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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.

Listen to the music

© Philip Newton

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

 

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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.

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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 (New York City Opera); The Moon and The Mother, Before Night Falls (Florida Grand Opera); Violetta, La traviata (Compania Lirica Nacional de Costa Rica)
Upcoming: Florencia, Florencia en el Amazonas (Madison Opera); Mimì, La bohème (Austin Lyric Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

Elizabeth Caballero

Governess

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

Ben Bliss

Peter Quint

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Ferrando, Così fan tutte
At Seattle Opera in 2018/19: Peter Quint, The Turn of the Screw

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

Last updated: December 2017

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: Suzuki, Madama Butterfly, and Hedwige, William Tell (Metropolitan Opera); Mrs. De Rocher, Dead Man Walking (Lyric Opera of Kansas City)
Upcoming: Mrs. De Rocher, Dead Man Walking (Teatro Real de Madrid); Mrs. Lovett, Sweeney Todd (Atlanta Opera); Azucena, Il trovatore (Central City Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

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: Tosca, Tosca (Arizona Opera); Ariadne/Prima Donna, Ariadne auf Naxos (Berkshire Festival Opera); Turandot, Turandot (Atlanta Opera)
Upcoming: Senta, The Flying Dutchman (Cincinatti Opera); Mother, Hansel and Gretel (San Diego Opera); Miss Jessel, The Turn of the Screw (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: June 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

Seattle Opera Debut
Recently:Mabel, The Pirates of Penzance (English National Opera); Suor Genoveva, Suor Angelica (Opera North); Cleopatra, Giulio Cesare (English Touring Opera)
Upcoming: Tytania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (English National Opera); Nanetta, Falstaff  (Garsington Opera); La divisione del mondo (Opera national du Rhin)

Last updated: December 2017

Soraya Mafi

Flora

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

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 (Bayerische Staatsoper); The Ring Cycle (Theater an der Wien)
Upcoming: Mussorgski‘s “Bilder einer Austellung” (Wien Musikverein); Tristan and Isolde (Theater Kassel); Arabella (Bayerische Staatsoper)

Last updated: December 2017

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 (’15); Madame Butterfly (’12)
Recently: The Marriage of Figaro (Washington National Opera), La gazza ladra and An American Tragedy (Glimmerglass Festival)
Upcoming: Der Ring des Polykrates (Dallas Opera); The Barber of Seville (Washington National Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

Peter Kazaras

Director

Robert A. Dahlstrom

Set Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: Beatrice and Benedict
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: The Magic Flute (’17); Ariadne auf Naxos (’15); Don Giovanni (’14); The Tales of Hoffmann (’14)
Recently: Fidelio (Cincinnati Opera); Bloomsday (ACT Theatre)
Upcoming: Beatrice and Benedict (Seattle Opera)

Last updated: December 2017

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 (ACT Theatre);  Sherlock Holmes and the American Problem (Seattle Repertory Theatre); Cyrano (Portland Center Stage)

Last updated: June 2018

Deborah Trout

Costume Designer

Connie Yun

Lighting Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2017/18: An American Dream and Beatrice and Benedict
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: An American Dream (’17 and ’15); As One (’16); Tosca (’15)
Recently: Così fan tutte; The Difficulty of Crossing a Field; The Match Girl Passion (Portland Opera)
Upcoming:La Cenerentola; Orfeo ed Eurydice (Portland Opera); Skylight (ACT Theatre)

Last updated: December 2017

Connie Yun

Lighting Designer

Adam Larsen, Hum-Bar LLC

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 (SF Symphony); Leonard Bernstein’s Mass (Projection Designer, LA Philharmonic)
Upcoming: Resident Projection Designer, SoundBox, 5th Season (SF Symphony); Projection Designer, David Lang’s Prisoner of the State (NY Philharmonic)

Last updated: May 2018

Adam Larsen, Hum-Bar LLC

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