that the doubts caused by the letter have passed. She wishes she could see the young guardian again to show him how well she is doing. She sees a man on the tower and mistakes him for her employer. He disappears.

Scene 5: The Window
In the hall where the children have been playing, the Governess sees the same man at the window. She describes him to Mrs. Grose, who recognizes the description as that of Peter Quint, who used to be the valet of the master of the house. When she adds that Quint died some time ago, the Governess is horrified. She resolves to protect the children.

Scene 6: The Lesson
In the schoolroom, Miles recites his Latin lesson for the Governess, while Flora competes for her attention. Miles recites an odd poem, and the Governess wonders who taught it to him.

Scene 7: The Lake
By the lake on the estate grounds, the Governess and Flora talk about seas and oceans. Flora sings a haunting lullaby to her little doll. A woman appears beside the lake, watching them. The Governess realizes this must be Miss Jessel, the children’s former governess, also dead. She hurries Flora away.

Scene 8: At Night
Peter Quint calls to Miles, urging the child to join him. Miles, transfixed, listens intently. Miss Jessel calls to Flora, who also responds. The Governess senses something is wrong, and enters abruptly with Mrs. Grose, shattering the communion of ghosts and children. She confronts Miles.

Act II
Scene 1: Colloquy and Soliloquy
As the Governess dozes fitfully, she senses the presence of Quint and Miss Jessel. Jessel cries out to Quint, who rebuffs her. He is interested in another kind of companion. Jessel also seeks a living being with whom she can be linked. Together they proclaim, “The ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The Governess despairs.

Scene 2: The Bells
In the churchyard, the children begin to sing a hymn of praise. Mrs. Grose finds their play sweet; the Governess finds it horrifying. She tells the housekeeper that the children are not with them but are under the power of Quint and Jessel. Mrs. Grose urges her to write to their uncle, but the Governess says that she was ordered not to write. Mrs. Grose takes Flora into the church and Miles challenges the Governess, asking if his uncle shares her suspicions. Stunned by Miles’s challenge, the Governess resolves to leave Bly.

Scene 3: Miss Jessel
In the schoolroom, the Governess finds Miss Jessel. The Governess, enraged, now determines to fight for the children. She will stay and write to their uncle.

Scene 4: The Bedroom
The Governess tells Miles that she has written the letter and begins questioning him gently about what happened in the past. Miles does not answer. Quint calls to him. The child shrieks.

Scene 5: Quint
Urged by Quint, Miles takes the letter the Governess has written.

Scene 6: The Piano
Watched by the Governess, Miles plays the piano. Mrs. Grose falls asleep, and Flora slips away. The Governess takes Mrs. Grose to find the child, leaving Miles behind. She thinks that Miles has distracted her on purpose and is already with Quint, beyond their saving.

Scene 7: Flora
The Governess and Mrs. Grose find Flora by the lake. Even though the Governess sees Miss Jessel, Mrs. Grose claims she herself cannot. Flora cries that she also sees nothing and that she hates the Governess. When Flora leaves with the housekeeper, Miss Jessel disappears. The Governess despairs that Flora is lost.

Scene 8: Miles
After a night spent listening to Flora raving in her sleep, Mrs. Grose decides that she must take the child away from Bly. The Governess is left alone with Miles, who eventually admits that he took the letter. When the Governess asks who made him take it, Peter Quint warns Miles not to betray them. The Governess demands a response from Miles. The boy, distraught, eventually gives her the answer for which she has been waiting.

Read More

Dig Deeper: The Turn of the Screw

Who is Benjamin Britten? Where did the story come from? And what is dodecaphonic music? Explore the story and music of The Turn of the Screw in our in-depth multimedia Spotlight Guide.

 

Read the Spotlight Guide

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Cast

Elizabeth Caballero

Governess

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Governess, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Havana, Cuba 
Seattle Opera Debut: Susanna, Le nozze di Figaro (’09)  
Previously at Seattle Opera: Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (’15); Mimì, La bohème (’13)
Recently:  Florencia, Florencia en el Amazonas (Madison Opera); Mimì, La bohème (Metropolitan Opera); Violetta, La traviata (Compania Lirica Nacional de Costa Rica)
Upcoming: Florencia, Florencia en el Amazonas (Pensacola Opera); Mimì, La bohème (Austin Opera); Violetta, La traviata (Opera Grand Rapids)

Last updated: August 2018

Elizabeth Caballero

Governess

Oct. 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, & 27

Ben Bliss

Peter Quint

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Peter Quint, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Prairie Village, Kansas
Seattle Opera Debut: Ferrando, Così fan tutte ('17)
Recently: Ferrando, Così fan tutte (Oper Frankfurt, Metropolitan Opera); Robert Wilson, Doctor Atomic (Santa Fe Opera); Camille de Rosillon, The Merry Widow (Gran Teatre del Liceu)
Upcoming: Tamino, The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera); Don Ottavio, Don Giovanni (Houston Grand Opera)

Last updated: August 2018

Ben Bliss

Peter Quint

Oct. 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, & 27

Maria Zifchak

Mrs. Grose

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Mrs. Grose, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Bronx, New York
Seattle Opera Debut: Dorabella, Così fan tutte (’06)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Ragonde, Count Ory (’16)
Recently: Mrs. De Rocher, Dead Man Walking (Teatro Real de Madrid and Barbican), Gertrude, Roméo and Juliette (Metropolitan Opera) Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd (Atlanta Opera)
Upcoming:  Annina, Traviata (Metropolitan Opera); Mrs. DeRocher, Dead Man Walking (Atlanta Opera); Serena Joy, The Handmaid’s Tale (Boston Lyric Opera) 

Last updated: August 2018

Maria Zifchak

Mrs. Grose

Oct. 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, & 27

Marcy Stonikas

Miss Jessel

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Miss Jessel, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL
Seattle Opera Debut: Second Lady, The Magic Flute (’11)
Previously at Seattle Opera: High Priestess, Aida ('18); Mother, Hansel and Gretel (’17); Prima Donna/Ariadne, Ariadne auf Naxos (’15); Tosca, Tosca (’15)
Recently: Senta, The Flying Dutchman (Cincinatti Opera); Tosca, Tosca (Arizona Opera); Ariadne/Prima Donna, Ariadne auf Naxos (Berkshire Festival Opera); Turandot, Turandot (Atlanta Opera)

Last updated: August 2018

 

Marcy Stonikas

Miss Jessel

Oct. 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, & 27

Soraya Mafi

Flora

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Flora, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Manchester, UK
Seattle Opera Debut

Recently: Tytania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (English National Opera); Suor Genoveva, Suor Angelica (Opera North); Nanetta, Falstaff (Garsington Opera)
Upcoming: La divisione del mondo (Opera national du Rhin); Gretel, Hansel und Gretel (Grange Park Opera); Yum-yum, Mikado (English National Opera)

Last updated: August 2018

Soraya Mafi

Flora

Seattle Opera Debut
Oct. 13, 14, 17, 20, 24, 26, & 27

Rafi Bellamy Plaice

Miles

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Miles, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Brighton, UK
Seattle Opera Debut
Rafi is the current BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year, and he has been touring the UK and abroad as soloist in Radio, Concert and Television. He recently performed the treble solo in Chichester Psalms at Tanglewood with Boston Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons. He was a chorister at Chichester Cathedral Choir for six years during which he sang seven services weekly and toured in Germany, France and Holland. He was made Head Chorister in his final year. Following his engagement with Seattle Opera, he returns to England to resume his studies as a choral scholar at Lancing College. 

Last updated: August 2018

Rafi Bellamy Plaice

Miles

Seattle Opera Debut
Oct 13, 17, 24, & 27

Forrest Wu

Miles

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Miles, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Seattle Opera Debut
Forrest began singing with the Northwest Boychoir when he was six years old, where he has performed numerous times with the Seattle Symphony, including Orff’s Carmina burana, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortiléges, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. Forrest has also participated in several professional recording projects, including soundtracks for Cirque du Soleil’s Volta and the videogame Golem. He can also be heard on the Seattle Symphony’s recording of Messiaen's Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine. Forrest made his Seattle Opera debut in Aida earlier this year and, when not singing, enjoys playing both violin and viola in the Washington Middle School orchestra.

Last updated: August 2018

Forrest Wu

Miles

Seattle Opera Debut
Oct 14, 20, & 26

Cast

Creative Team

Constantin Trinks

Conductor

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The Turn of the Screw

Hometown:  Karlsruhe, Germany
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Così fan tutte and Arabella (Bayerische Staatsoper); The Ring Cycle (Theater an der Wien); Tristan und Isolde (Staatstheater Kassel)
Upcoming: Lohengrin (Prague National Theatre); Euryanthe (Theater an der Wien); Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Bayerische Staatsoper)

Last updated: August 2018

Constantin Trinks

Conductor

Seattle Opera Debut

Peter Kazaras

Director

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: New York, NY
Seattle Opera Directing Debut: Norma (’03)
Previously at Seattle Opera: An American Dream (’15 and ’17); The Consul (’14); Falstaff (’10)
Recently: The Barber of Seville (Washington National Opera), The Thieving Magpie (Glimmerglass Festival); Der Ring des Polykrates (Dallas Opera)
Upcoming: The Ghosts of Versailles (Chautauqua); Lost Childhood (World Premiere at UCLA) 

Last updated: August 2018

Peter Kazaras

Director

Robert A. Dahlstrom

Set Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Billings, MT
Seattle Opera Debut: The Ballad of Baby Doe (’84)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Beatrice and Benedict (’18); The Magic Flute (’17); Ariadne auf Naxos (’15); Don Giovanni (’14); The Tales of Hoffmann (’14)
Recently: Fidelio (Cincinnati Opera); Bloomsday (ACT Theatre)
Upcoming: Rigoletto (L’Opéra de Montréal)

Last updated: August 2018

Robert A. Dahlstrom

Set Designer

Deborah Trout

Costume Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Seattle Opera Debut: The Marriage of Figaro (’09)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor (’10); An American Dream (’15); Beatrice and Benedict (’18)
Recently: The Crucible and Mr. Burns – A Post Electric Play (ACT Theatre); The Hound of the Baskervilles (Seattle Repertory Theatre); Cyrano (Portland Center Stage); Native Gardens (Arizona Theatre Company)

Last updated: August 2018

Deborah Trout

Costume Designer

Connie Yun

Lighting Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: East Lansing, MI
Seattle Opera Debut: Die Fledermaus (’06)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Beatrice and Benedict (’18); An American Dream (’17 and ’15); As One (’16); Tosca (’15)
Recently: La Cenerentola and Orfeo ed Eurydice (Portland Opera); Skylight (ACT Theatre)
Upcoming: The Magic Flute (Kentucky Opera); Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci (Madison Opera); The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Seattle Children’s Theatre)

Last updated: August 2018

Connie Yun

Lighting Designer

Adam Larsen

Projection Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Projection Designer, The Turn of the Screw

Hometown: Asheville, NC
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Director, John Adams’s The Dharma at Big Sur (Opera Omaha One Festival); Projection Designer, Boris Godunov (San Francisco Symphony); Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (Projection Designer, Mostly Mozart Festival)
Upcoming: Projection Designer, SoundBox, 5th Season (San Francisco Symphony); Projection Designer, David Lang’s Prisoner of the State (New York Philharmonic)

Last updated: August 2018

Adam Larsen

Projection Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Creative Team

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Sponsors

2018/19 Season Sponsor

Lenore M. Hanauer

Production Sponsor

Marks Family Foundation

 

Photos © Philip Newton